2018 IiO Award Impact

On September 27, 2018, Invest in Others awarded 15 financial advisors more than $300,000 for their commitment to charities in their communities. We asked our 2018 recipients how they were able to use their Invest in Others Award donation to better their nonprofits and this is what they had to say.


Catalyst Award

Carrie Coghill – Winner $40,000
Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation
Pittsburgh, PA

Carrie Coghill got involved with the Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation after losing a friend to ovarian cancer. Carrie’s winning $40,000 donation came full circle, being used specifically for a research project to develop an antibody therapy that targets a new gene mutation in an effort to block ovarian cancer from metastasizing. “This is a high-risk, high-reward type of project that our MWRI researchers can complete on a $40,000 budget, and then they can use the results to leverage even larger grants in the future,” said Carrie.

Cullen Douglass – Finalist $10,000
Family & Children’s Service
Nashville, TN

Cullen’s $10,000 IiO Award donation is being used towards their Crisis Line Program. The Crisis Line provides free telephone counseling & support to anyone experiencing a crisis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained crisis counselors assist callers struggling with thoughts of suicide, grief, depression, anxiety, domestic violence, divorce, parenting problems, addiction, or serious mental illness.

Paul Wetmore – Finalist $10,000
Al Wooten Jr. Youth Center
Los Angeles, CA

Paul’s $10,000 IiO Award donation is being used for two programs: the CollegeTrek Afterschool Program & the MyCollegeTrek Program. The CollegeTrek Afterschool Program includes tutoring, music lessons, science & art classes, and sports for student in grades 3-12. The MyCollegeTrek Program includes SAT prep workshops, a “Teen Talk” discussion group, and “Teen Job Shop” classes which help students apply online for jobs.

Community Service Award

Brenda Blisk – Winner $40,000
American Red Cross in the National Capital Region
Fairfax, VA

Brenda Blisk was awarded the IiO Community Service Award for creating the “In the Bag” fundraiser, which has raised over $1.2 million for the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region. Brenda’s $40,000 IiO Award donation supported the American Red Cross’s relief efforts across the U.S.  

Bryan Drowos – Finalist $10,000
Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County
Boca Raton, FL

Bryan’s $10,000 IiO Award donation is going towards the Federation’s Annual Campaign, which directly supports 51 national and 15 international beneficiaries. “The funds are providing food, emergency aid and other safety net services to our neighbors in need,” said a representative of the Jewish Federation.

Timothy Rice – Finalist $10,000
Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana
Valparaiso, IN

Tim plans to use his $10,000 IiO Award donation to implement a “Money Matters” program for two local Boys and Girls Clubs. This program will teach students how to manage a checking account, create a budget, save and invest, start small businesses and pay for college. “Teens who complete ‘Money Matters’ show improved financial management skills, including saving money and sticking to a budget,” said Tim.

Global Impact Award

Jim Quigley – Winner $40,000
Hope’s In
Barrington, IL | Guatemala City

The Hope’s In Team has already designated $7,500 of Jim’s $40,000 IiO donation to an “Invest in Others” house. Their annual summer service trip team will build the home alongside its new residents, a family living in the garbage dump communities of Guatemala City. The organization is also stewarding a portion of the funds to its newest program, the Inclusion Alliance. This program connects American and Guatemalan experts in advocacy work for persons with disabilities to co-create programs and trainings that will empower persons with disabilities in Guatemala City. 

David Shnitzer – Finalist $10,000
Boston, MA | Central America

David plans to use his $10,000 Invest in Others Award donation for their global expansion project, OneTrack International. They plan to focus heavily on Central America and the Migrant Caravan crisis. It is very dangerous for children to make the trip north, therefore they “are strengthening their communities in Central America so that they won’t have to leave their homes. Much of the motivation to head north is for better opportunities and to avoid economic hardships. We help mitigate that for them,” said the organization’s Director of Operations.

Bob Solis – Finalist $10,000
Open Arms Home for Children
Litchfield Park, AZ | South Africa

Founded by Bob Solis more than a decade ago, Open Arms Home for Children is an orphanage in South Africa serving children ranging from 6 months to 17 years old. He has used his $10,000 donation to purchase two commercial washing machines and one commercial dryer for their brand new laundry facility. “With 58 children in our care, we do a lot of laundry!” said Bob.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Sacha Millstone – Winner $40,000
Funding the Future
Virginia Beach, VA

Sacha stated that after the Awards Gala she was able to leverage her $40,000 IiO Award donation and double it, allowing them to “shift from a start up to a mezzanine level organization.” They are using their donation to pay for buses to bring students from multiple schools to larger venues, cover the expenses of unsponsored shows, and are also creating a pilot program partnering with Orchkids.

Pat Henry – Finalist $10,000
Novato, CA

Pat Henry got involved with Okizu in 2015 after his own son battled cancer. He was recognized at the 2018 Invest in Others Awards for his commitment to the camp. Okizu plans to divide Pat’s $10,000 IiO donation to create 10 scholarships to cover summer camp for 10 pediatric oncology patients in 2019.

Stephen Rudolph – Finalist $10,000
Milestones Autism Resources
Warrensville Heights, OH

Milestones plans to use Stephen’s $10,000 IiO Award donation towards their no-cost “Autism Helpdesk”. This Helpdesk is a lifeline to families affected by autism. Staffed by licensed professionals, the Helpdesk helps parents learn how to access services, advocate on behalf of their child, and prioritize their child’s needs. From the parent in crisis who needs an immediate doctor referral to one who is looking for a social opportunity for their child with autism, the Helpdesk offers evidence-based, vetted information and resources. The Helpdesk is typically the first point of contact a family has with Milestones. “The generous gift from Invest in Others will have an immediate effect by increasing Milestones’ capacity to meet the growing community need for autism-related services,” said it’s Executive Director.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Pat Sullivan – Winner $50,000
Good Grief
Morristown, NJ

The $50,000 IiO donation that Pat Sullivan received as our Lifetime Achievement Award winner was so significant for Good Grief that a decision on the allocation of funds won’t be made official until March. Stay tuned!

William Lervaag – Finalist $10,000
Heart of Illinois Harvest
Peoria, IL

Bill has used his $10,000 IiO Award donation towards purchasing a new delivery truck. This new truck is able to hold up to 6 volunteers at a time, an increase from their previous truck. It is also equipped with audio and visual backup warning as well as a fully automated lift which is extremely helpful for their older volunteers. Heart of Illinois Harvest was started in 1993 and it’s 60 volunteers picks up 7.2 tons of food per week from grocery stores and food wholesalers that would have gone to landfills. Harvest has done this 6 days a week since 1993 and delivers the food to missions and food pantries in the Peoria, IL area.

Stephen Plain – Finalist $10,000
Town of Wallkill Boys and Girls Club
Circleville, NY

Stephen used the majority of his $10,000 IiO Award donation towards the Club’s “Giving Tree Program”. The purpose of this program is to collect gifts for local children to give them a memorable holiday celebration. The organization noted that although they get great toy gifts this time of year, other items such as clothing are not always included. “This money helped us to be able to purchase some extra clothes for our children in need. We were also able to buy some items for our older youth. While we get a lot of toys for the young kids, shopping for teens can be a bit more challenging. So, extra funds always help us to enhance their gifts a little too with age appropriate items,” said the Executive Director.


We once again would like to congratulate our 2018 recipients. If you know a financial advisor giving back to their community, nominate them for the 2019 Invest in Others Awards, taking place on September 26th in Boston.