SDSU Athletics has raised $12 million for its $14.5 million Basketball Performance Center.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (May 21, 2014) — Following the Aztec men’s basketball team’s second Sweet Sixteen appearance in four years, momentum for funding of the planned $14.5 million Basketball Performance Center continues with the announcement of a $2 million gift from the Manna Charitable Foundation at the San Diego Foundation.
“We are excited to announce a $2 million gift from the Manna Charitable Foundation” said SDSU director of athletics, Jim Sterk. “The anonymous benefactor who created the Manna Charitable Foundation is a first-time donor to the university. The donor admired the incredible team effort and family atmosphere that is fostered by head Coach Steve Fisher. The power of an athletic team gaining the love of a community has never been more relevant than with this gift.”
Late in 2013, the Zable Foundation pledged a $1 million challenge gift for the Basketball Performance Center. While the Manna Charitable Foundation gift fulfills that challenge, pledges are still being accepted to fully fund the project. Currently, SDSU Athletics has raised just over $12 million for the project.
“I have been a fan of the incredible work that Steve Fisher, his assistants and the student-athletes did this year,” the benefactor said. “They played with a defensive intensity that I loved. It is truly a privilege to have been blessed with the ability to help people and programs that are assets to our community. SDSU basketball captured the hearts of this community, brought us together, and is a true San Diego asset. I would like to see the Aztec program continue to build into a national championship contender, and to bring more well-deserved attention to our fine community.”
The Manna Charitable Foundation’s gift contributes to The Campaign for SDSU, which to date has raised more than $494 million of its $500 million goal.
The campaign was launched in 2007 to create new opportunities for student success and to help SDSU continue to develop as a leading public research university. To date, the campaign has received more than 123,700 gifts from alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents and community partners, including 90 gifts of $1 million or more.
The Basketball Performance Center will be located just west of the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. Two full-length courts, eight baskets, locker rooms, film rooms, team lounges, athletic training room and coaches locker rooms will enhance the Aztec men’s and women’s championship basketball programs.
For more information on the Basketball Performance Center, contact the Aztec Club at 619- 594-6444. Gifts to the Aztec Basketball Performance Center can be made online.
Public-Private Partnership between Tax Software Industry & IRS Will Continue Successful Campaign Providing Free Tax Prep & E-Filing Services for 70 Percent of Taxpayers
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 21, 2014) – The Free File Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of industry-leading tax software companies partnered with the IRS, today announced that it has signed an agreement with the IRS to continue offering online tax preparation and e-filing services at no cost. The memorandum of understanding between the Free File Alliance and the IRS continues the Free File program through the 2015 tax season. In addition, the Free File Alliance and the IRS will begin discussions with the goal being to negotiate a multi-year agreement by December 1, 2014.
Since its inception in 2003, the Free File Alliance has been committed to offering 70 percent of taxpayers – currently those with an adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less – the ability to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost. Through the program, leading commercial tax preparation software from Free File Alliance member companies is available at www.IRS.gov/freefile. Basic federal e-filing services, called Free File Fillable Forms, are also available regardless of income level.
“For more than a decade, Free File has advanced the IRS’ e-filing initiative by making industry-leading tax software available to a majority of Americans at no cost,” said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance. “Free File is the epitome of a successful public-private partnership. We have saved taxpayers an estimated $1.3 billion in preparation and filing costs, while introducing millions of Americans – many of whom could not otherwise afford tax software – to the efficiency and ease of e-filing. The Free File Alliance looks forward to continuing to serve taxpayers next year and beyond.”
Before Free File began in 2003, free tax software offerings were not consistently available and were subject to modification or discontinuation from year to year. Free File Alliance member companies have continually worked with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have consistently reported that it is user-friendly and efficient. Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.
About the Free File Alliance
The Free File Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of 14 industry-leading tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online. The Free File Alliance is committed to giving 70 percent of Americans free access to the industry’s top online tax preparation software. More than 40 million returns have been filed through IRS Free File since its inception. For more information, visit www.freefilealliance.org.
