Spotlight on Individual Giving
How Individuals Make an Impact at IVMF
Thanks to the generosity of Dan D’Aniello, eight veterans and military spouses, who are established or aspiring entrepreneurs, were presented with a share of more than $110,000 in seed funding earlier this year at the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) National Conference. The D’Aniello Family Foundation Business Plan Competition occurred in February 2016, on the heels of the D’Aniello Family Foundation’s $1 million gift to IVMF and Syracuse University, which will help the IVMF strengthen its programming and operations to better serve transitioning service members, veterans and their families all over the country.
“We are grateful for this transformational gift and the commitment Dan D’Aniello (a 1968 alumnus of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, and a current member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees) is making to the IVMF,” said Dr. Mike Haynie, IVMF Executive Director and Syracuse University Vice Chancellor. “Dan’s support of the University’s work in this area will have substantial impact on our collective efforts to advance the post-service lives of our nation’s veterans, service members and their families.”
The D’Aniello Family Foundation Business Plan Competition was open to all graduates of the IVMF’s EBV and EBV-Families entrepreneurship training programs. During the conference, 10 semifinalists had the opportunity to present a 15-minute business plan pitch and engage in 10 minutes of Q&A with a panel of expert judges. The following veterans and military spouses were beneficiaries of Dan D’Aniello’s philanthropic support and were named this year’s D’Aniello Family Foundation Business Plan Competition Award recipients.
First Place: Warren Foster (Colorado Springs, CO) – Science Playhouse
Warren is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer with over 30 years of experience in training, operations and management. He is a 2015 graduate of the EBV Program at UCLA. Science Playhouse is a hands-on science lab providing STEM education and enrichment programs for kids ages 6-12 in two large adjacent school districts in the North Colorado Springs area.
Second Place: Paul Kilgore (Evans Mills, NY) – WAORGANY Brewing, LLC
Paul is a retired U.S. Army Infantryman. He is a 2014 graduate of the EBV Program at Cornell University. WAORGANY Brewing, LLC is a craft New York State Farm Brewery in the Jefferson County, North Country region of New York State. This is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that will produce a large variety of fresh, high quality, hand crafted ales from locally sourced New York State ingredients, thus fostering the farm to glass concept, and making beers that are locally sourced, produced and sold.
Third Place: Becky Watson (Norfolk, VA) – Music for Wellness, LLC
Becky is a U.S. Navy veteran and a 2014 graduate of the EBV Program at Syracuse University. Music for Wellness, LLC is a small woman-owned disabled veteran business in Norfolk, VA, that is passionate about serving senior citizens with music. Its compassionate Board Certified Music Therapists transform, energize and engage aging adults with memory impairments through evidenced based music therapy programs that enhance their quality of life.
Fourth Place: Denise Gee-Uzzelle (Lancaster, TX) – Starting Point Human Capital Advisors, LLC
Denise is a military spouse; her husband is a retired U.S. Army IT Specialist. She is a 2014 graduate of the EBV-F Program at Florida State University. Starting Point Human Capital Advisors LLC is a Dallas-based HR consultancy focused on helping companies recruit and retain employees, ultimately improving long-term employment outcomes for veterans and underserved populations. The company targets two distinct audiences: small businesses with no HR department and military-friendly employers of any size.