HOLBROOK, N.Y. (Oct. 28, 2022)—American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (AP)—an independent broker/dealer that provides services and support for financial professionals across the United States—held an orientation for a new cohort of creative residents to participate in the AP for LIFE Creative Residency, a financial literacy program that benefits creative entrepreneurs based in Ferguson, Missouri, as part of the LIFE Creative STL Ecosystem. The American Portfolios Foundation, AP’s non-profit arm, recently renewed funding for the program with a two-year commitment through 2024. This will be the second group of creatives, the first of which began in 2020, to benefit from a seasoned leading financial services firm with a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The Sept. 7 orientation and meet-and-greet brought five creatives associated with Life STL and five AP-affiliated investment professionals together to coordinate their schedules for regularly-held business and financial planning discussions around their creative entrepreneurial and personal pursuits. Working closely with AP’s financial mentors over the course of 24 months, the AP For Life Creative Residency grants these talented artists with a small investment account and monthly stipend, providing them with much-needed funding, mentorship and financial guidance to inevitably serve as role models and leaders within their community.
“It is said that if you save one life, you save the world,” states AP CEO and President Lon T. Dolber. “With mentorship and financial literacy programs like AP for Life that are designed to walk in the shoes of someone whose life we may not completely understand, through direct and active engagement, I truly believe we are in a unique position as independent financial professionals and entrepreneurs of our trade to shape society in a way that empowers people to improve their lives and the communities in which they live.”
The creative residents for 2022-2024 have made inroads establishing themselves in their designated mediums and disciplines. The residents include: Sonca Nguyen—a writer, producer and engineer—currently serves as the co-founder and head of artist management at Crush Records Collective, as the playlist curator and writer for Crowdsurfer Magazine, is the assistant engineer and director of podcast at The GreenHouse Recording Co. in Brooklyn, New York, and dually functions as the assistant manager and staff engineer at Shock City Studios in Saint Louis, Missouri; Christopher Johnson Mobley—a writer and artist—is juggling a number of active pursuits as a writer, artist and author; Natalia Parr—a marketing and digital design brand developer—is the founder of Parr Creative Agency; Jack Pordea—an artist, writer and producer—currently serves as the head of outreach for Crush Records Collective, where he is also a songwriter and signed artist; and Sonnie Nguyen—a director and producer—is currently at work pursuing directing and producing.
“The Life Creative STL ecosystem is beyond excited to once again partner with the American Portfolios family in the pursuit of providing resources, experiences and mentorship for underrepresented creatives,” says Owens. “What we accomplished together in the first two years of this pathway initiative is just a glimpse of what is possible when creatives and corporations partner for community good.”
AP for LIFE addresses several core social challenges for young creatives, including, but not limited to, lack of financial support and wealth generation; scarcity of workforce opportunities; and pathways for creative entrepreneurs to leverage their platforms to successfully identify and address their community’s needs. Alayna Epps, a 2020 resident, says of her involvement with the program, “The stipend and savings account helped me complete my bachelor’s degree with zero debt. After being laid off from my job due to COVID, AP for Life allowed me to stay in school to finish my first goal of attaining my music degree so that I could still start my master’s in music therapy on time. Additionally, AP for Life allowed me to pay my way, which was particularly valuable considering the lack of loans available in the first semester of my master’s program.”
Donna LaScala, RFC®, CDFA®, a mentor with the program, says, “Over the last two-plus years I have been involved with Life Creative Group, I have had the pleasure of helping [creative resident] Malena Smith embark on a journey of financial literacy. As her mentor, giving her the canvas, the paint and the brushes in the guise of financial knowledge, enabling her to create her own artistic vision, has been extremely rewarding. Witnessing the culmination of her dream with the recording of her first album in Memphis at Royal Studios was the absolute icing on the cake! I am so excited to see what happens next and to be able to continue the mentoring experience with my new mentee Sonca Nguyen.”
Smith, who is currently the chief people officer for Life Creative Group, says, “I am so excited about the renewal of [what is now] AP for LIFE Plus! The collaboration between Life Creative Group and American Portfolios for this initiative is so incredibly special and positively unique. The friendship that I personally have built with Donna through this program continues to be so beneficial to my development as a person and a brand at this stage in my life. I’m so incredibly grateful and thrilled that a brand new cohort of Life Creative Group creatives will get to experience this same level of friendship with their new AP financial advisors over the next two years. I’m confident this is just the beginning!”
American Portfolios is excited to continue partnering with Life Creative STL and supporting current and future creative cohorts in their creative entrepreneurial and financial literacy learning pursuits.
About American Portfolios
Headquartered in Holbrook, New York, American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (APFS) is a full-service, independent broker/dealer and member firm of FINRA and SIPC, offering a complete range of financial services, including personal financial and retirement planning, securities trading, mutual funds, access to investment research, long-term care planning, insurance products and tax-free investing. Fee-based asset management is offered through its sister subsidiary, American Portfolios Advisors, Inc., (APA), an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Both entities, along with technology entity American Portfolios Advisory Solutions, LLC, collectively, currently reside under the legal entity American Portfolios Holdings, Inc. (APH). Full-service securities brokerage is available through a clearing firm relationship with Pershing, LLC, a BNY Mellon firm, the securities of which are held on a fully disclosed basis. The company supports independent investment professionals—inclusive of registered assistants and non-registered associates—throughout the nation.
American Portfolios has numerous recognitions by a number of industry publications and organizations. Such acknowledgment includes: multiple Broker-Dealer of the Year* (Division III) wins through Investment Advisor magazine; multiple ThinkAdvisor LUMINARIES** awards; multiple finalist and award wins by WealthManagement.com Industry Award in multiple categories***; Corporate Citizen of the Year by Long Island Business News; multiple top placements as one of the Best Companies to Work for in the state of New York by the New York State Society for Human Resources Management (NYS-SHRM) and the Best Companies Group (BCG); and one of the Top Long Island Workplaces.
* Based on a poll of registered representatives conducted by Investment Advisor magazine. Broker/dealers rated highest by their representatives are awarded “Broker/Dealer (B/D) of the Year.”
** ThinkAdvisor LUMINARIES are selected by a distinguished and diverse panel of judges from across the advice industry, as well by the Investment Advisor editorial team.
*** Wealthmanagement.com Industry Award finalists are selected by a panel of independent judges made up of subject matter experts in the industry. Award is based on support provided to AP’s affiliated people and does not reflect public customers nor their account performance.
About American Portfolios Foundation, Inc.
American Portfolios Foundation, Inc. (APF), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that was originally created in New York in 2004 and amended in 2018 and headquartered in Holbrook, New York, is intended as a non-profit entity designed to advance awareness, assistance and support for charitable causes. Board members include AP CEO Lon T. Dolber, president; AP Chief Administrative Officer Dalchand Laljit, vice president; and AP Chief Financial Officer Damon Joyner, treasurer/secretary. Additionally, various roles are held by members of AP headquarters staff. The board meets on a quarterly basis to discuss its existing relationships with various charities and to determine the focus for various upcoming initiatives that will require the Foundation’s services and support.
About LIFE Creative STL
The Life Creative STL was founded in 2016 by Grammy-nominated artist, producer and community influencer Brian Owens. It began as a desire to use creative economy, culture and commerce as a way to develop young creatives and provide artistic resources, opportunities, mentoring and positive experiences to help under-resourced creatives develop the qualities and skills they need to live up to their God-given potential. The organization believes that, through the leadership skills and discipline of the arts, the young creatives of St. Louis can be a driving force, modeling the change that we all so desperately desire to see manifest.