Univera trip included time in the field observing distributions of vitamins with non-profit, Vitamin Angels
SEATTLE – May 16, 2014 – As part of its commitment to revitalizing communities, Univera founder and chairman Bill Lee and the company’s Serve First™ team recently returned from the Dominican Republic, where they assisted Vitamin Angels ‘ in-country partners in distributing multivitamins and albendazole, a deworming treatment, to the country’s at-risk children and mothers.
Univera, through its philanthropic arm, Serve First, has partnered with Vitamin Angels on a variety of projects to help support their cause. Over the past four years, the Univera Serve First team has visited Vitamin Angels’ projects in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and its most recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Vitamin Angels helps at-risk populations in need – specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five – gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals. Their program in the Dominican Republic is reaching more than 1 million children with vitamin A as well as about 42,000 pregnant women, new mothers and children under five with daily multivitamins.
According to Vitamin Angels, millions of children around the world are suffering from a lack of micronutrients that can lead to disease and even death. In fact, 45 percent of all childhood deaths are attributable to undernutrition. To help support these global challenges, Univera, whose culture is rooted in caring – for self, for nature, for the world, and for the community – created Serve First, a public charity dedicated to providing nutritional support to impoverished children around the world. Since its inception, Serve First has generated nearly $1.5 million in donations, a large portion of which goes to Vitamin Angels.
As part of the Serve First program, in addition to providing monetary support, Univera Associates can earn an opportunity to join Serve First and Vitamin Angels on annual humanitarian trips to locations around the globe. Those who attend receive a first-hand experience of their donations in action, observing vitamin distributions, interacting with beneficiaries and gaining a greater understanding of the causes of undernutrition
“One of the most basic ways to begin improving quality of life is by improving quality of nutrition and nourishment,” said Bill Lee, CEO of Univera. “The first step to making a difference is believing that you can. We are committed to ensuring that children all over the world have access to essential nutrients.”
About Vitamin Angels
Vitamin Angels helps at-risk populations in need—specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under five—gain access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals. In 2014, Vitamin Angels is working to reach 40 million children in approximately 45 countries, including the US, with the vital nutrients they need as a foundation for good health. Vitamin Angels has received seven consecutive four-star ratings from Charity Navigator for Financial Health, Accountability and Transparency. To learn more, visit www.vitaminangels.org.
Univera, Inc. (www.univera.com) is a leader in the natural products industry delivering high quality, life-changing health products to hundreds of thousands of customers across North America. A part of the ECONET family of companies, Univera is fully integrated from farm to family – growing, discovering, developing and manufacturing its products with an intense commitment to naturally derived compounds, advanced biological research and quality control. As a relationship marketing company, Univera also provides a lucrative financial opportunity that rewards people for sharing the gift of health with others, creating a successful business model of people helping people to enhance their vitality and prosperity.
Humorous Social Challenge Campaign Asks Millennials Post an Old School Photo of Themselves to Crowd-Source Donations
Indianapolis, IN (April 8, 2014) – Building Tomorrow, a charity building primary schools in Uganda, is launching a 24-hour social media campaign beginning Wednesday, May 21 at 12:00pm EST, with the aim of raising $34,000+ to help build its 21st primary school in Uganda’s Rakai District.
The campaign challenges participants to 1) donate $4.00 to Building Tomorrow, and 2) post an embarrassing old school photo of themselves on facebook and/or twitter (@BldgTomorrow) using #oldschoolforanewschoool
Here’s a little more about the campaign: http://www.buildingtomorrow.org/old-school-for-a-new-school
Want to help, here is a “Cheat Tweet” & Sample Facebook Post:
About Building Tomorrow
Building Tomorrow (BT) is an international social-profit organization empowering young people to invest their resources, time & talents in providing students in East Africa with access to an education. Over the last five years, supporters of BT, including a college network of over 25 chapters nationwide, have raised more than $1.5 million to seed 20 BT primary schools, 14 of which are currently operational. The remaining six primary schools are under construction and planning. For more information, visit www.buildingtomorrow.org.
