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Welcome to Special Needs Funding Coach! We work for families with special needs and the professionals and organizations who support them.

Having a dependent with special needs requires ­­­­­­a focus on quality of life and a lifetime of care when approaching financial security. Our expertise and resources offer customized support to plan practically for each family's unique needs and priorities. Free specialized workshop/webinars are also available for parent or professional groups.

The special needs community has been our primary focus for decades. Too often, the answers to “What will happen to my loved one with special needs when I’m gone?” are focused on legal documents, government programs, and adult/transition programs. While these things are also critically important, families and professionals often don’t know how to financially plan to:

  • Provide a lifetime of care focused on quality of life
  • Retain government benefit eligibility
  • Securely plan for their loved one without sacrificing their retirement funds

The fact is...it is not their fault if no one has shown them how! That is where Special Needs Funding Coach comes in. With our customized assistance and specialized resources, families can more effectively plan for their unique situations and hopefully enjoy more peace of mind. Let us know how we can help you.

Our Mission

Our mission is simple: provide resources, answers, and expertise for funding special needs life planning.

More than thirty years ago, Special Needs Funding Coach founder, Donald T. Brown, ChFC, ChSNC, CASL, became a financial advisor. Through his family and personal experience, he quickly realized there were no easy answers when it involved caring for, educating, and supporting individuals with special needs. When it came to long range planning, there was no one place where families’ primary concerns could be addressed:

  • Where will my child live?
  • How much will be enough to provide for his/her quality of life?
  • Who will look out for their best interests? And how do I help them to protect and care for my loved one?
  • Will my dependent be happy, healthy, and secure?

By providing a single source for guidance on details pertaining to these questions and more, we can help families and professionals effectively care for our special needs community.

Our Team 

Our Process

Donald T. Brown, ChFC, ChSNC, CASL
Financial Planner, Special Needs Planner

Donald Brown has been in the financial services industry for more than 30 years. He has been recognized as an industry leader in both personal production and management. Educating individuals and families on how to properly plan for a dependent with special needs is a primary focus of Don’s practice. He regularly presents to local support groups and nonprofit organizations. Don also provides assistance to local businesses and is a board member of his local Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he runs employee workshops on topics including retirement planning to corporate clients. Don demonstrates a broad, long-standing commitment to local community and philanthropic service. He is an over 20-year volunteer with Camp Fatima of New Jersey, an all-volunteer one on one camp for developmentally challenged children. He annually acts as a camp activities staff member as well as serves on their finance committee. Don is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Economics and Finance and holds his Series 6, 7, 63, and 24 security licenses along with his life, annuity, accident and health licenses. He has earned the Chartered Financial Consultant, Chartered Special Needs Consultant, and Chartered Advisor for Senior Living designations.

Our History

Elizabeth Neumann, M.A.
Client Relationship Manager

Special Needs Funding Coach is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Neumann has joined the team! With a master’s degree in education as well as additional experience in applied behavior analysis, Elizabeth has dedicated her entire professional life to serving the special needs community. After twelve years with Autism New Jersey where she directed conferences, provided professional training, and offered family support, Elizabeth looks forward to this new avenue of service and development in her career. In her role as Client Relationship Manager, we are confident you will be as happy as we are to have Elizabeth as an addition to our team!

Elizabeth may be reached at 848.200.7155 or eneumann@nlgroupmail.com.

Our Process

J. Jeffrey McAteer
Financial Advisor
Registered Representative,
Investment Adviser Representative, Equity Services, Inc.

As a United States Marine, Jeff served at Camp David under Presidents George H. W. Bush and William J. Clinton. Jeff combines his military service with more than 22 years of experience in the financial industry.

Along with his life and health licenses, Jeff has completed his FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 registrations. His commitment to excellence, expertise, and personal focus allows the Special Needs Funding Coach team to provide integrated and customized solutions for families and the professionals who serve them.

Jeff lives in Toms River with his spouse Janel and children, Julianna and Jack.

Jeffrey is life-licensed and offers insurance in the following states: DE, FL, MD, NJ, PA, and VA.

Jeffrey McAteer is a registered representative and Investment Adviser Representative of Equity Services, Inc. and offers securities in DE, FL, MD, NJ, OH, PA, and VA.


Our History

Charles Melita
Financial Services Professional


Professional Specialties
• Asset protection strategies • Business succession strategies • Life insurance • Legacy planning • Disability income protection • Long-term care strategies • Health benefit solutions • Wealth benefit solutions • Estate and eldercare strategies • Executive benefits • Risk management programs • Tax reduction strategies • Retirement strategies

Professional Qualifications and Experiences

  • Maintains strong centers of influence with accountants, attorneys, financial representatives and various industry leaders
  • Member Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), an industry benchmark based on sales excellence among insurance professionals
  • Presidents Club Recipient, presented by National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, VT based on sales criteria
  • The Strategic Coach and the Entrepreneurs & Growth Course
  • Full-circle commitment of education and charitable giving are the centerpieces of my practice.

Memberships and Community Service

  • Eastern Monmouth County Area Chamber of Commerce, Past Board of Directors
  • Member Exit Planning Exchange
  • Member Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) Community Advisory Committee
  • HMH Community Chair, Community of Life Savers Program, bringing CPR/AED training and awareness to area high schools
  • Received American Heart Association's Humanitarian Award for Leadership in CPR/AED Training Awareness
  • Earned Life Force USA "Chain of Survival" Award for CPR Training
  • Received 2015 American Heart Association's NJ American Heart Saver Award
  • Recognized as NJ Biz "Healthcare Hero" 2015 Finalist for Education in CPR
  • Testified Before NJ Senate Advocating Mandatory CPR Training in NJ High Schools, leading to bill being signed into law

Charles Melita is insurance-licensed in the following states: PA, NJ, NY, MD.

Our Values

NICO RIVERSO, CFP
Financial Advisor, Financial Service Representative


Nico Riverso, CFP is a seasoned investment and retirement planning professional. Nico is committed to providing families and business owners with assistance and lifelong resources towards building their financial freedom.

A resident of East Hanover, Nico began his financial services career in 1993 where he spent his first years working for two leading financial planning companies.

In 2001, Nico moved into the role of Agency Director and successfully led a unit of high-performing financial representatives. Stepping away in 2006 from his formal leadership position, Nico focused his energy on building his financial planning practice but continues to mentor junior associates.

Over Nico’s 26-year financial services career, he has been the recipient of numerous industry awards such as: a four-time Management Leaders Conference qualifier, three-time Top 25 Agency Director, and a Platinum & Leaders Conference qualifier1.

Residing in East Hanover with his wife and three children, Nico is also an active Board Member of Team 94 – a nonprofit organization dedicated to the integration of all special needs children and young adults into our communities through social, economic, and financial programs and resources. Nico is also actively involved in the autism community through Autism New Jersey, Autism Speaks, and The EPIC School, an educational program for children with autism.

Nico Riverso is a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of Equity Services, Inc. and offers securities in AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, MA, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, VA, and VT.

1Awards and membership is based on sales criteria.

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