By: Susan Klemond
Two years ago, Mike Ricci, 54, began noticing a change in himself.
It started when the then-partner and principal of the half-billion-dollar Minneapolis firm Vector Wealth Management watched his mother suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Then, a client instructed him to do something he hadn’t done before — give money to unsuspecting single mothers. Several clients’ deaths also affected Ricci at the time.
“I started to think, should I be doing more with my time on earth?” recalled Ricci, a parishioner of St. Jude of the Lake in Mahtomedi.
Feeling he was being called to something unknown, Ricci sought training to advise clients on charitable giving. Then, while he served on his parish finance council, he became aware of the Catholic Community Foundation, which financially supports the needs of the Minnesota Catholic community and manages assets of donors and institutional partners.
Ricci realized he’d been hearing God asking him to make a change.
Confirmation of his call came a few months later when an ex-convict contacted Ricci about helping him donate a multi-million dollar inheritance. After sharing his story of military service in Vietnam, alcoholism, crime and giving his life to God in prison, the client put his hand on Ricci’s arm and asked, “Can you help me with this [inheritance]?”
“He was the one who through his story made me realize God was shepherding us all on a journey,” Ricci said. “It may not be the journey we think we’re supposed to be on, but the one he wants you on. It became apparent to me that God was talking to me through him.”
Ricci later accepted the CCF position directing professional outreach and investments. In his dual role, he draws on his extensive contacts with other advisers and investment professionals, as well as his investment expertise. Leaving more than 180 clients was difficult, but Ricci said he now finds a deeper meaning in his service. His wife, Connie, supported him through his discernment. The couple has four adult children.
“It’s sort of like I went from having a job to having a vocation,” Ricci said.
Ricci’s experience with asset management, markets and managing individuals’ investment portfolios has enhanced the foundation’s work with parishes and other Catholic institutions that invest with it, said Anne Cullen Miller, CCF president and a parishioner of St. Joseph in West St. Paul.
“He’s got the skill set, but he shows up in a very authentic way, and that makes a difference,” she said. “I refer to it a little bit as a gift of the Holy Spirit coming our way. We’ve got a bunch of them, but he’s been the latest.”
Ricci has been part of CCF’s effort to make impact investments that offer both financial and social returns.
Related: Foundation’s new impact investments yield financial, social returns
“A couple years ago, I wouldn’t have considered the idea that you could do good while doing well, the concept of impact investments,” he said.
Since God called him to another side of finance, Ricci said he hears the Lord saying there’s more to be done.
“He showed me what was possible — that happiness is found in the joy of others,” he said. “What I try to believe in my story is pay attention, because God’s talking to us always.”