About George Srour
George Srour, 30, is the Founder and Chief Dreamer of Building Tomorrow, Inc. (BT). Srour attended the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, where he graduated in 2005 with a major in Government and International Relations. Upon graduation, Srour was awarded the James Monroe Prize for Civic Leadership and the inaugural William E. Simon Fellowship for Noble Purpose. Using both awards, Srour started BT from an unused room in his parents’ house in the fall of 2005. Under Srour’s leadership, Building Tomorrow has constructed classroom space for over 3,000 children in Uganda while engaging a college-based chapter network of students at over 25 universities across the United States. Srour has been recognized for his work in the field of social entrepreneurship by being named an Echoing Green Fellow (’07), a member of the GOOD 100 (’13) and added to the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 list for social entrepreneurs (’13).
Report Receives Positive Response from Business Leaders, Government Officials, Nonprofit Sector and Community Residents
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (May 2014) – Since Nonprofit Westchester (NPW) first announced the results of its report released in conjunction with The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies in March, Joanna Straub, NPW Executive Director has been on a mission to take the findings on the road and has already presented the report to hundreds of business leaders, officials and dignitaries in the county.
“People have found the report to be fascinating and incredibly important to the community at-large,” Straub said. “The response has been nothing short of great, particularly among those who work or volunteer for nonprofits. But, this response is not limited to our sector; business leaders and public officials are telling us just how important nonprofits are to the community, the economy and our quality of life.”
The study, entitled “Westchester County Nonprofits: A Major Economic Engine,” found that 53,987 people, or 13.6 percent, of the county’s total workforce is employed by nonprofits. That’s one out of every seven workers. Additionally, this sector generated $6.9 billion in revenues and paid roughly $2.7 billion in wages and compensation – including hundreds of millions in federal, state and local taxes.
From left: Greg Arcaro, Executive Director of Community Planning Council of Yonkers; Joanna Straub, executive director of NPW; and Steven Brown, President of the Community Planning Council of Yonkers and President of Greyston Foundation.
In April, Straub presented the report to the Westchester County Local Development Corporation and Jim Coleman, Executive Director of the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency. She also spoke before the Community Services Committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators with Chairperson Legislator Alfreda Williams of Greenburgh. Additionally, she discussed the report as keynote speaker during the 94th Annual Meeting of the Community Planning Council of Yonkers.
Earlier this month, Straub was able to give a presentation to attendees at the Not-for-Profit Leadership Summit XII presented by the Westchester Community Foundation and United Way of Westchester and Putnam, where more than 700 of regional leaders and nonprofit representatives were in attendance.
“We are pleased with the responses we have received thus far and plan to continue to spread the word throughout the summer so that the community understands the economic as well as quality of life contributions that nonprofits make to our community,” Straub added.
For more information about Nonprofit Westchester or to read a copy of the study, visit www.npwestchester.org or call 914-332-6679.
Nonprofit Westchester (NPW) provides the nonprofit sector with a single unified voice for the role it plays in the economic vitality and sustainability of the county, focusing on sharing resources, connections, and information to strengthen Westchester in partnership with the for-profit and government sectors. The organization represents more than 80 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in the county under a cooperative mission to strengthen the impact, capacity and visibility of the nonprofit sector for a more just and caring community. In 2014, NPW released a study done in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies called “Westchester County Nonprofits: A Major Economic Engine,” which concluded that nonprofits are a multi-billion dollar industry and make up the largest employment sector in Westchester County. For more information, visit www.npwestchester.org.
-Entrepreneur Asif Khan Offers Proven Tips to Woo Investors After Securing Multi-Million Dollars in Funding For His Company Caremerge-
CHICAGO – May 20, 2014 – Fundraising is arguably the most important issue for any entrepreneur. Without financial backing, even the most brilliant idea will never see the light of day.
This is a daily fight for start-ups as they delicately balance cultivating their billion dollar idea while struggling to come up with the next hundred dollars to keep the lights on. The reason this is so difficult is because wooing investors is an art and not a science.
Asif Khan, a successful entrepreneur who founded Caremerge in 2012 and recently received multi-million dollars in funding, has identified 7 tips that are proven to work when looking for funding.
Caremerge’s technology and first-of-its-kind apps have transformed senior healthcare providing unprecedented coordination in patient care between institutions, patients and their families.
Here are the 7 tips to secure funding:
Caremerge is a healthcare technology company dedicated to revolutionizing communication and care coordination in senior living. Caremerge is a member of the GE Health Growth Accelerator Program. For more information, please visit www.caremerge.com.
