President and CEO, Midwest Financial Group
Many financial planning and advisory firms do pro bono work and donate generously to charity. Matthew Cuplin, 37, and teammates at his Madison, Wisconsin-based firm wanted to try something different philanthropically. They created a non-profit that encourages positive change through “small purposeful random acts of kindness” — the S.P.A.R.K. Society. Each year, the firm gives new and current client participants a $100 gift card “to do something small, but meaningful,” Cuplin said. With the cards, people have bought hats and mittens for needy children, as well as blankets for chemotherapy patients. All that’s asked in return is for participants to explain what they did and its impact. Many clients have supplemented the firm’s contribution, and virtually all responses to the effort have been overwhelmingly favorable.
Cuplin, who grew up in northern Illinois, worked there for a short time after college and moved to Madison in 2008 after connecting through family friends with an adviser who wanted help. “He was a great mentor and trained me,” said Cuplin, who took over the firm three years ago and has grown it to a 14-person business from six.
– Evan Cooper