Wealth Management was not part of Brian Mariash’s original career goals. With aspirations to become a music teacher after college, he graduated and immediately went on to teach music to preschool and kindergarten children. After moving to Punta Gorda from the New York City area in 2001, he shifted gears and began a career as a financial advisor. He decided to stick with that career, and in 2012, he moved to Sarasota and started Mariash Lowther Wealth Management in 2014. Today, Mariash is a Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch and the founder and  CEO of Mariash Lowther Wealth Management.

Throughout the past ten years in Sarasota, Mariash has sat on many boards but has narrowed his focus to nonprofit consulting on a pro bono basis. “By offering specific project work on a pro bono basis we are able to help so many more organizations and do so very tactically and much more quickly,” he shares. A recent example was when Mote Marine asked him to help hit a milestone for their building campaign. With the year running out and early Covid reopening days Mariash saw this as a very large challenge. Within a month, he was able to help them structure a small event at a board member’s home and fill the event with a combination of direct mail targeting new affluent movers to the area, in addition to utilizing his vast personal networks. Mote was able to raise over $1.5 million at the event including a $500,000 gift from a brand new donor with less than $1,000 in expenses to put on the event.

Where does Mariash’s passion for helping others come from? “Human beings are not the fastest animals on the planet nor do we have the sharpest teeth or claws. Yet we are the dominant species on the planet due to our ability to cooperate and our compassion and empathy for others,” he says. “The feeling that we get when doing good for others—that positive shot of joy and serotonin—that is evolutionary science that allowed the humans with the most empathy to reproduce and evolve and allowed humans to become the thriving species on the planet that we are. I am passionate about the next level of evolution—I feel it arrogant to believe that we evolved from protozoa to jelly fish to great apes to humans and that it just stops. We are not the finished product yet and all the war, famine, and violence in the world is a good sign that we still have a ways to go. I believe that helping others is the key to evolving as a species. When a critical mass is formed of humans all working together for all of mankind then we can evolve into our higher level of consciousness.”

 In addition to the Mote Marine campaign, Mariash shares a long list of success stories from his philanthropic work. One that is top of mind is his work with Easter Seals of Southwest Florida. When good friend Tom Waters, President and CEO of the organization asked Mariash to co-chair a luncheon gala, he eagerly agreed. With the help of the two best co chairs in town (Melissa Howard and Terri Klauber) the group raised a record amount of money for the organization and possibly for any first ever luncheon in an arguably crowded event space in Sarasota. 

Mariash functions daily with a guiding mission to help others: “I live by the mission to educate, connect and contribute and the core values of the four agreements: Do not make assumptions. Do not take anything personally. Be impeccable with your word. Always do your best.” This spirit of helping others has apparently been passed along to his daughter, Alexis Mariash. Lexi is 19 now and a sophomore at Cal Berkeley but started her first nonprofit at age 9 when her family moved to Sarasota. Naming the operation Turtle Inc., she dedicated the project to raising funds for the feeding and care of sea turtles at Mote Marine, where she used to spend a lot of time with her dad. 

“Ever since I was a young age I was completely immersed in philanthropy from attending events to watching my dad speak at events, though I definitely learned the most in our pre and post event talks in the car,” shares Lexi. “My dad always made sure to teach me about how important it is to give back to your community and the causes that move you the most and as soon as I was old enough to truly understand that, I started coming to him with grand plans to raise money for causes I felt truly moved by. I’ve always been extremely grateful for my dad introducing me to philanthropy. One of the first classes I took my freshman year in college was a philanthropy course through the business school to further my education in the topic and to hopefully return to my philanthropic roots after I graduate, something I know my dad will be overjoyed to help me with.”

For young people starting out in their careers, Mariash offers the following advice: Follow your passion. He believes that children naturally want to help others and give back and as adults, we just have to foster that. “When my daughter at 9 told me she wanted to start a company I did not tell her she was too young or that she should go play with her dolls….I helped her purchase a URL from Godaddy.com and helped her with her business plan. She started making bracelets and selling them at school. She brought the money to Mote to donate and the CEO met her and invited her to the run for the turtles. By age 12 she was running full scale mini golf tournaments for children to learn about philanthropy and raising 10K at a single event for Mote. Pretty amazing what you can do if you just don’t stand in their way and help them along!”

Mariash has devoted much of his personal time and treasure as a deeply engaged board member and volunteer for numerous organizations over the years including: All Faiths Food Bank, Circus Arts Conservatory, Child Protection Center, Easter Seals of Southwest Florida, JFCS of the Suncoast, and Embracing Our Differences. For giving back to so many organizations that serve so many in need and exemplifying everything that we would hope for in a good, honest, dedicated, compassionate, caring human being, Brian Mariash was honored as one of SRQ Magazine’s Good Heroes in December 2021.