DENVER (February 10, 2021) – The COVID-19 pandemic made the delivery of in-person pro bono financial planning services difficult in 2020. Despite the challenges, Financial Planning Association members and chapters adapted to the new reality and ended the year with a 7% increase in the number of one-on-one pro bono financial planning engagements. In 2020, 7,839 underserved individuals were provided pro bono guidance by CFP® professional members of FPA compared to 7,299 individuals in 2019.
The FPA Pro Bono Program connects passionate financial planning practitioners to individuals, families and communities in need. In 2020, nearly 50 FPA chapters and more than 1,000 FPA members delivered 14,750 hours of pro bono financial advice. When combining the one-on-one engagement numbers with the numbers of individuals participating in a variety of additional pro bono programs, a cumulative total of 11,637 underserved and at-risk individuals and families received much-needed support.
“Everyone deserves to have hope and optimism about their financial future. FPA and our nationwide network of chapters work tirelessly to make this a reality,” says Patrick D. Mahoney, FPA chief executive officer. “I’m honored to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of FPA chapters, members and partnering organizations who committed to bringing the possibility of a brighter future to all those in need of financial advice over the past year.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which FPA quickly responded to with a pro bono effort, the Association and its chapters adapted to circumstances to ensure pro bono financial planning continued to be accessible to individuals, families and communities who don’t typically have access to such services. While the FPA Central Office coordinates many national pro bono programs, including those in partnership with the Foundation for Financial Planning, Family Reach, among others, it’s FPA’s network of chapters that do a lot of the heavy lifting. For example:
- FPA of Metro New York: Recipient of the 2020 Power of Financial Planning Award, the FPA of Metro New York transitioned to virtual pro bono programming via technology and resources offered by partners, including Family Justice Center and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, to help survivors of domestic violence and low-income individuals access pro bono financial planning.
- FPA of Dallas/Fort Worth: In May 2020, FPA of Dallas/Fort Worth hosted its first virtual “Ask the CFP®” event. Typically held at a news station with dozens of CFP® professionals standing by to answer calls, this program transitioned to an email bank allowing community residents to pose questions and receive real-time responses from CFP® professional members of FPA on a wide range of financial planning topics. Learn more about this chapter’s commitment to pro bono financial planning.
- FPA of Georgia: The FPA of Georgia streamlined technologies to recruit volunteers and deliver virtual presentations to help underserved individuals and families facing eviction or foreclosure connect with pro bono financial planners and attorneys from FPA and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, respectively.
- FPA of Silicon Valley: Volunteers from FPA of Silicon Valley conducted virtual presentations, collaborated with partners and set-up virtual coaching to help survivors of domestic violence access pro bono financial planning. Learn more about this chapter’s pro bono financial planning efforts.
“The FPA community is passionate about helping people who are facing financial hardship and don’t have easy access to the sage advice that CFP® professionals can provide,” says 2021 FPA President Skip Schweiss, CFP®, AIF®. “Pro bono financial planning is making a difference, and I’m proud of FPA’s steadfast commitment to ensuring individuals and families have access to these critical services, especially in these difficult times.”
Through the generous support of the Foundation for Financial Planning, FPA and its chapters can secure funding to support FPA Pro Bono program activities. FPA encourages practitioners to not only volunteer their time to provide transformational advice and guidance but also provide financial support to the Foundation to help make many programs possible.
“I’m proud to be part of a community that recognizes the wonderful work that pro bono financial planners are doing all over the country,” says Kristin M. Pugh, CFP®, 2021 FPA Pro Bono Advisory Committee Chair. “Over the coming months, it will be crucial to get the word out about FPA’s pro bono planning programs not just for the individuals who need the guidance and assistance, but for prospective volunteers who are asking themselves how they can give back.”
FPA and its nationwide network of chapters lead the way in helping thousands of Americans struggling to achieve their goals through pro bono financial planning. Financial planners interested in learning more about the FPA Pro Bono Program can visit the FPA website. Journalists interested in learning more about FPA’s commitment to pro bono planning can contact Ryanne Harrah at [email protected].