In 2018, a multi-million dollar gift by alumnus Todd Sanford established the Western Michigan University Center for Financial Planning and Wellness, which serves students and community members in a variety of ways. One of those ways is through financial coaching where trained students provide financial advice and resources to fellow students and community members, under the supervision of experienced financial planners and faculty.
The center also seeks to build the financial planning talent pipeline by engaging students in WMU's personal financial planning major. The financial planning industry has a couple of significant issues facing its future—a shortage of qualified employees and a need for a more diverse workforce, including women and individuals of color. Those are areas where the center will have a significant impact through student outreach.
Sanford's vision is to develop a resource center that provides an integrated approach to personal finance and financial health in the region, with the goal of one day becoming a national model.
"The Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness is the culmination of Todd Sanford's vision," says Dr. Satish Deshpande, dean of the Haworth College of Business. "We are honored to be able to partner with him to realize the center’s goals. Its impact in terms of personal financial coaching as well as recruiting talented students into the profession will make a difference for individuals, families and the industry in substantial ways. We are extremely grateful to Todd for his meaningful gift that so perfectly captures what higher education is all about."
Todd Sanford is the CEO and president of Sanford Advisory, a full-service, fee-based consulting firm, which takes a holistic approach to assisting its clients in achieving financial security. The firm focuses on comprehensive financial planning, corporate retirement plans and intergenerational wealth management. Sanford, with his team, sets the course for the firm, from management to investment philosophy. As a veteran financial planner who has participated in the best and worst that the economy can offer, he has the knowledge, skill and experience to lead with vision and clarity.
Sanford has been honored on Barron's Top Advisor List on multiple occasions, the Financial Times 400 List as a Top Advisor, and Forbes Magazine's State-by-State List of Top Advisors. He has also been recognized as a Top 10 Financial Advisor at Raymond James for more than a decade, out of more than 8,100 advisors. Additionally, Sanford earned an honorable mention for the Catalyst Award in the 2020 Invest in Others Awards. A WMU Bronco at heart, he bleeds brown and gold. He has had a 35-year affiliation with WMU, including his time as a finance student in the 1980s, a stint as an adjunct professor in finance, and now as an advisor to a variety of campus programs, as well as the new center. He has received the Department of Finance and Commercial Law Outstanding Alumni Award and the Haworth College of Business Outstanding Service Award.