Fay and Robert DeBellis decided when they were married in 1996 that they wanted charitable giving to be a component of their joint financial plan. Over a decade later, it's become much more than that.
“We were standing in the kitchen after this great party we'd had with 100 or so friends in our new house, and we wondered if everyone would show up next year if they had to pitch in $50,” recalls DeBellis.
The following year, in 1999, they threw the first official DeBellis Martini Party. Everyone did show up and everyone did pitch in. In fact, they managed to raise $5,000, which they then funneled into The Minnesota Aids Project. Ten years later, they've raised more than $150,000 for a number of different charities, including $45,000 in 2008 for the one closest to their hearts, Red Thread. Started in 2006, Red Thread Charities was founded by the DeBellis' and several other Twin Cities parents who had adopted children from Chinese orphanages. The DeBellis' adopted their now 8-year old daughter, Yu Ling, in 2001 from an orphanage in the southeastern city of Guiping. Yu Ling has a neurological disorder, and, like many Chinese orphans, she had special needs that weren't being met in the Chinese orphanage system. That's where Red Thread comes in. The group trains orphanage staff in China and hires full-time supervisors to make sure donated funds and supplies are allocated appropriately within the orphanage system.
The same passion and desire for connection is what drives her business, says DeBellis. Today she manages $80 million in assets for 110 wealthy households and her primary focus is financial and retirement planning. She describes what she does as values-based planning, a concept she presented so well at her previous firm, that they asked her to help create a training video. Her great sense of fun is also what made her want to be an advisor in the first place. “They were making money and having a great time,” she says of the two young female trainees for whom she was a sales assistant. “I wanted to do that too.” In 1987, a year after she got a job at E.F. Hutton, Fay DeBellis got her license.
Firm: Morgan Stanley
City: Minneapolis, MN
Years as a rep: 23
Years with current firm: 7 months
AUM: $80 million
Product Mix: Managed accounts 70%; Insurance 10%; Stocks 10%; Bonds 10%
Specialty: Financial planning, retirement planning for HNW
Licenses: Series 7, 31, 65, insurance