From the CEO | Summer 2020
United we stand, divided we fall.
Throughout history we have seen this statement ring true time and time and time again. Today is no different. Amidst the confusion, fear, hatred and anger is a light, a beacon that always shines. We may not be able to see it in the fog which surrounds us but it is there, it is always there. That beacon is love. It’s compassion. It’s understanding. It’s service. It has and always will guide us, showing us how to put our differences aside, how to come together, how to love one another for a bigger cause, for our purpose. We will not only overcome but conquer these difficult times but to do so we need to put our collective needs above our own. We need to unite and we need to find that light.
Since our last correspondence much has transpired. For the last three months this non-profit did not sit on its laurels but instead went on the offensive, not waiting for normalcy but adapting and growing because that is what the mission demanded that is what those we serve deserve. Today, I am proud to share the details around how we did that. I’ll highlight the success we have found these last three months by expanding our team, creating major partnerships, and how we not only created a novel Alliance of veteran’s service organizations but we immediately deployed to support the community as a team of one. As always, I want to thank you for the victories you have allowed us to have. Nothing we do is possible without the hard work, effort and support of the SFF family and we are grateful for each and every one of you.
In the last month, the SEAL Future Foundation has expanded her team with three new Advisory Board members, two new full-time employees and nine interns. New to our Advisory Board is Rear Admiral Brian Losey. Admiral Losey brings over thirty years of military service and leadership to the team. He will advise the Board of Directors and help shape our programs for the transitioning force. Christopher Leupold has also joined the team as an Advisory Board member. Mr. Leupold is a Managing Director and Head of Western Region Global Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He has over twenty-seven years with the firm and a wealth of knowledge and experience. Mr. Leupold also serves on multiple boards including the board of his family’s business, Leupold Optics, a leading optics company serving the US military and the SEAL Teams. Mr. Leupold’s unique perspective on the military space and his leadership will be a major asset to the force. Finally, John Koudounis, Chief Executive Officer of Calamos Investments has graciously joined the SFF team as an Advisory Board Member. Prior to his position at Calamos, Mr. Koudounis served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mizuho Securities USA, Inc. Mr. Koudounis’ vast experience and knowledge in global capital markets along with his passion to serve will be instrumental in the accelerated success of the SFF mission.
On the full-time team, Commander Ty Bathurst officially joined SFF as the Chief Engagement Officer on July 1st. Commander Bathurst brings with him over twenty years of military service after retiring earlier this year. He will lead the efforts on strengthening our external relationships and increased communication so that we stay front and center for our family and supporters. Next, we are proud to announce the addition of Joel Beam to the team who will join us as the Chief Operating Officer starting August 1st. Mr. Beam served over ten years in the SEAL Teams and has found great success this last decade in the private sector. We look forward to having him apply his transition experience to the management of all of our SEAL-facing programs. We are also excited for him to contribute his expertise with systems implementation to further optimize all SFF processes, enabling us to be a more efficient and effective team.
Finally, we are proud to share that a high caliber team of interns have joined the SFF mission. Our interns come from all walks of life to include a former Apache Pilot, aspiring SEAL from Temple University and my pride and joy daughter, who is a sophomore at Trinity College. Despite coming from all walks of life, all of the interns have one thing in common and that is a heart to serve. We are grateful to have them serve alongside us and ecstatic to announce our Advisory Board members and new full-time teammates to the family. Welcome Aboard!
Last newsletter we announced the formation of the SEAL Support Alliance. Today I am proud to share the success that the alliance has found collaborating and working towards common goals these last few months. Again, the Alliance is made up of non-profits that realize the power of “WE” which includes the SEAL Family Foundation, Navy SEALs Fund, the American Addiction Centers, America’s Mighty Warriors, Host a Hero, Warrior Health Foundation, and the SEAL Future Foundation. The non-profits communicate frequently and have actioned over a dozen urgent, support situations collectively. The turnaround on support in this space has gone down from days, sometime weeks, to hours and often minutes. Also, the different organizations have each been able to focus support on their area(s) of expertise, mitigating redundancies and allow us to operate more efficiently and effectively. The Alliance system provides clarity for the transitioning service member by creating a single point of contact and a coordinated support plan. We are proud of the joint effort and success the team of teams has found. Bravo Zulu, Alliance!
Next, we are thrilled to announce that the SEAL Future Foundation has received a $1,000,000 grant from Verano Learning Partners. Damian Creamer, a Marine, CEO and Founder of StrongMind and board member of Verano Learning Partners, met a Navy SEAL in 2017 who was struggling with mental health issues. After investigating why the individual was not receiving appropriate services to support his transition, Mr. Creamer realized there was a major transition gap service members face after leaving the military. He decided to take action by joining forces with the SEAL Future Foundation to tackle this unacceptable situation. Mr. Creamer initiated this significant donation but also wanted to do more by joining the SFF Board of Directors. We are honored and humbled by the generosity and service given by him and the Verano Team and immediately put the donation to work by supporting 100 SEALs and their families. Welcome to the family Devil Dog!
Finally, a quick update on our programs and the impact we continue to have on the SEAL Community. In the last three months, new SEALs supported increased by 245 and so far in 2020 we have welcomed 504 new SEALs to the SFF. We continue to be a beacon of hope for guys during their most difficult challenge, their mission of transition. Demand for our best-in-class wellness and support continues to explode, even more so during these difficult economic and social times. Like all nonprofits without an endowment, our 2020 income is down significantly and we continue to be asked by the Community to do more with fewer resources. If you are compelled to contribute to our mission in any capacity during these difficult times you may do so by reaching out to us here: sealff.org/i-want-to-help/
I want to again thank everyone for your commitment and service to this mission. We only exist because of the hard work and effort you pour into those that we support and for that we call you family. Let me end with a simple ask. Amidst all the noise, all the disarray we are finding ourselves in, spend a moment today to recognize all the good you are doing and the people still here because of you and the service you have given SFF. That is our light, that is our purpose and please share that with everyone around you so that we can continue to serve as one for those in need.
United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
Jonathan D. Wilson