You might not expect a private wealth management firm to provide a platform for community outreach to curb gun violence, but that’s just what Rick Meyers and his team did at the request of his employees and clients.

Meyers and his team at Chicago-based Bernstein Private Wealth Management, where he is a senior managing director, sought to connect community leaders and private citizens to curb gun violence in their city and find ways to address the issue head-on. The firm’s collaboration with local nonprofits has enabled it to help connect clients to grassroots organizations. 

On February 27, three community leaders/organizations joined Meyers at Chicago's Mid-America Club to address violence in Chicago and how to approach it. This is the second year for “Creating A Safer Chicago: The Ripple Effect,” which recognizes how violence impacts those who live and work in the city. By creating the initiative, the firm took the message to heart and took the lead for their community and their clients. 

This year’s panel featured Eddie Bocanegra, senior director of the Heartland Alliance and READI Chicago, which helps individuals with criminal backgrounds transition into a new life; Ric Estrada, the president and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services; and Nina Vinik, program director at the Joyce Foundation. 

Meyers explained that connecting his clients with organizations that could make a difference in the community was the goal of The Ripple Effect. Many of his clients wanted to influence change in the city but didn't have the access or knowledge of programs they could invest in or support. 

“It’s our corporate responsibility and our mission to our clients to make their money meaningful by having more conversations about what we can do and engage in this issue,” Meyers said.

In a highly competitive advisory field, Meyers stressed the importance of separating yourself from other firms by connecting with clients on a visceral level and putting their values in their portfolios through impact investing.

He said that younger investors are more interested in impact investing and that more experienced investors are increasingly interested in adding these types of investments to their portfolios.

“If you are not connecting with issues that are most important to your clients, then you are missing it,” he said.