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Ajay Singh Nov 11, 2019
Jon Dauphiné (JD): The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) is the nation’s only 501c3 nonprofit charity solely devoted to supporting the delivery of pro bono financial planning. Since 1995, FFP has powered pro bono planning by supporting efforts that link volunteer financial planners to people in crisis or need, providing them with free, quality advice to improve their finances and their lives.
FFP was founded by leading financial planners who wanted to give back to their communities and advance their profession. They raised money to create an endowment fund that powers grantmaking to worthy pro bono financial planning programs nationwide. Many financial planners stepped up to support the cause, as did leading corporations that provide services to the financial planning profession. In 1998, the Foundation began making grants to a range of nonprofit programs serving vulnerable people with free financial advice.
FFP provides grants to local and national nonprofits and helps to recruit and connect volunteer financial planners to people in need. The organization also develops innovative program models with key partners to reach populations that can have a particularly strong impact, like military families and people affected by cancer. The Foundation also offers free financial planning resources to people in need and the volunteers who help them, and raises awareness of the profession’s commitment to pro bono through community events, national conferences, digital and traditional media, and more.
FFP has provided more than $7 million in grants to national and community-based pro bono programs from national and community-based organizations in 38 states and worked with partners to activate more than 20,000 financial planners to volunteer their time and talents. The Foundation has also delivered free financial guidance to 440,000 people in crisis or need and acted as a leader and catalyst to embed a rich tradition of pro bono service across the financial planning profession.
MutualFunds.com: What are some financial challenges that you are helping people to get through?
JD: Pro bono financial planners help clients in a variety of ways. Common areas of focus include:
1. Creating and/or examining a budget and balance sheets
2. Organizing their finances, tracking and reducing expenses, and managing/prioritizing debts
3. Contemplating credit decisions and new uses of assets
4. Prioritizing goals, and saving
5. Improving cash flow
Some of the other issues that the Foundation is working to tackle are more population specific. For example, a pro bono financial planner working with a person with cancer or caregiver may focus on how to deal with lost income and increased expenses or answer questions related to life, long-term care or disability insurance. A financial planner working with a victim of domestic violence might help her to financially separate from an abuser. A financial planner working with a veteran or service member might provide advice for how to most effectively use a deployment bonus payment.
MutualFunds.com: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
JD: We plan to continue to grow FFP’s Pro Bono for Cancer effort, raising funds to increase the Foundation’s support of pro bono efforts for families affected by a serious cancer diagnosis and recruiting financial planner volunteers to provide advice to help mitigate the financial risks associated with treatment. By the end of 2019, we expect to have served well over 500 families through the engagement of over 200 financial planners.
To facilitate the matching of more pro bono financial planners with individuals and families in need, we are developing our own web-based volunteer opportunity database. This platform will provide nonprofit organizations with an easy access point to the diverse community of financial planners who are eager to contribute their skills to help those in need.
Finally, we plan to spend the rest of the year prepping for our big 25th anniversary in 2020.
MutualFunds.com: Can you tell us about your big announcement from the conference?
JD: At IMPACT, the Charles Schwab Foundation was announced as FFP’s leading 25th Anniversary Partner and committed $500,000 as part of a dollar-for-dollar matching campaign for the FFP’s “Future of Pro Bono” Anniversary Fund. With a goal to raise a minimum of $1.5 million by the end of 2020, the Anniversary Fund will support FFP’s ongoing grantmaking, signature programs, and special projects. It will ultimately create broader access to pro bono financial planning for people in need and easier on-ramps for financial planners who want to help.
MutualFunds.com: What are your biggest takeaways from the conference?
JD: At IMPACT, we saw so much enthusiasm for and commitment to FFP’s pro bono mission, how vibrant and dynamic the financial planning industry is and how much people care about ‘helping others’ to live their best lives
MutualFunds.com: What is the best way for our readers to learn more about you?
JD: We encourage readers to visit here to learn more about us and sign up to get updates from our monthly newsletter.
Don’t forget to check our Schwab IMPACT 2019 channel page to check the highlights from the event.
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