KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness is hosting a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, at Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business. The event, which features U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza, allows campus and community members to tour the facility and learn more about its goals to improve financial literacy in the greater Kalamazoo community and to recruit more professionals in the personal financial planning field.
A multi-million dollar gift by alumnus Todd Sanford, CEO and founder of Sanford Financial Services of Portage, established the center, which will serve students and community members in a variety of ways. One of those ways is through financial coaching where trained students will 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.
"Through research, we know that there is a critical need for certified financial planners and their services," says Dr. Jim DeMello, chair of WMU's Department of Finance and Commercial Law. "The center will make both the personal financial planning major and the services of financial coaches more accessible. This access is critical for our community and our country. We are so grateful to Todd for his generosity in making this center a reality."
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."
RSVP for the event at wmich.edu/business/sanfordrsvp or (269) 387-6059.
For more information on the center, visit wmich.edu/financialplanning.
Sanford is the CEO and president of Sanford Financial Services, 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 the past 12 years, out of more than 6,000 advisors. 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.
Carranza serves as a principal advisor to U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Her primary focus is to increase participation in the vibrant U.S. economy by fostering financial capability and sustainability. Consistent with U.S. Treasury's mission to maintain a strong economy, foster economic growth, and promote prosperity and stability, Treasurer Carranza oversees the Office of Consumer Policy. This office provides policy leadership, research, and analysis in these areas and coordinates the interagency Financial Literacy and Education Commission on behalf of Mnuchin, its chair. Carranza also serves as Mnuchin's designee on the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund's Community Development Advisory Board.
In addition to these functions, Carranza maintains the historic role of advising Mnuchin on matters relating to coinage produced by the U.S. Mint. She has oversight responsibility for all operations of the U.S. Mint, including Fort Knox. She is also a key liaison with the Federal Reserve System.
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