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News Release

CFP Board and Foundation for Financial Planning Honor the University of Georgia with the Inaugural Pro Bono Award

February 21, 2019
Award is given to a university or college exhibiting a commitment to the community

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and the Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) today announced the first-ever recipient of the CFP Board and Foundation for Financial Planning Excellence in Pro Bono Award the University of Georgia (UGA).

“Pro bono work is critical to the advancement of the financial planning profession. The University of Georgia is putting its students on the right path – in school and in their future financial planning careers – by making pro bono a central part of its program,” said Kevin R. Keller, CAE, CFP Board’s Chief Executive Officer. “The program is to be commended for giving its students this first-hand, real world experience of helping others that will serve them well in their own careers as financial planners.”

University of Georgia financial planning students participated in client-facing service activities through the ASPIRE Clinic and the Internal Revenue Service’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide “pro bono financial planning and tax filing and services that increase the financial stability and capability of hundreds of individuals and families.” 

Through collaboration with program faculty, as well as nutrition, legal, and counseling departments across the campus, UGA students were able to meet a need in their community for financial awareness and stability. 

In 2018, the UGA VITA program helped clients claim more than $1.6 million in federal and state tax refunds and saved clients nearly $200,000 in tax preparation and filing fees. Clients also received financial planning help in understanding retirement savings and strategies and employee benefits, giving them a foundation for long-term financial stability.

“We are very grateful to receive this inaugural award and thank both CFP Board and the Foundation for Financial Planning for their dedication to the education of the next generation of financial planners and to the advancement of pro bono financial planning,” said Joseph Goetz, Ph.D., co-founder of the University of Georgia's pro bono financial planning program and UGA financial planning professor. “Our students are choosing the path of becoming financial planners because they want to help people. Serving their communities through pro bono work demonstrates their commitment to helping those in need. For the past decade, the UGA ASPIRE Clinic and VITA program provided unparalleled experiential learning opportunities for our students and increased the financial stability and capability of thousands of individuals and families. The University of Georgia’s financial planning program is committed to continuing to be a leader in experiential learning and pro bono work and helping many more people in the decades to come.”

The award is given to an academic institution registered with CFP Board to provide the coursework requirement for CFP® certification. Qualifications for the award include a demonstration by the academic institution of exemplary pro bono work that benefits both their students and their community. A call for nominations and eligibility criteria was announced in July 2018. 

The award was announced today at the 2019 CFP Board Registered Program Conference. The University of Georgia will receive a $5,000 grant, sponsored by Dalton Education, to be used toward future pro bono activities.

The Foundation for Financial Planning is the nation’s only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to advancing pro bono financial planning, supporting a variety of programs that match volunteer CFP® professionals to at-risk people who otherwise couldn’t access sound financial advice. CFP® professionals and other financial planners work with these vulnerable individuals and families to help them with their finances and create a plan of action that will lead to better financial outcomes.

“There is no greater calling than helping people in need, and the University of Georgia has set an example for its students and others through their innovative pro bono program,” said Jon Dauphiné, Chief Executive Officer of FFP. “The financial planning program at the University of Georgia has fully integrated pro bono work and made it a central tenet of its curriculum. This should be commended as it shows students the powerful impact they can have in the community by using the knowledge they have gained in the classroom.”

About the Registered Programs Conference

The conference will bring together program directors and faculty from institutions that deliver professional financial planning education for individuals pursuing CFP® certification, offering opportunities to connect with each other and with firms to share best practices for strengthening the talent pipeline. The student track will explore topics such as the path to CFP® certification, pro bono financial planning and trending issues in financial planning. CFP Board Registered Programs are offered at regionally-accredited colleges and universities who have met specific criteria for educating individuals pursuing CFP® certification. Individuals who meet CFP Board's coursework requirement through a registered program are eligible to sit for the CFP® Certification Examination. CFP Board partners with over 330 programs at more than 200 institutions. 


The Foundation for Financial Planning, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is the nation’s only nonprofit solely devoted to supporting the delivery of pro bono financial planning to vulnerable people, including wounded veterans, domestic violence survivors, people with serious medical diagnoses, and many others. Dedicated to Powering Pro Bono Financial Planning, the Foundation has provided $7 million in grants to community-based nonprofits to support local programs; worked with partners to activate more than 20,500 volunteer financial planners to serve their communities; and acted as a leader and catalyst to embed a rich tradition of and commitment to pro bono across the financial planning profession. Visit to learn more. 


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.


Dan Drummond, Director of Communications
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