About Asif Khan
Asif has more than 20 years of experience in Technology. Most of his experience (over 12 years) has been with GE in leadership roles with increasing responsibilities at various GE businesses. Asif served about 8 years in various Senior and Global Product Marketing roles at GE Healthcare IT. During his tenure at GE, Asif worked as an entrepreneurial catalyst driving positive change across various businesses. Before leaving GE Healthcare in late 2010 to start Caremerge, Asif was responsible for a portfolio of healthcare products generating $140 million annually with over 3000 customers (Hospitals and large centers) worldwide.
Asif holds a B.A. in Journalism & History and a B.Sc. in Computer Science. He earned his M.B.A. from Booth School of Business – University of Chicago. Caremerge brings the world’s first complete set of simple yet revolutionary communication and care coordination solutions, organizing healthcare teams, providers and families, with shared information around seniors and senior care. Therefore resulting in timely and efficient care delivery and care decisions.
Paramus, NJ, (May, 2014) – As an inspiration to us all, the upcoming issue of Rebel Ink magazine, which launches Memorial Day weekend, is portraying two beautiful people on its cover who have overcome tremendous personal challenges. Carrie Jewell Dugo, a breast cancer and double mastectomy survivor, and Alex Minsky, a wounded warrior who suffered serious injuries including the loss of his leg in Afghanistan, have bodies that are considered “non-traditional.” Profiled in depth in Rebel Ink, we revel in how both have regained their self-esteem and inspired others through their unique tattoo experiences.
Australian-born Carrie Jewell Dugo was diagnosed with breast cancer during her pregnancy and had a double mastectomy to save the life of her child. Chemo and multiple reconstructive surgeries left Carrie disfigured and scarred physically and emotionally. After dealing with stress, anger, depression and body image issues, she decided that she wanted her children to perceive her as a confident happy Mom. She used the Gerson Therapy for healing, attended spiritual retreats and nutritional weekends. Carrie then decided to help herself and inspire others by having a beautiful corset tattoo applied over her scars by Dawn-Marie of SkinFlower Cosmic Arts, a skilled tattoo artist in upstate New York where Carrie now lives. Inspired by the corset costumes she always admired in a favorite film, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Carrie explains, “For me, getting tattooed was empowering. After every session, I felt my confidence and strength grow. So I am happy people find me inspirational.”
Orange County, CA resident Alex Minsky was a Marine for nearly three years in 2010 when his vehicle ran over an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) while serving in Afghanistan and he suffered serious leg and brain injuries. He was in a coma for 47 days with total memory loss and his leg was amputated. Although he had tattoos prior to entering the Marines, he went to Rick Williams Balboa Tattoo in Newport Beach and Sterling Barck at Costa Mesa Tattoo to obtain more extensive tattoos on his body. While he was working out to regain strength, a photographer approached him, took some photos. Soon after, Alex became a model, totally exposing his athlete blade prosthesis with pride to help others with injuries. Alex explains, “When I struggle, I need something, and I find inspiration from other things. I’m glad people are finding inspiration from other things, and if it’s my picture, then that’s a good thing.”
Tattoos are an art form that date back to 6000 BC and have been gaining more mainstream acceptance in recent years as a visual form of personal expression. According to a Pew Research Center report from December, 2013, the total percent of Americans who have at least one tattoo are 14% or 45 million. There are 21,000 tattoo parlors in the U.S. and Americans spend over $1.65 billion on tattoos.
Founded six years ago, the award-winning Rebel Ink magazine (www.rebelinkmag.com) focuses on many cutting edge aspects of tattoos and the magazine now enjoys a 100,000 circulation. It is available at Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, 7-11, Rite Aid and many other retailers, and by subscription. This international magazine celebrates unique tattoos, tattoo artists, and celebrities through interviews and high quality photographs. Rebel Ink is part of the same company that also publishes Urban Ink and Skin & Ink for people of color.
Commenting on the issue that launches Memorial Day, Rebel Ink Editor-in-Chief, Paul Gambino, explains, “We chose Carrie Jewell Dugo and Alex Minsky as our cover models to show the world two tattooed individuals who exemplify courage and used tattoos for their own healing process. We hope it opens the eyes of others to the world of tattoos and how this form of personal expression is an art form like others to be admired…and inspire others.”
