Russell Goldstein

Institutional Client Advisor at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Wealth Management

Years in Securities Business: 17

There have been a couple of inflection points in my life that made me focus more on volunteering my skills as a financial advisor.

One in particular was about 10 years ago when my mother-in-law asked me to volunteer on Christmas Day at the Phoenix Convention Center. When we opened the doors, we found nearly 5,000 people getting a warm meal, a handshake and a smile.        

I was really blown away by two things: one was just the sheer need for volunteers in our community and the other was the amount of volunteers there with their friends and family spending Christmas with complete strangers.

That’s what I wanted to do and that day really showed me what we can do to help people in need. I have volunteered there for 10 years now, and the last three years I have become a board member of that organization.

It is this kind of volunteer work that has really happened organically over the years and I think that’s how philanthropy happens also — you take this philanthropic journey over the years, you dabble in a few things and you start finding out what you’re passionate about and where you want to drive impact.

I’ve been in the financial advisor role for right around 17 years or so, but some of the volunteer work that I was doing early on just kept growing on me and I found that I love being able to create change. Serving on boards gave me the ability to do that.

I found that we, the community, leave a lot of impact on the table when we have boards that are not as exceptional or functional as they could be.

Becoming a BoardSource certified governance trainer was a natural progression for me, and it really showed me how to inspire and engage our communities. After serving on so many boards over the years, I discovered a very distinct difference in boards that inspire and engage versus those that do not. Now, I spend as much time as I can inspiring, educating and training these boards.

Through U.S. Trust and our institutional client advisor class form, we have 180 professionals focused on philanthropic solutions. We’re able to provide board and staff development, a clarification of responsibilities, talk through fiduciary responsibilities, workshops and training, donor development and help with staff development.

As told to Andrew Shilling.

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