History of the Foundation for Financial Planning
The Foundation for Financial Planning is the foundation for the financial planning profession. It was started in 1981 as the IAFP Foundation (created by the International Association of Financial Planners prior to its merger with ICFP in 2000 to form the Financial Planning Association (FPA). The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization designated under the Internal Revenue Service codes and regulations.
The original purpose of the Foundation was to assist the IAFP in its public awareness activities, acting as an implementing rather than a grant-making organization. Its first project was the development of a series of television programs intended to educate the public about financial planning. In 1985 the mission statement was changed to read that the purpose of the Foundation was, "to motivate and help all Americans to be more financially responsible for their own lives."
Despite its considerable activities through its first seven years of existence, by 1988, the effectiveness of the Foundation was being impacted by the difficulties the IAFP experienced as a result of the continuing malaise in financial markets. While still an arm of IAFP during this time, the IAFP placed the Foundation in a caretaker posture but retained its structure with the approval of the existing directors.
A New Era Begins
The Foundation continued in this caretaker mode until November 18, 1994 when the bylaws were revised. On January 6, 1995, the first meeting of a completely new Board of Directors was held and the Foundation was restructured as an independent entity and its name was changed to the Foundation for Financial Planning. While the Foundation is independent from the IAFP (FPA), it maintains a close relationship with FPA and other professional industry associations. The leaders of the Foundation’s new life had a vision to operate the Foundation as a resource development and grants-making organization, not an implementing one.
They knew additional financial resources were needed to grow the vision and mission of the Foundation. A survey of financial planning industry leaders showed a deep and wide interest on the part of financial planners in the restructuring of the Foundation as a grant-making organization to help people in need take control of their financial lives. There was enthusiastic support for a proposed fund-raising effort to create an endowment fund and the Foundation embarked on its first endowment fund campaign.
In 1997, as the gifts and pledges to the endowment campaign began coming in, Foundation leaders established a grant-making policy and awaraded its first grant in 1998. Since then more than $5.3 million in grants have supported pro bono financial planning advice through non-profit organziations across the nation.
As the financial planning profession’s foundation, the Foundation for Financial Planning reaches out to individual financial planners and the companies that provide support and products for planners, for tax-deductible contributions in order to support its mission. As one planner said,
“A gift to the Foundation is the best way for me to give back to this profession. The work of the Foundation touches so many more people than I could ever reach, no matter how hard I would try. The further and deeper the message of financial planning goes, the more people everywhere will make smarter financial decisions and the better-off we will all be as a result.”