What Are You Doing to Invest in Others?

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The Invest in Others Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity founded with the mission of encouraging and supporting the philanthropic and volunteer activities of financial advisers. And it is those same talented and successful advisers who make a difference in the lives of others in communities across the country and around the world who are the inspiration for this organization.

I recently attended the eighth annual Invest in Others Community Leadership Awards dinner, which showcases and celebrates this remarkable philanthropic work. The purpose of the evening was to recognize advisers who had made outstanding contributions in the following five categories:

  1. Catalyst
  2. Community Service
  3. Volunteer of the Year
  4. Global Community Impact
  5. Lifetime Achievement


All of the nominated advisers seemed so very deserving, and I was awed by their stories. From Bridges Out of Poverty, to the Wiskott-Aldrich Foundation, to the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, to Children’s World Impact in Haiti, the nominees and winners humbled me. These are some of the busiest people you can imagine—and yet it often seems like those who are busiest are the ones who make time to give back.

I was lucky to sit at a table with Alexandra Armstrong of Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, in Washington, D.C., and winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Alex is impressive on so many fronts, not least of which is the work she has done to help raise $10 million for the Foundation for Financial Planning, which provides pro bono financial planning services to those in need. But that’s just part of Alex’s legacy. There aren’t enough women in our industry now. Can you imagine what it was like for her nearly four decades ago when she was starting out?

My experiences on this evening made me reflect on my own charitable contributions. I always thought organizations simply wanted my money. But my gut tells me that while most charitable organizations might like more financial support, they want more volunteer time, too. According to www.volunteeringinamerica.gov, in 2012, one in four adults (26.5 percent) volunteered through an organization. This figure surprised me, and I think it confronts all of us with how we choose to prioritize our time. We are so blessed in this country and in this industry. Many of us could probably afford to press the pause button on our businesses and think about what we are doing to give back.

As one of the night’s speakers, Anne Mahlum, founder and former chief executive of the nonprofit Back on My Feet, said, to effect change, “One person has to do something—[stuff] doesn’t happen any other way.”

What do you want to change?

Joni Youngwirth_2014 for webJoni Youngwirth|
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

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