The Foundation for Financial Planning was started in 1981 as the IAFP Foundation (created by the International Association for Financial Planning prior to its merger with the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (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, as opposed to 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 position, while retaining 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. Its name was changed to the Foundation for Financial Planning and, its mission became one of resource development and grants making. While the Foundation maintains a close relationship with FPA and other financial services organizations, it is independent from the FPA.

At the time of this re-launch, 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 in restructuring 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 awarded its first grant in 1998. Since then more than $5.8 million in grants have supported pro bono financial planning advice through non-profit organizations 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.


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