Tattoos have been highlighted in numerous recent films including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Hangover series, and more. Tatoos are seen on numerous actors including Veritas Aequitas in The Boondock Saints, Dolarhyde’s entire backside in Red Dragon, Robert De Niro in Cape Fear, Mila Kunis in Black Swan, Guy Pearce in Memento, in the New Grand Auto Theft video game characters, among many others. Tattoed celebrities include Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mike Tyson, Dwayne Johnson, David Beckham and Rhianna, among many others. Tattooed models are finally accepted on the runways around the world, allowing the tattoo art form to come out of the closet, so to speak.
Perhaps not to the extent as Carrie and Alex, other military veterans have been tattooed with visible memories of conflict, loss and suffering. Breast cancer survivors have also used tattoos to commemorate their survival and celebrate the fight against breast cancer. More professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, real estate brokers, bankers, now have tattoos. However, some employers still do not allow them to be visible in the workplace.
For more information, go to www.rebelinkmag.com.
Veteran Manager and NYC DOE Alum Will Oversee Organizational Strategy and Direction
May 20, 2014 (NY, NY) — Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that partners with high-poverty, low-performing public schools, today welcomed Brigid Ganley as Chief External Affairs Officer. In this role, Ganley will serve as the driving force behind efforts to increase stakeholder awareness of Turnaround for Children to ensure its continued growth and expansion. Ganley comes to Turnaround from Uncommon Schools, a high-performing public charter school network, where she served as Director of Development for the past five years. She also served as a senior manager for Partnership Support Organizations in the NewYork City Department of Education and is an alumna of the Broad Residency, an intensive two-year management development program that trains emerging leaders for senior positions within large urban school districts.
“Brigid brings the experience, vision and most importantly passion for equity in the way we educate all children, including children attending schools in our low income communities,” said Turnaround for Children President and CEO Dr. Pamela Cantor. “She will be a key player in developing our organizational strategy for establishing Fortified Environments for Teaching and Learning as a central pillar of education reform and equity.”
“The momentum surrounding Turnaround’s work right now is thrilling,” said Ganley. “I am humbled to join a team with such deep expertise and excited about all of the work we can do together to create fortified environments for student learning.”
Turnaround for Children currently works in schools in New York City, Washington D.C. and Newark, N.J. and is building a movement to establish Fortified Environments for Teaching and Learning as an essential pillar of education reform, school design and equitable educational opportunity for all students.
For more information on Turnaround for Children, visit http://turnaroundusa.org/.
Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund Provides $100,000 Grant to Kick Off Program; $1 from the Purchase of Each Bag Will Help Keep Kids Safe in the Wake of a Disaster
WAYNE, NJ (May 20, 2014) – Toys“R”Us® has introduced an exclusive 100% recyclable, reusable tote bag featuring a young child’s artwork in its stores nationwide, from which a portion of proceeds will benefit Save the Children®, a global humanitarian organization that ensures the urgent needs of children are met in a crisis situation. Whether families are preparing their disaster emergency kit or looking for a keepsake alternative for gifting, these tote bags can serve as the perfect go-to carryall. One dollar from the purchase of each bag will be donated directly to Save the Children’s Domestic Emergency Fund, which serves to provide a safe environment for children and families when disasters strike. In conjunction with the reusable bag program, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund has provided a $100,000 grant to the Domestic Emergency Fund to further strengthen Save the Children’s disaster preparedness programs and relief efforts in the United States, reinforcing the company’s commitment to children and families during times of crisis.
“Save the Children continues to serve as the company’s primary disaster response partner due to its strong focus on the unique physical and emotional needs of children in times of crisis. Through this collaboration, Toys“R”Us has helped victims of numerous devastating events in the U.S. and around the world,” said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman of the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. “With the beginning of hurricane season fast approaching, this reusable bag program provides customers with an easy way to support Save the Children’s efforts to be emergency ready and to help keep kids safe when disasters strike.”
