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Advisers, firms win for leadership at the 12th annual Invest in Others Awards

Sep 27, 2018 @ 10:00 pm

By Sarah Min

Five financial advisers and two firms won leadership awards for their charitable initiatives and corporate philanthropy on Thursday night at the 12th annual Invest in Others Awards.

Presented by the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation, the awards program recognized advisers in five different categories. Winners this year received $40,000 for their respective charities, and finalists received awards of $10,000. The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award received $50,000 for his charity. The award amounts doubled for all finalists this year because of the charity’s record-setting fundraising over the year.

In addition, the foundation awarded for the first time $1,000 to each of the charities of the 60 honorable mentions.

“These donations will impact thousands of people in need,” said Megan McAuley, executive director and president of the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation. “Although this is a competitive industry, it’s so heartwarming to see everyone come together for our organization and for the many great causes we support.”

A record 700 financial professionals and guests attended the Invest in Others gala, which was held in Boston.

Inspirational Acts

Patrick Sullivan, managing director at Private Advisor Group in Morristown, N.J., won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work serving in Good Grief, a local nonprofit. Mr. Sullivan devoted the past 14 years to the nonprofit, which provides peer support programs for children, teenagers and families dealing with grief after the death of a loved one.

Other finalists for the Lifetime Achievement Award included William Lervaag from Masterplan Financial Group in Peoria, Ill., and Stephen Plain at SEP Financial Services in Goshen, N.Y.

Carrie Coghill, president and CEO of Coghill Investment Strategies in Pittsburgh, Penn., won the Catalyst Award, for her work at the Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation, where she has been chairman since 2015. Ms. Coghill got involved after a close friend died from ovarian cancer, and she dedicated her time to learning more about women’s health.

Other finalists for the Catalyst Award included Cullen Douglass from Northwestern Mutual in Nashville, Tenn., and Paul Wetmore at Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles.

Jim Quigley from Barrington Wealth Management in Chicago won the Global Community Impact Award for his work at Hope’s In. The international service group works in garbage-dump communities in Guatemala to build homes for trash-pickers.

Other finalists for the Global Community Impact Award were David Shnitzer at Ameriprise Financial in Boston, and Bob Solis at Morgan Stanley in Peoria, Ariz.

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Sacha Millstone, a financial adviser with the Millstone Evans Group of Raymond James in Boulder, Denver and Washington, D.C. Ms. Millstone was recognized for her work serving as board president at Funding the Future, which uses concerts to promote financial literacy to junior and senior high school kids. In the past four years, the program reached 125,000 students in 33 states and Canada.

Pat Henry of Hanson McClain Advisors in Sacramento, Calif., and Stephen Rudolph at HW Financial Advisors from Beachwood, Ohio, were the two finalists in this category.

Supporting Communities

Brenda Blisk won the Community Service Award for her work at the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region. Ms. Blisk, who works at Blisk Financial Group in McLean, Va., organized a fundraising plan that rallied working women for a silent auction. The event has raised more than $1.2 million since it started in 2010.

Bryan Drowos at Wells Fargo Advisors in Boca Raton, Fla., and Timothy Rice at Lakeside Wealth Management in Chesterton, Ind., were finalists for the Community Service Award.

Oregon-based SkyOak Wealth won the award for corporate philanthropy for advisory firms. Other finalists included Cassaday & Co. Inc. in McLean, Va., and Centinel Financial Group in Needham Heights, Mass.

Berkshire Bank, based in Boston, won the corporate philanthropy award for financial institutions. Other finalists were Main Street Financial Services in Luverne, Minn. and Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Invest in Others is helping to solicit funds for the charities of the 15 adviser finalists through a donations page on its website.

The Contenders

The first person listed in each category won the award, followed by two finalists.

Lifetime Achievement

Patrick Sullivan of Private Advisor Group for Good Grief

William Lervaag of MasterPlan Financial Group for Heart of Illinois Harvest

Steve Plain of SEP Financial Services for Town of Walkill Boys & Girls Club

Corporate Philanthropy

Advisory Firms:

  • Cassaday & Company Inc.
  • Centinel Financial Group
  • SkyOak Wealth

Financial Institutions:

  • Berkshire Bank
  • Main Street Financial Services
  • Raymond James

Volunteer of the Year

Sacha Millstone of Millstone Evans Group of Raymond James for Funding the Future

Pat Henry of Hanson McClain Advisors for Okizu

Stephen Rudolph of HW Financial Advisors for Milestones Autism Resources

Community Service

Brenda Blisk of Blisk Financial Group for American Red Cross

Bryan Drowos of Drowos Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors for Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County

Tim Rice of Lakeside Wealth Management for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana

Global Community Impact

Jim Quigley of Barrington Wealth Management for Hope’s In

David Shnitzer of Ameriprise Financial for CameroonONE

Bob Solis of Morgan Stanley for Open Arms Home for Children


Carrie Coghill of Coghill Investment Strategies for Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation

Cullen Douglass of Northwestern Mutual for Family & Children’s Service in Nashville

Paul Wetmore of Merrill Lynch for Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center

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