For many folks in the LGBTQ community, “finance” is a dirty word. Money is often something that feels out of control and hard to manage in queer relationships, especially in cases where things like not being officially married, non-traditional relationship dynamics, or lack of family ties can make financial planning difficult. At Foresters Financial, the goal is to make everyone feel supported, no matter their situation in money or in love.
“Everybody needs education in the financial arena, and I think one of the things that makes Foresters so unique is, we are willing to provide that access truly to anyone who needs it,” explained Koren Vining, vice president and branch manager at Foresters. “One of the things that I’ve observed is that, in a lot of cases, our friends in the LGBTQ community maybe haven’t been given that help, maybe have been shut out from some of those resources, so we are seeking to open those doors and make sure that everybody gets what they need.”
Foresters provides counseling for anyone who wants to look at their current monetary situation, plan for the future, or get things in order, whether they are wealthy and looking to invest or scraping to make ends meet. Not everyone they work with has a lot of money, and they stress that their job is to help clients set goals and make plans, not to judge clients on their financial choices. Established in 1874, the financial organization has a lot of experience working with people of all kinds, and their strategy is to take things slow and give people the tools they need to manage their money.
“We talk a lot about goals before we even touch the money part of things, and I feel like that’s a really big thing, helping people understand that I understand the goals and why they are important to them,” explained Ashley Brown, registered representative with Foresters. “That kind of thing helps to build trust, and to work with people in the community, as a member of the LGBTQ community, I know a lot of what they’ve gone through.”
As an LGBTQ individual who identifies her community members and coworkers as being like family, the supportive and connected aspect of Foresters is huge for Brown. Not only does she seek to be part of an organization where she feels welcomed and supported, she is happy to be able to help those who may not regularly get financial advice.
Foresters also understands that finances are a vastly misunderstood realm. Many are afraid to get their money looked at because they fear they are behind or living paycheck to paycheck, and wealthier people often underestimate the power of a good financial plan.
“What we’ve found is that a lot of our clients come to us because of the concerns or fears they might have about their finances, and we try to help them put a strategy in place so they can thrive,” explained Matt Quinn, assistant manager of Foresters. “It really doesn’t matter the type of people that we work with; it’s about being able to help every type of person.”
Beyond just making their financial services available for those who don’t normally get help, they are actively involved in volunteer work. Foresters has set up booths at Pride and helped out in the community, including assisting OUT FRONT with bag stuffing and running food drives.
“We really seek to engage and connect with every community, especially here in Denver. There are so many great communities to be a part of, and it’s really an honor for us to be included,” Vining explained. “I think the reason we have connected so well with the LGBTQ community is because we really seek to get involved. We don’t just want to do business, but we want to show up and be a part of things.”
“We definitely get a strong sense of pride by being able to go out there and help the folks we work with and elevate the communities we are a part of,” Quinn said. “When I think about what power means to me, it is what allows our organization to thrive. I’m proud that we’re able to help so many different people.
Quinn feels similarly when it comes to the pride he takes in his work.
Between the work they do for the community and the financials services they provide, Foresters is committed to making sure they leave Denver, and their LGBTQ family, with the tools they need to succeed.
“Everybody has financial concerns, goals, people in life they care about,” said Gavin Jones, investment advisor representative with Foresters. “What I try and do is put them in a position to live the life they want and care for the people who are important to them. There’s not a happier moment than when I get to the end of a meeting with a client and they hug me and thank me for what I’ve done.”
Photo by Veronica L. Holyfield
Oops! This article originally listed Koren Vining as president of Foresters. She is the vice president.