FFP Drives Major Expansion of Pro Bono Financial Planning and Advice Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Globe Newswire, April 8, 2021: Foundation’s new volunteer “matching” platform, robust grantmaking, and virtual engagements helped meet the increased need for free financial advice
WASHINGTON, April 8, 2021: The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to pro bono financial planning for people in crisis or need, reported that its pro bono efforts increased substantially in 2020 as financial advisors stepped up to help those most affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
FFP saw a 27 percent increase in the total number of one-on-one advice sessions for at-risk individuals provided by its grantees and partners, from 9,200 in 2019 to about 11,700 in 2020. Additionally, the number of overall program participants, including those in financial guidance workshops, almost doubled – from about 26,700 in 2019 to more than 43,300 in 2020.
BRINGING HELP TO THE MOST VULNERABLE
“One year ago, we watched what was happening across the country and knew that FFP and our partners were in a position to help,” said Jon Dauphiné, Chief Executive Officer of FFP. “We quickly pivoted and expanded our efforts, focusing as much as possible on bringing guidance to those most impacted by this crisis.” By the end of 2020, more than 70 percent of Americans reported financial hardship stemming from the pandemic, with three-quarters of that group saying they struggled to pay basic bills.
To respond to the pandemic and related economic fallout, FFP:
- Awarded more than $800,000 to local and national pro bono programs for 2020 and 2021, including more than $60,000 in emergency grants to enable partners to pivot to virtual service;
- Activated approximately 1,737 financial advisors to volunteer their time;
- Developed an online Coronavirus & Pro Bono Planning Resource Center and educational webinars that attracted more than 4,800 visitors and participants; and
- Expanded its work to reach those made most vulnerable by the pandemic, including at-risk seniors, healthcare first-responders, people with serious illness, and lower-income front-line workers. Of particular note, FFP and its partner AARP expanded their Retirement Resilience Program to reach more than 23,000 financially vulnerable seniors through virtual events and engagements.
“We were so pleased to see the financial advisory profession and our nonprofit partners rally to help the many Americans facing a loss of employment or income, mounting debt, and other economic challenges that wiped away their security and peace of mind,” added FFP Chair, Kate Healy. “Good financial advice can make all the difference in navigating these kinds of setbacks.”
MAKING IT EASIER TO VOLUNTEER
To make it easier for financial advisors to help those in need, in 2020, FFP also launched ProBonoPlannerMatch.org – a first-of-its-kind digital platform designed to connect CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals to nonprofits with pro bono opportunities. FFP thoroughly vets each opportunity posted, helping ensure that advisors registered with the platform are donating their time to vulnerable groups who could not otherwise access or afford quality financial advice.
Over the last nine months, more than 700 financial advisors have created profiles on the platform, allowing them to browse opportunities posted by more than 30 nonprofits around the country. Volunteer opportunities have included everything from providing just-in-time advice to lower-income seniors to helping newly unemployed New York City workers create a short-term financial plan. In just a few months, 375 financial advisors “matched” to opportunities through the platform, and FFP continues robust outreach efforts to add more nonprofit opportunities to those currently posted.
In 2020, FFP was also proud to introduce an E&O liability insurance for all qualified financial advisors offering pro bono service via FFP’s grantees or through connections made on ProBonoPlannerMatch.org. Coverage is made available automatically and at no cost to the advisor.
“FFP is committed to growing our impact by making it as easy as possible for advisors to volunteer and by expanding programs that serve those most in need of pro bono planning and advice,” said Dauphiné. “COVID-19 presented a critical test, and we were gratified to work with our volunteers, partners, and their end-clients to expand our collective reach in the face of this unprecedented crisis.”
More details can be found in FFP’s 2020 Impact Report, available at FFPprobono.org/our-impact.
About the Foundation for Financial Planning
The Foundation for Financial Planning is a Washington, DC-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization, solely devoted to supporting the delivery of pro bono financial planning and advice to at-risk populations, including active military members and wounded veterans, people with cancer and other serious medical diagnoses, seniors and family caregivers, low-income workers and their families, domestic violence survivors, and many more. Dedicated to powering pro bono financial planning, FFP has provided more than $8.3 million in grants to national and community-based pro bono programs; worked with partners to activate more than 22,000 financial planners to volunteer their time and talents; helped bring pro bono advice to more than 500,000 underserved people; and acted as a leader and catalyst to embed a rich tradition of pro bono service across the financial planning profession. Visit FFPprobono.org to learn more.
Srishti Assaye (FiComm Partners)