“We are excited to expand our partnership with Toys“R”Us, engaging the millions of families who shop its stores to help us make a significant impact in children’s lives,” said Kathy Spangler, Vice President of U.S. Programs, Save the Children. “Together, Save the Children and Toys“R”Us have a shared mission of prioritizing the interests of children, when they need hope, comfort and safety most.”
Dedicated Safety Site Provides Tips to Ready Families for an Emergency
Being prepared before disasters strike can make all the difference in the safety and welfare of families. To help, Toys“R”Us and Save the Children have compiled disaster planning tips and checklists on the company’s dedicated safety site, Toysrusinc.com/Safety, where families can learn more about fundamental supplies for at-home and to-go emergency kits, determining a safe location if loved ones are separated and how to develop a communication strategy. In addition, the company’s “Safety Experts Say” blog will feature commentary from Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Senior Director of U.S. Emergencies, Save the Children, sharing her personal experience in disaster-affected areas and offering information about how Save the Children’s Domestic Emergency Fund directly affects families in shelters and community recovery sites.
Online Registry Provides Essential Supplies in Times of Crisis
Customers can also visit Toysrus.com/SavetheChildren to view an official registry of products that can be purchased and sent directly to Save the Children to be used for kids during times of crisis. Items such as toys and games are distributed in “Child Friendly Spaces” within shelters and recovery centers to provide a sense of normalcy, in addition to basic supplies, such as diapers, wipes, clothing and hygiene items. By purchasing from this registry, contributors can help Save the Children support the smallest victims in the wake of devastating events.
For more than a decade, Toys“R”Us and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund have provided nearly $4.3 million to help Save the Children’s immediate relief and response efforts, as well as ensure the safety and emotional support of children in shelters and community recovery sites. In 2010, Toys“R”Us received the Corporate Recognition for Humanitarian Assistance honor for its disaster response work with Save the Children from InterAction, a coalition of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organization focused on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
To View Images of the Toys“R”Us Reusable Tote Bag Benefitting Save the Children, Click Here.
Charitable Giving at Toys“R”Us
The philanthropic mission of Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various children’s organizations, including those providing disaster relief to victims of large-scale crises, as well as those supporting America’s military families. The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations and has donated $1 million as the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys“R”Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company’s signature philanthropic partners.
About Save the Children
Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we are dedicated to ensuring every child has the best chance for success. Our pioneering programs give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Our advocacy efforts provide a voice for children who cannot speak for themselves. As the leading expert on children, we inspire and achieve lasting impact for millions of the world’s most vulnerable girls and boys. By transforming children’s lives now, we change the course of their future and ours.
New Lee & Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge in Palo Alto to offer 52 first-class private rooms
May 19, 2014, WASHINGTON – The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation (PenFed Foundation), announced today the nation’s largest free hotel for service members and veterans undergoing medical care at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System is opening doors. The new Lee & Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge is officially complete, with doors to open for guests today, May 19.
“This project is literally years in the making,” said Jane Whitfield, president and chief executive officer of the PenFed Foundation. “To see this hotel begin welcoming guests who have served this country so honorably is truly an emotional moment for all of us.”
The new Defenders Lodge is expected to serve up to 20,000 service members and veterans annually who travel to Palo Alto for treatment. Last year, thousands had to find temporary housing while receiving care at the VA Palo Alto, many coming from miles away.
To address this crisis, the PenFed Foundation volunteered as the primary sponsor of constructing the hotel, a $17 million initiative in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The foundation is working to raise $11 million in private donations to cover the cost of building the lodge. In 2010, PenFed (Pentagon Federal Credit Union) assisted with a $10 million low-interest loan to help get construction underway.
Hometel, the current facility used to accommodate service members and veterans seeking medical care in Palo Alto, stopped taking reservations on May 18. Members of the military and veterans interested in staying at the lodge should contact their local VA rep for more information on making a reservation. The Defenders Lodge will replace Hometel, which has limited capacity, outdated amenities, and is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I can think of no better way to honor our nation’s wounded military and veterans than with a good night’s rest,” said philanthropist Lee Anderson, who along with his wife Penny, is the primary sponsor of the Defenders Lodge. “It’s truly an honor to be part of such a one-of-a-kind project that will touch the lives of so many of our men and women who served our country.”