Baird Advisors Raises Funds for Much-Needed School Supplies

September 2020 - When Kristiyan Trukov had the opportunity to help organize a fundraiser for the United Way this summer, he wanted to make sure the effort could make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. In his mind, the Backpack Coalition was a natural fit.

“I believe tackling many of the issues our society is facing starts with education and that is why we wanted to focus on something related to that,” explains the young Analyst with Baird Advisors. “The timing was great with the school year right around the corner. People tend to gravitate more to initiatives they can relate to or are top of mind and who can’t relate to the importance and excitement around new school supplies!”

Led by United Way since 2014, The Backpack Coalition is committed to providing backpacks and school supplies to students with financial constraints, helping ensure they succeed in school. Each year the coalition distributes thousands of backpacks with grade appropriate school supplies to students in grades K-12.

Kristiyan got involved with the cause through his participation in the United Way’s Project: LEAD – a program dedicated to preparing community members for leadership roles on nonprofit boards and committees, with an emphasis on underrepresented board populations (women, racially and ethnically diverse, and young professionals).

“I have wanted to get more involved in the community and, ever since completing the CFA at the end of last year, I was on the look out for an opportunity,” Kristiyan says. “Charlie (Groeschell, Senior Portfolio Manager with Baird Advisors) was kind enough to write me a letter of recommendation and I was able to get in to the program.”

Project LEAD encourages participants to leverage their networks and, when Kristiyan asked whether his teammates at Baird Advisors wanted to get involved in the fundraiser, their enthusiasm blew him away.

“I thought I would ask Mary Ellen (Stanek, Chief Investment Officer for Baird Advisors) if I could shoot an email to the group about it. Her support, along with every single associate’s, took this fundraiser initiative to a whole other level.”

The team adopted the cause for its organized community support effort, Baird Advisors Cares, and together raised $7,605 – more than double the previous record of about $3,500 raised by a LEAD team for a single cause – enough to buy more than 500 backpacks and school supply kits for students.

“Being good at what we do is obviously important,” says Mary Ellen. “But doing good in the communities we serve is something we’re all committed to at Baird Advisors. It’s an extension of the culture of service and care that we believe makes our team and our firm so special.”