Kimberlee Barrett-Johnson and David Barrett-Johnson - Financial Planners & Community Volunteers

Kimberlee Barrett-Johnson
Resident of Albemarle County, Financial planning firm located in Charlottesville

Tell us about your volunteer activities.
I’ve been actively involved with volunteer activities from my college days on. Making our community stronger is a huge motivator. With that in mind, my husband (who is also my business partner) and I have integrated volunteering into our personal and professional lives. Our financial planning practice regularly volunteers at the Blue Ridge Food Bank. We invite our clients and team-members at our firm to join us several Friday afternoons throughout the year at the Food Bank doing whatever needs to be done–sorting, cleaning, re-stocking, helping with mailing projects, sweeping, whatever is helpful!

What inspires you to volunteer?
Leveraging the resources of our community to make a bigger impact is part of what inspires me. That vision was what inspired me to help the Charlottesville Area Planned Giving Council (CAPGC) get started and serve as the organization’s founding president. The goal is to increase the quality and quantity of charitable planned gifts in our community. This is something that benefits all the charities/non-profits in our community by increasing awareness and interest in how to include charities effectively in your estate plans or accomplish personal and family financial goals through charitable planning strategies. This is my favorite area of financial planning, and I’m passionate about helping our clients accomplish their personal and philanthropic goals synergistically as well as helping non-profits effectively communicate on this topic. In the early 90’s when I first got involved with the Chamber of Commerce, I served as co-chair along with Peter Thompson (now executive director of the Senior Center) of the Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit Roundtable. I did so because my goal was to be a resource to the many non-profits in our community, and to help leverage and strengthen the ground in which non-profits can flourish in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Since that time, I’ve served a couple of stints on the Board of the Senior Center, which is a true treasure in our community–enriching the lives of people age 50 and better. Really, it’s a type of Lifelong Engagement Center, (LEnC), linking older adults to others with shared interests and strengthening our community by drawing on the wisdom, experience and passion of our elders. My husband and I are also involved at church and in our neighborhood fostering connections between people and helping to build community.

If your volunteer work could make one long-lasting change, what would you want it to be?
Americans are incredibly generous during their lifetimes– about 70% give to charity. But only about 5% give through their estates or make legacy gifts. If that number were even to double to just 10%, the impact in our community and world would be tremendous. I get inspired by helping people take control of their social capital to support the organizations and causes that matter most to them.

What is a little-known fact about you?
I recently walked part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain with my eldest daughter after she graduated from UVA, and now my goal is to go back one day and walk the whole 450 miles! Who knows, maybe I can talk one of my three younger children (now young and mid teens) into doing this with me one day when they graduate. . .I hope so!

What brought you to Charlottesville/Albemarle County?
UVA brought my husband and me to Charlottesville for graduate study. After I completed a master’s degree and while he was still working on his PhD, I started the financial planning firm. When he graduated, rather than have us leave this wonderful community to follow an academic path, he decided to consider his PhD more of a personal quest and to join me in the financial planning firm serving our clients. A big factor in that decision is that we love Charlottesville and didn’t want to leave. It has worked out fabulously. A lot of people who could choose to live any where choose to live in or retire to Charlottesville (part of what makes it such a vibrant place!) When I retire (if I do, because I love what I do), I’m not moving anywhere. . .except possibly closer to the Downtown Mall. . .