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PenFed Foundation Raises Record Amount to Support Veterans, Military Members & their Families

Thursday, May 3, 2018  
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TYSONS Va., May 3, 2018 – The PenFed Foundation today announced it raised a record amount of more than $2.5 million at its 14th Annual Night of Heroes Gala. Every dollar will go toward programs that help veterans, active military members and their families secure their financial future, as PenFed Credit Union covers all expenses for the Foundation.

PenFed President and CEO James Schenck with Honorees at the 2018 Night of Heroes Gala.
Pictured left to right: Allied Solutions CEO Pete Hilger and his wife Debbie, New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, Emcee and WUSA9 Washington Investigative Reporter Andrea McCarren and her service dog in training Nigel, PenFed Credit Union President and CEO James Schenck, U.S. Army Master Sgt. (Ret.) Cedric King, and Co-Founder of Animal Rescue Foundation Tony La Russa


The more than $2.5 million includes $1.5 million from participants at last night’s gala, one honoree’s surprise donation of $500,000, and a matching donation of $500,000. Allied Solutions CEO Pete Hilger and his wife Debbie announced the surprise donation on behalf of Allied Solutions as they were honored with the Corporate Hero Award. PenFed Credit Union announced it would match this donation with an additional $500,000 for a combined donation of $1 million to the PenFed Foundation’s newly launched Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP). 
Held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C., the gala had nearly 600 attendees and included a unique gathering of remarkable guests and honorees who have made significant contributions supporting the brave men and women of the United States armed forces. Featured onstage were sports legends, generous philanthropists, canine companions, and a wounded warrior who has overcome two amputations and today helps countless other veterans in their recoveries. The evening showcased many ways the PenFed Foundation helps military members and their families find independence physically, emotionally and financially.

Separately, this morning, the PenFed Foundation announced the first investment of proceeds from the gala: three grants totaling $150,000 for three organizations that train service dogs for veterans: the Animal Rescue Foundation, Canine Companions for Independence, and Leashes of Valor.  


PenFed presents Leashes of Valor with a surprise $50,000 donation.
Pictured left to right: Bruce Kasold, Acting President and COO of the PenFed Foundation, Matt Masingill, Canine Operations and Founder, Danique Masingill, President and Founder, and Jason Haag, CEO and Founder, of Leashes of Valor, Lisa Jennings, Senior Executive Vice President, PenFed Credit Union, PenFed Credit Union President and CEO James Schenck, and PenFed Foundation Chair The Honorable Frederick Y. Pang


“Right now, there are tens of thousands of men and women who have volunteered to serve our nation to protect the freedoms that make America the greatest country the world has ever known,” said Mr. Schenck. “Every year, we honor outstanding Americans who have come forward to help our nation’s defenders. Tonight’s roster of honorees continues to shine the light on the generosity and patriotism of some very special heroes.”
“Since it was started 17 years ago, the PenFed Foundation has provided more than $30 million of financial support to veterans, active duty military members and their families,” added Bruce Kasold, Acting President and COO of the PenFed Foundation. “The PenFed Foundation helps military heroes and their families purchase a first home, weather financial setbacks, build credit, and avoid predatory lenders.”
During the evening event, awards were presented to several honorees in recognition of their contributions to members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. Tony La Russa, National Baseball Hall of Famer and co-founder of Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) and its flagship program Pets and Vets, received the Community Honoree award for his service to military families by providing service dogs to veterans. Since 2011, the Pets and Vets program has trained over 600 rescue dogs to provide emotional support to veterans readjusting to civilian life.
“There is nothing small you can do for veterans – the smallest thing you think you’re doing is more than they expect,” said Mr. La Russa. “I’ve been a part of a lot of teams. Tonight the MVP is PenFed.”
Pete and Debbie Hilger received the Corporate Hero Award for their extraordinary contributions to the PenFed Foundation. Over the years, Allied and its employees have donated and helped to raise more than $3.5 million for the PenFed Foundation.
“Allied Solutions has been proud to support the PenFed Foundation since we attended the very first Night of Heroes Gala in 2005,” said Mr. Hilger. “Since then, we have seen the impact this wonderful organization has had improving the lives of thousands of veterans, their families and caregivers. Through its new Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program, the PenFed Foundation will provide the funds veterans need to start their own businesses and the network of support to succeed. We can’t think of a better way to expand our support of our nation’s defenders than through this program.”
U.S. Army Master Sgt. (Ret.) Cedric King was recognized as the Military Honoree for his distinguished service in Operation Enduring Freedom and his efforts to inspire other veterans after returning home as a double amputee.
“What would you pay for your freedom? There are so many places in the world where money cannot buy you freedom. I’ll say this, maybe every place in the world, money does not buy you freedom. But, sacrifice does, and this is what PenFed does for veterans,” said Master Sgt. King.
Andrea McCarren, investigative reporter for Washington’s WUSA9, served as Master of Ceremonies. McCarren, whose work has garnered 21 Emmy Awards, was joined by her service dog in training, Nigel.  She spoke about the vital role dogs play in assisting our nation’s veterans and military members.
Click here to download B-roll footage of the event.

About the PenFed Foundation
Founded in 2001, the PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization committed to helping members of our military community secure their financial future. It provides service members, veterans, their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to improve their lives through programs on financial education, credit-building, home ownership, and short-term assistance. Affiliated with PenFed Credit Union, the Foundation has the resources to effectively reach military communities across the nation, build strong partnerships, and engage a dedicated corps of volunteers in its mission. The credit union funds the Foundation’s personnel and most operational costs, demonstrating its strong commitment to the programs the Foundation provides. To learn more, visit
About PenFed Credit Union
Established in 1935 as the War Department Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is America’s second-largest federal credit union, serving over 1.6 million members worldwide with more than $23 billion in assets. Our long-standing mission has been to provide superior financial services in a cost-effective manner, while being responsive to members’ needs. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading mortgages, automobile loans, credit cards, student loans, checking, certificates, and a wide range of other financial services with members’ interests always in mind.  PenFed Credit Union serves a diverse population, and no military service is required to join.  PenFed Credit Union offers many paths to membership, including numerous employee groups and association affiliations. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an equal housing lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on Twitter. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

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