Want to invest in veterans, but need ideas? We asked around Philadelphia's veterans' groups to find out how.
There are upward of 200,000 veterans in Philadelphia and surrounding counties, according to Hugo Lentze, founder of the Delaware Valley Veterans Consortium. He started the loose coalition that aims to be a meeting place for Greater Philly's veterans' groups to exchange ideas and event information.
To learn more, visit the website for the Delaware Valley Veterans Consortium (https://dvvc.weebly.com). The outfit meets quarterly to help counties and regional veterans' advocates work together and effect policy change.
"My vision, my goal is Philadelphia becomes the destination for military families, because of the benefits of living here as a veteran," Lentze said.
That's not even his day job.
Lentze works full-time at the Travis Manion Foundation, which was founded by Manion's parents and sister Ryan Manion in Doylestown. Marine First Lt. Travis Manion was killed by a sniper in Iraq in April 2007. The foundation trains veterans to speak to high school students about why character matters. The foundation (www.travismanion.org) has worked with more than 250,000 kids. Widows, families of fallen veterans, and even those once engaged to them also come together to participate in foundation service projects and to heal.
"This is going to be our best year," said Lentze, chief strategic partnerships officer at Travis Manion Foundation. "We're in nine cities and up to 50 employees. Now we're digging into where we are."
Kevin O'Brien founded Veteran Recruiting as a virtual job fair for veterans, their spouses, and families. Veteran Recruiting, based in Doylestown, is the leader in virtual career fairs for the military community. More than 212,000 veterans have been hired since 2011 through the organization. For more information, visit the website: www.veteranrecruiting.com. Contact O'Brien at email@example.com or 215-525-5776.
Philly-based JDog Junk Removal & Hauling just opened its 200th franchise.
"They're hiring veterans and giving them a chance to own a business," said Ralph Galati, board member of the JDog Foundation.
"If you want to get involved with veterans, go local," he recommends. "Then you see where your money is helping in the community."
Elissa Bloom, executive director of the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, on Monday will honor women vets at the Loew's Hotel for the second annual Women's Entrepreneurship Day.
She'll be honoring four women vets who are also business owners: Kym Ramsey, founder, The Willow School; Rhonda Smith, founder, The Skirted Soldier; Carol Eggert, senior vice president for military and veteran affairs, Comcast NBCUniversal; and Erica Webster, founder, Dub Fitness.
Women entrepreneurs who work in technology, business, the nonprofit sector, and education will meet at this full-day conference. For more information, and to register, check out the website: www.wedphiladelphia.wordpress.com.
Trade with a veteran next time you buy and sell securities. Cauldon Quinn, a service-disabled veteran, last year opened Bancroft Capital, a certified veteran-owned small business operating an institutional broker-dealer and investment adviser. Based in Fort Washington, Bancroft Capital will donate all of its net profits on Veterans Day to the Travis Manion Foundation.
"Bancroft is committed to the restoration of veterans and disabled veterans to their rightful place of leadership within society, community, and foremost, to their individual family," said Quinn.
The sixth annual Veteran Shark Tank takes place Monday, Dec. 3, at the Union League of Philadelphia, 140 S. Broad St. To register or support the event, visit the website: http://veteransharktank.com.
Veteran entrepreneurs pitch business ideas at Veteran Shark Tank, which was created by Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network as a way to help veterans who are starting their own businesses, and is similar to the popular television show Shark Tank. Winners take home a cash prize of $25,000.
Finally, Terry Williamson is looking for donations for the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located at Spruce Street and Columbus Boulevard (www.pvvm.org).
The memorial board has raised $126,000, half of its goal. The monument is scheduled for completion next year.