Non-Profits on Fire

The men and women in this category have turned their own first-hand veteran experiences into successful and well-known non-profit enterprises, all of which have the mission of helping service members as well as those within their local communities. These individuals understand the importance of building a strong community and recognize the constant challenges that many veterans and their families face. As such, they have dedicated their life’s work to ensuring that they bring positive and impactful change to those around them, as well as offering relevant opportunities for veterans to find a way to continue their call to serve.

Kris Goldsmith, High Ground Veterans

Kristofer Goldsmith served in the U.S. Army as a forward observer, separating in 2007 at the rank of sergeant. He deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. Kris has since become an advocate for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and those with less-than-honorable discharges. He is the founder and chair of High Ground Veterans Advocacy, which partners with veterans service organizations to train vets to become grassroots advocates and leaders in their local communities. Kris currently serves as the assistant director for policy and government relations at Vietnam Veterans of America. He is also a member of Truman National Security Project’s defense council.

Emily McMahan, Bunker Labs DC

Commissioned as a Military Police Officer upon graduating from West Point, Emily McMahan served on combat deployments supporting OIF, OEF, and Operation Noble Eagle. Emily currently serves as the Executive Director for Bunker Labs DC, a national nonprofit empowering veteran entrepreneurs as leaders in innovation, and Capitol Post, a non-profit whose mission is to serve as the platform for military veterans and spouses growing sustainable and scalable businesses or transitioning into new careers, and serves as the home to Bunker Labs DC.

Matt Zeller, No One Left Behind

Zeller’s organization has been the definition of on fire as they have been in the forefront of the recent Administration’s decision halting the travel from certain countries into the United States. The result has been an outsize affect on foreign translators who were side by side of American troops in OEF/OIF. Inspired and humbled by the interpreter that saved his life while serving in Afghanistan Matt Zeller founded “No One Left Behind.” True to our military’s ethos of bringing our comrades home, No One Left Behind is dedicated to helping the many Afghan and Iraqi interpreters that served honorably alongside U.S. forces obtain special visas to secure safe passage to the U.S. To date Matt and his team of volunteers have resettled over 60 interpreters and their families.

Chris Vasiliou, Four Block

A veteran of the U.S. Navy Chris Vasiliou brings more than 30 years of executive and entrepreneurial experience to his role as Executive Director of Four Block. Chris remains dedicated to veteran empowerment and their success as he also heads the Wounded Caregiver Support Program and actively serves as mentor to several veterans at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

FourBlock equips high potential veterans to achieve great careers at our nation’s top companies. Achieve more after the military. See how at fourblock.org

Kristina Kaufmann, Code of Support

Founded in 2010, Code of Support Foundation has continued to fulfill its mission to “provides essential and critical one-on-one assistance to struggling service members, veterans and their families with the most complex needs.”

Kristina Kaufmann has led the way on this effort.  She has served as an advocate for military and veteran families for over 15 years and is a subject matter expert regarding the mental health impacts of war on military families. Her publications and media appearances include the Washington Post, New York Times, NPR, CNN, NBC, FOX and ABC. Kristy has briefed congress on several occasions and speaks at conferences across the country.  In her role as the executive director of the Code of Support Foundation, she combines her first-hand experience as a wartime Army wife with her knowledge of research, programs and organizational strategies to raise awareness, inform policies and facilitate collective effort necessary to meet the needs of the military/veteran families. She is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley, and a native of New Rochelle, NY.

www.codeofsupport.org

Jayson Browder, Vets in Global Leadership

Jayson Browder is an Iraq war Air Force veteran, Presidential Management Fellow, Fulbright Scholar, and the Founder and Executive Director of Veterans in Global Leadership, an organization dedicated to developing student veterans into America’s next global leaders. Since 2016, VGL has trained over 32 Fellows who have earned prestigious awards (George Mitchell Scholarship, Boren Fellowship, and Presidential Management Fellowship, etc.) and leadership positions within The White House, State Department and Justice Department.

Learn more about Veterans in Global Leadership Here.

Nicole Motsek, EOD Warrior Foundation

A graduate of James Madison University and American Intercontinental University Nicole Motsek is currently the Executive Director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. Both her husband and father-in-law served as Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians with the U.S. Army making her work with EOD Warrior Foundation particularly fulfilling. Nicole also continues to serve the Atlanta community as an active volunteer with its Junior League.

The EOD Warrior Foundation (EODWF) serves the EOD community by providing financial assistance and support to active-duty and veteran wounded, injured or ill EOD warriors, families of our wounded and fallen EOD warriors and by maintaining the EOD Memorial. – See more at www.eodwarriorfoundation.org

Zack Bazzi, Tent Ed

A veteran of the U.S. Army and National Guard, Zack Bazzi served both domestically and overseas. It was in 2013, serving as a volunteer in the Kurdistan region of Iraq assisting Syrian refugees that he observed the many families in the camps, most having lost everything. Together with two friends they started a small scale project to help all children uprooted by war to feel some sense of normalcy through education. TentEd plugs into existing organizations to provide services and supplies to teach children in conflict zones. Launching in 2014, TentEd raised more than $40,000 in the first year and made three trips to the Kurdistan region to set up the first school. Through their efforts hundreds of children have been able to grow through education in an otherwise turbulent time in their young lives.