National Veterans Resource Center Tour

Thursday morning Ray Toenniessen, Associate Vice President of IVMF, picked me up and took me to the new National Veterans Resource Center, a new building on the Syracuse campus that will house IVMF and its resources.  It is a beautiful new building, funded primarily by a donation by Dan D’Aniello, Co-Founder of Carlyle and Chair of IVMF.  Joining us on the tour were Chancellor Syverud, Mike Haynie, and some other Board members.  What struck me about the new facility is how well it has been planned.  IVMF got many stakeholders, including wounded Veterans, involved to design the new facility.  It is totally wheel chair and blind accessible.  I was impressed by the auditorium, which should seat about three hundred and by the roof which has a parade ground on top.  It was being sodded by Industry Standards, a disabled Veteran owned company created by Veteran Chris Dambach, a graduate of IVMF’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp for Veterans.  It may be the only parade ground I’ve seen on the fourth floor of a building.

National Veterans Resource Center

From there we went to the current IVMF offices where we had our Board meeting.  The progress of IVMF has been nothing short of outstanding.  IVMF has served over 125,000 Veterans and their family members to-date, since its inception in 2013.  AmericaServes (connecting Veterans with communities and their services) has served over 27,000 military-connected clients in 17 communities and 11 States/District of Columbia.  Onward to Opportunity (skills credentialing in 33 pathways) has led to over 15,000 Veterans employed.  Arsenal has had 9 programs this year with over 900 participants.  And IVMF has presented over 70 pieces of research on the military connected community.

National Veterans Resource Center 2

Opportunities going forward include expanding capacity to meet increased demand, fundraising to complete the payment for the National Veterans Resource Center before it is opened in April, 2020 (88% of IVMF funds are spent on programs that directly affect Veterans and their families), influencing National and State policy about the military, and staying close to Veterans and the military communities to make sure we are meeting their needs.

National Veterans Resource Center 3

Mike made note during our meeting that we are very fortunate that with the leadership of Chancellor Syverud Veterans and their families are a strategic priority for Syracuse University.  After World War I Syracuse led universities in creating programs for Veterans.  This was the beginning of the GI Bill.  After World War II Syracuse again stepped forward.  Now Chancellor Syverud has made IVMF a strategic priority.  He has made Mike Haynie a Vice Chancellor, fully supported the effort to attract and care for Veterans, and strives to make IVMF a national resource to advance the military community.

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