New Jersey’s largest veterans organization has been named the top winner of the 2020 Newman’s Own Awards for its efforts to assist veterans in their Veterans Center for Job Training and Entrepreneurship in Newark.
As the top prize winner, GI Go Fund received a $50,000 grant. The award has special significance to the group, which was founded thanks in large part to the Fisher House and the Fisher family.
"Our organization began in honor of our childhood friend Lt Seth Dvorin, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004,” explained GI Go Fund CEO Jack Fanous. “We were unsure how to honor him until we saw a Fisher House fundraiser. It was there that we saw the needs that veterans face nationwide, and the kind of impact a group of civilians can have on the lives of our brave men and women in uniform.”
Since its founding in 2005, GI Go Fund has worked diligently to build on the example set by Fisher House, he said. These efforts culminated with the launch of the Veterans Center for Job Training and Entrepreneurship in December of 2018.
“We’re providing space for veterans who want to start their own businesses,” said Fanous.
The space provides veterans in the New York/New Jersey region with live and online course material specifically designed to build their career skills. along with resume building and job matching support.
The center also features the first and only Veteran Incubator space in New Jersey to provide entrepreneurs with a professional work setting and a number of services such as legal support, website development, and marketing materials to help grow their businesses.
“One of the things we want to make sure we’re doing is bringing innovation to veterans,” added Fanous.
Fisher House Foundation, Military Times, and Newman’s Own presented awards to GI Go Fund and five other nonprofits during a ceremony earlier this month.
“These were programs that were making a difference but didn’t have all the capital resources they needed," said Ken Fisher, chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation. “So, for us, it became a way to partner with grassroots organizations and smaller organizations.”
The group will use the proceeds from the Newman’s Own award to expand the center’s reach by developing new training materials and adding new businesses into its incubator space, as well as creating additional platforms for other communities to hire veterans for their COVID-19 response and recovery.