The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) exists to provide critically needed support to disabled and at-risk veterans who leave the military wounded—physically or psychologically—after defending our safety and our freedom.

 

We achieve this mission by:

  • Offering direct financial support to veteran organizations that address the unique needs of veterans, and whose missions align with that of DVNF.
  • Providing supplemental assistance to homeless and low-income veterans through the Health & Comfort program and various empowerment resources.
  • Providing an online resource database that allows veterans to navigate the complex process of seeking benefits that they are entitled to as a result of their military service, as well as additional resources they need.
  • Serving as a thought leader on critical policy issues within the veteran community, and educating the public accordingly.

Our History

DVNF was founded in 2007 by six women veterans, each with years of experience as State Women Veterans Coordinators in various states around the country. At work, these officials were confronted on a daily basis with the inability of an already overworked Department of Veterans Affairs to adequately deal with the considerable increase of disabled and at-risk veterans coming home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They created DVNF with the goal of addressing the chronic gap in services for these veterans.

After several years of building its organizational capacity, DVNF hired Joseph VanFonda (USMC SgtMaj Ret.) in late 2013 upon his retirement from a 27-year career in the United States Marine Corps. A recipient of the Purple Heart, VanFonda remained in the Marines after being injured in combat. His final assignment in the Marine Corps was serving as the Regimental Sergeant Major for the Wounded Warrior Regiment, responsible for the coordination of non-medical care for combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines.

Taking the reins at DVNF, VanFonda recognized the needs of veterans who weren’t yet categorized as disabled, but were still dealing with the psychological and emotional impacts of personal and family situations, which put them in a highly “at-risk” category. DVNF began to focus its efforts to meet the needs of veterans in this broad category through targeted programs and collaboration with other organizations in communities throughout the country.

Today, DVNF continues to grow in the services it provides veterans, and has added new key staff members with a wide range of experience, many of whom served in the military.

We come to work each day knowing that we will make a difference in a veteran’s life; a great responsibility that we don’t take lightly.

DVNF Leadership

Board of Directors

Benny Bachand

President

 Barry Walter

Vice President

Joshua Johnson

Secretary

Denise Perry

Treasurer

Marla Brunell

Member

Lionel Harris

Member

Tashawnya (Tish) McCullough

Member

Steven Weyher

Member

Anna Saez

Member

Scott Carson

Member

Elizabeth Roman Jones

Member

DVNF Leadership

Joseph E. VanFonda (USMC SgtMaj Ret.), Chief Executive Officer

Joseph VanFonda served in the United States Marine Corps for more than 27 years. He retired out of Quantico, VA in 2013 as the Regimental Sergeant Major for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. In this role, he was responsible for the coordination of non-medical care for combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines, as well as Sailors attached to or in direct support of Marine units and their family members in order to assist them as they returned to duty or transition to the veteran status. Read his full bio here.

Delese Harvey, Deputy Director

Delese Harvey is currently serving as the Deputy Director, bringing more than 15 years of experience working with at-risk individuals on boosting economic security. Ms. Harvey graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor of Arts. Read her full bio here.

Kevin Stafford, Chief Financial Officer

Kevin Stafford was brought in to serve as DVNF’s first CFO. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, he has over 25 years of experience in financial leadership and accounting. Read his full bio here.

John Paruch, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations

John joined DVNF in November of 2015 as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the organization. As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, John brings more than 25 years of in-depth experience to the organization. Read his full bio here.

Doug Walker, Communications Director

Doug Walker serves as the Communications Director, boosting the organization’s online presence, and ensuring consistency of all messaging. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State University. Read his full bio here.

Patrick Heron, Direct Mail Director

Patrick Heron is the Direct Mail Director for DVNF. Patrick attended SUNY College at Old Westbury and Long Island University, studying Information Systems and Project Management. He has more than 14 years of education and experience in Direct Marketing, Analytics and Information System Management. Read his full bio here.

Leander Brereton, Director of Operations

Leander Brereton is the Director of Operations of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, graduated in May 2010 from Bowie State University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. Read her full bio here.

Danielle Abbassi, Development Associate

Danielle Abbassi joined DVNF in 2016 to support DVNF’s fundraising and development initiatives. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in International Studies with an intensive focus on forced migration and soon, an MPA in Nonprofit Management. Read her full bio here.