After hearing founder Ken Leslie on the radio, Steve Baugh, President of First Nation Group invited us in February 2015 to present to their philanthropy team at corporate headquarters as they were looking for a new veteran’s charity to support. The team decided to grant $40,000 to Veterans Matter. After seeing the immediate results of their grant – 60 veterans housed – 90 days later they allocated an additional $60,000.
Steve is one, like us, who loves leveraging opportunities. So the following year we thought to use the company’s 2016 grant of $200,000 as a match to inspire additional giving nationwide and help twice as many veterans. This was so successful they repeated this in 2017 and 2018.
To date the company has housed veterans in Houston, Mississippi, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina, and their employees celebrate these victories.
But with so many veterans still on the streets, this wasn’t enough for First Nation Group. Steve Baugh, along with company CEO Cheryl Nilsson, got innovative and pitched one of their suppliers, Fisher Paykel, on the idea of rebating back 1% of all First Nation purchases to Veterans Matter. In 2017 this amounted to over $43,000, and $66,000 in 2018 to house more homeless heroes.
Because of a simple desire to help the neediest of veterans, First Nation Group not only helped house veterans, they created a new model of corporate philanthropy.
Additionally, under Cheryl the company is shepherding the pilot of the Guardian Angel Fund in northern Florida. Once operational the fund will assist veterans in overcoming additional barriers. It is the small barriers that can be so big.
Do you have the desire or ideas of your own to help us house more heroes? Call or email us today, we’d love to hear them.