The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (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 to help address the chronic gap in services these veterans face.
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 and served as 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 took advantage of his experience in assisting wounded service members in their transition to civilian life. He recognized the extreme difficulty many veterans face in understanding the benefits that are available and learning the eligibility requirements and application process for benefits they have earned and deserve.
He also 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. To address these needs, he conceived and is now implementing the Veterans Benefits and Resources Navigation (BaRN) online platform, designed to help disabled and at-risk veterans navigate the Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs), while also providing additional resources that are commonly needed.
With this and other initiatives, VanFonda is building the Disabled Veterans National Foundation into a powerful force for the benefit of disabled and at-risk veterans across America.
We come to work each day knowing that we will make a difference in a veteran’s life; a great responsibility that comes with very high reward.