Jim Richardson

Lifetime Achievement Award

Lexington Dream Factory

The Richardson Salsman Group

Morgan Stanley

When Jim Richardson of the Richardson Salsman Group at Morgan Stanley in Lexington, Ky. and his wife Stacie were inspired to start the Lexington Dream Factory in 1988, they didn’t go it alone. They brought along a core group of 38 friends — most of whom are still on the board, as are some of their adult children.

Over the past 26 years, more than 700 dreams have been granted to critically ill children. Unlike some dream fulfillment organizations, the Dream Factory has no endowment and no staff; instead, there is one major fundraising event per year, and volunteers conduct fundraising activities within a child’s local community. Dreams average about $3,000 each.

There are two overwhelming aspects to this work, said Mr. Richardson, a certified financial planner and financial adviser.

“First is realizing that for some children, their dream was not huge — for example, just a little red wagon. One of the hardest parts is to put our own perceptions in our pockets and listen to the patients … because you want to do more,” Mr. Richardson said.

“The second is to understand that no dream is too big, like a meeting with the Pope, which we’ve managed to do. Instead of getting overwhelmed, we just figured out how to do it – it’s six degrees of separation.”