Investing for a different kind of dividend

Springfield-area financial service organizations make wise investments in our community with both dollars and time volunteered to help change lives.

National investment and wealth management organizations, such as Edward Jones and Morgan Stanley, have large corporate impact goals which can mean millions of dollars distributed to nonprofits nationwide. Edward Jones, for example, focuses philanthropic giving in three major areas: partnering for lasting financial strength, promoting healthier futures and advancing inclusive growth.

Blake Delaney, a financial adviser with Edward Jones based in Hillsboro, said, "Our purpose is to partner for positive impact, to improve the lives of our clients and colleagues and together better our communities and society. We embrace ways to live out our purpose through philanthropic opportunities."

"With so many colleagues," Delaney continued, "there are numerous ways our firm associates are involved throughout the community to give back. Branch offices are encouraged to support local events and are free to focus their efforts individually but often will join together to support locally when able."

An annual Day of Caring provides Edward Jones staff a paid day off to encourage employees to give a day of service to help an organization of their choice. For example, Delaney said one employee helped with the Kiwanis pancake and sausage fundraiser in Jacksonville. Another is looking forward to using this special day to go on an Honor Flight.

Some offices have teamed up and joined together for their Day of Caring. "We are currently in the process of deciding between two organizations that need our help to coordinate employees to use their Day of Caring this fall or winter," said Delaney.

In the immediate region, some 58 financial advisers are spread out among 10 nearby counties. Many offices host small, local drives to collect school supplies, hats, coats and gloves for school children. Edward Jones branches in Sangamon, Morgan, Logan and Christian counties have joined together to support both the Hoogland Center for the Arts and The Muni.

click to enlarge Investing for a different kind of dividend
PHOTO COURTESY EDWARD JONES
Edward Jones serves as a National Presenting Sponsor for the Walk to End Alzheimer's, pledging to raise $50 million by the end of 2025.

In Sangamon and Morgan counties, one of the larger events Edward Jones participates in is the Walk to End Alzheimer's. "Since 2016 we have served as a National Presenting Sponsor and pledged to raise $50 million by the end of 2025," Delaney said. "So far, the firm and its associates have collectively raised $39 million and had over 100,000 walkers in this event. Several of the offices in Springfield and Jacksonville have made contributions to the Walk to End Alzheimer's."

The Mid Illinois Group at Morgan Stanley in Springfield has supported several organizations, primarily with its four independent partners at that group. According to M. Kip Leverton, associate vice president, who also serves as a financial adviser and senior portfolio manager, the group has been a "huge supporter of Prairie Cardiovascular as lead sponsor at least five years" for the annual State of the Heart gala.

Leverton said the firm also sponsors shows at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, and "15-plus years of the margarita bar at Ronald McDonald House Charities Annual Golf Classic and various other things."

Leverton said Prairie Cardiovascular and Central Illinois Foodbank have received the biggest share of their support. The rewards are ongoing with "people coming up year after year and telling us thanks for the[Ronald McDonald House support and seeing those vans that the food bank bought driving around town."

Edward Jones has also supported the food bank. This past spring, said Delaney, area branches hosted a food drive for the Central Illinois Foodbank and gathered 853 

click to enlarge Investing for a different kind of dividend
PHOTO COURTESY EDWARD JONES
Area Edward Jones branches hosted a food drive for the Central Illinois Foodbank last spring and gathered 853 pounds of food.

pounds of food. "For many branches," he added, "the impact of involvement comes to life when we support locally." He cited a stocking-stuffer drive for St. Martin's de Porres. "It is exciting and fulfilling to be able to provide children with something special on Christmas morning, and the families and organization are grateful for the effort."

Delaney recounted the sentiment of one adviser who said, "It is nice to help others, and it feels great to be part of something good."

Ultimately, Delaney added, the staff enjoy giving and so do the clients. Charitable outreach is a reward to them and one of their favorite aspects of branch engagement. Almost every employee who has used their Day of Caring has come back with a story, a new perspective and some great memories.

Janet Seitz is a local communications professional, writer and artist. To share your story, contact her at [email protected].