On Friday, August 21, 2020, Veterans HEAT Factory (VHF) received a donation of $5,400 from 100 + Women Who Care, a local philanthropic organization. The check presentation was held at the organization’s headquarters which is housed in warehouse space at Joni Industries. The facility is comprised of a large open area used for various classes and activities. These include art, exercise, and yoga, as well as meetings and even public events. There is also a weight room where Veterans and First Responders can work out. Several smaller rooms are used for administrative purposes and private counseling sessions.
Veterans HEAT Factory’s mission is to Honor, Empower, Assist, and Train military veterans and First Responders who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. Founded in 2017 by Gus Guadagnino, owner of Joni Industries, the 501 c(3) non-profit has been operating on a shoestring budget, made up of mostly individual donations and contributions from a few local companies. This generous contribution by the members of 100 + Women Who Care will go a long way toward, not only helping VHF with its current mission but also expanding their program.
This local philanthropic organization, founded by Mary Crouse, is based on other 100+ Women Who Care groups throughout the United States. The operation of these “giving circles” is very simple and unique among philanthropic endeavors. There is no hierarchy/officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, etc.) and just four meetings per year (one per quarter). The only requirement is that a member is willing to donate $100 per quarter to a local deserving non-profit organization chosen by a majority of the members.
Ms. Crouse states, “The non-profit must operate locally and not be part of a larger national organization. All the funds must stay in the area to benefit the local community.”
The process works like this: Each quarter, any member can nominate a local 501 c(3) to receive the monies. The members vet the organization and then vote to determine the top three to be considered.
After that, a representative from each of the three nominees makes a five-minute presentation discussing its mission, goals, and how they plan to use the money. Afterward, there is a five-minute question and answer session. The last step is to vote again. The organization with the most number of votes is the recipient of the donation.
The winner is also eligible for a 50 cent-on-the-dollar match from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the founders of Best Buy. It is not automatic, however. The foundation makes the decision as to whether or not the organization will receive the matching funds. If Veterans HEAT Factory receives the additional monies, it will bring the total amount to $8,100.
“I want to thank every member of the 100 + Women Who Care for this wonderful donation.
Women are the fastest-growing group within the Veteran and First Responders populations and you have made it possible for us to create a program that will address their specific PTSD issues,” states Guadagnino.
“With a dedicated group of volunteers, caseworkers, instructors, mentors, and Peer Support people, we have been very successful in saving lives and supporting positive changes for so many suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. Although we are proud to offer all of our services at no cost, it is also very frustrating that lack of funds holds us back from helping more Veterans and First Responders,” Guadagnino concludes.
Present at the awarding of the check, besides Guadagnino were Lucy Stasio, a board member and retired sergeant from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, along with Jackie Colbeck, a Navy veteran visiting from Michigan.
Cristina Alonzo, Liz Casner, Toniann Ciappetta, Mary Crouse, Sarah Duncan, Ann McRae, Marge Lingor, Lynn Smith, Francine Vance, and Gail Whiting, members of the local 100 + Women Who Care attended the event.
Right now, there are fifty-four members in the local organization which means that each quarter, one fortunate local non-profit organization receives a minimum of $5,400. However, the group hopes to grow its “circle of giving.” All that is required to join 100+ Women Who Care is a willingness to pledge $100 per quarter. There is very little time commitment – a plus for busy people.
When it comes to charitable donations, every little bit helps, but there is strength in numbers, as demonstrated by 100+ Women Who Care.
You can find out more about Veterans H.E.A.T. Factory by logging onto
www.veteransheatfactory.com or by calling 352-251-7015