The tireless work of the foundations listed in this category play an important role in strengthening and empowering the veteran community. These foundations provide direct support to the community through the development of employment initiatives, by providing funding for research on veteran-specific health issues, and by bringing relevant dialogue and educational opportunities to the general public in order to increase the overall understanding of veterans and the military community. These foundations’ efforts have worked to bring a number of benefits to veterans, and their commitment to these efforts has increased the overall strength of the veteran and supporter community.

Bernie Marcus, The Marcus Foundation

Bernard Marcus grew up in a tenement in Newark, New Jersey. He dreamed of becoming a doctor but couldn’t afford the tuition fees, instead working for his father as a cabinet maker while studying at Rutgers University. He became interested in retailing, eventually becoming a top executive at a Los Angeles-based chain of home improvement stores, where he met Arthur Blank, a regional manager for the same company. In 1978, after a disagreement with their boss, both men were fired, and by 1979, they launched The Home Depot, revolutionizing the home improvement business. Marcus was the company’s first CEO, serving in that role for 19 years. He then served as Chairman of the board until his retirement in 2002. Despite his inspiring career, Marcus never forgot his childhood dream of becoming a doctor. Today, he serves on the Board of Directors and as an active volunteer for the Shepherd Center, a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research, and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. In 2008, Marcus provided a generous donation which allowed the center to launch the SHARE Military Initiative, which provides treatment for military personnel who have sustained brain injuries, along with diagnoses of post-traumatic stress and other mental health conditions.


Sir Keith Mills, Invictus Games Foundation

‘Invictus,’ translating to ‘unconquered’, embodies the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and personifies what these tenacious men and women can achieve post injury. Founded by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, The Invictus Games are 6 years strong and are the premier international adaptive multi-sport event for wounded warriors. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country. The Invictus Games is about much more than sports – it captures hearts, challenges minds, and changes lives. Sir Keith Mills, former Deputy Chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, serves as the Chairman of the Invictus Games Foundation. He also founded Air Miles International, serves as the Chairman of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and as Chairman of the Sported Foundation, and is the former Chairman of Loyalty Management Group Ltd.


David de la Paz, Of The Peace Foundation

David De La Paz founded Of The Peace Foundation to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate war fighters into society. Through his foundation, he provides unwavering support, guidance, and relief to veterans in the central coast region, as well as to U.S. Veterans residing now in parts of Mexico, where he splits half of his time and foundation work. The Of The Peace Foundation concept was developed as a result of David’s personal experiences of years of homelessness following his service in the Vietnam War. After observing the lack of advocacy and representation for the PTSD population, Of The Peace Foundation was founded to fill this need. David is a trained Rape Crisis Advocate and Group Leader for Men’s Alternative to Violence. He is also trained in Suicide Prevention and Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention.

Mary Ellen Picciuto, Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund

MaryEllen Picciuto is President of the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund and a Veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  As the start-up CEO of Johnny Mac, MaryEllen led the board of directors to award over $16 million in scholarship funding in less than 6 years. The Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund is dedicated to honoring military service and sacrifice.  It was established in 2014 by a group of West Point classmates to provide scholarships and education opportunities to Veterans and military family members, especially children of the fallen or disabled. Their inspiration was their classmate Colonel John “Johnny Mac” McHugh, killed in action on May 18, 2010 while deployed to Afghanistan. Colonel McHugh left behind a family of five children.

Clint Eastwood, Clint Eastwood Family Foundation

Clint Eastwood is an award-winning actor, a director, and a U.S. Army veteran. Throughout his career, Clint Eastwood has portrayed servicemembers and directed movies about the United States Military. His artistic work on the screen is an important bridge between the public and the military. Beyond the silver screen, Clint has made significant contributions to veterans and military families through the Clint Eastwood Family Foundation. Most recently, the Clint Eastwood Family Foundation supported the non-profit group WorkingNation, making their Veterans and Military Families Month profiles possible, which created increased awareness of veteran and military family issues.

David Sandman, New York State Health Foundation

David Sandman has made veterans’ health a central priority at the New York State Health Foundation. The Foundation has supported seminal research on veterans’ health care needs and preferences, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on veterans’ coverage, and civilian health care providers’ readiness to care for veteran patients. Veterans want options about where to get their care; some prefer the VA while others prefer community providers. Therefore, the Foundation has worked with grantees throughout New York and nationally to expand community-based health care and behavioral health services for veterans and their families. The Foundation also advocates for policy change; its most recent campaign will ensure that every veteran in New York State has access to a high-quality Veterans Treatment Court if they are dealing with mental health and/or substance use issues. The proposal has garnered support in both houses of the State legislature and the Governor’s office.