Victoria McGruder has always been passionate about philanthropy – and about developing a strong, dynamic career. Last spring, she found a way to integrate those aspirations and make a difference through Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.
As a private wealth advisor living in Manhattan, Victoria learned about the Community Foundation at a local law firm’s women-in-philanthropy event. Immediately, her interest was piqued. So when she relocated to Fairfield County to work with the Erdmann Group within the Private Banking and Investment Group at Merrill Lynch, she reached out to learn more about the organization’s initiatives.
What she heard inspired her to volunteer for Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls, donating her time to support the safety, health and security of women and girls across the county. That led to an invitation to join the Community Foundation’s Rising Professional Advisors Council, which Victoria saw as a perfect opportunity to weave together her personal and professional interests.
The Rising Professional Advisors Council brings together a group of young professional attorneys, accountants and financial advisors who guide clients to practice their philanthropy in ways that are both tax-efficient and impactful. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation established the Council with a vision of amplifying philanthropy through a mutually beneficial partnership – supporting professionals to become better philanthropists themselves, while helping them better serve their clients by making their giving more effective.
Council members learn from the Community Foundation about trends in philanthropy and Fairfield County’s most pressing needs, gaining valuable tools to enhance their client relationships. In turn, Council members serve as ambassadors, raising awareness for the Community Foundation as a resource for charitable giving and strategic regional initiatives.
Nancy Tartaglia, who helped to launch the Council, says that a key part of the partnership is offering young professionals a chance to enrich their careers through this collaboration.
“Part of our commitment is to enhance the Council members’ experience by providing engaging educational programming, along with networking opportunities,” says Tartaglia, who serves as the Community Foundation’s Gift Planning & Stewardship Manager.
Sharing tools for philanthropy through the Rising Professional Advisors Council
For Victoria McGruder, getting involved in the Rising Professional Advisors Council has been an effective step in her career development. She feels it has increased her credibility, providing her with insights that help her clients to give more effectively. She also has access to a wider range of resources and strategies as a result of relationships she has built with colleagues on the Council, giving her more potential to help clients.
“Being a part of the Rising Professional Advisors Council sets you apart from other professionals,” says McGruder. “It gives you the tools, resources and network to be an advocate for your community, and to best serve your clients.”
In turn, says Tartaglia, Fairfield County is benefitting from the energy and passion of young people to make a difference.
“It’s been amazing for us to discover how many of these young people are already involved with local nonprofits, either sitting on boards or volunteering in other ways,” she says.
Young professionals are the future of philanthropy – and it’s clear from their actions that the future has arrived.