LeRoy Collins Commentary 192

Commentary #192
2 July 2008

State Creates Florida Veterans Foundation

I am very proud of you......

Our FDVA staff worked very hard this year to make Florida Veterans Foundation, Inc. (FVF) become a reality. And we could not have done it without you,.....and others. From the outset we asked for support from the various Veterans Service Organizations in Florida, the State Cabinet and the various committees of the Legislature; we explained this is what we wanted so the taxpayers would not bear the full expense of our department's future services to Veterans, .......and they decided that was a good idea.

Time will tell if we can realize that objective. The FVF Board Chairman, former State Comptroller Bob Milligan, is very experienced with Direct Support Organizations such as FVF; he has made it quite clear that FVF shall NOT fall into the practice where the preponderence of funds donated/earned go to administration (the target is no more than 14%). From the outset, the FVF President, Nat Turnbull, will share FDVA facilities in Tallahassee; his salary is covered by existing cash flow. He will not be receiving fringe benefits normally accorded a State employee (because his employer is FVF).

It is an austere start, but hopefully a precursor for greater FDVA services in the foreseeable future. Thanks for your steadfast support. An FVF Website equipped with a donation portal is forthcoming very soon......

/s/ LeRoy Collins, ExDir, FDVA


State Creates Florida Veterans Foundation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs is pleased to announce the inauguration of the Florida Veterans Foundation, Inc.

Established by Florida Statute on July 1, 2008, and incorporated as a tax-exempt public organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the foundation is dedicated to supporting the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs and to providing assistance and services to Florida veterans and their families.

The Florida Legislature authorized the foundation in statute during its 2008 legislative session as the Direct Support Organization of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs.

"I am grateful to Governor Crist and other members of the Cabinet, the Florida Legislature and Florida's Veteran Service Organizations for supporting this initiative," said FDVA Executive Director LeRoy Collins Jr. "This foundation will help us expand our mission of veterans' advocacy, especially with our state's returning veterans from the Global War on Terror."

The work of the foundation will be supported by a combination of entrepreneurial initiatives, agreement with participating businesses, contributions from veterans, philanthropic foundations, corporations and private citizens.

A voluntary Board of Directors, selected by the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, will meet as necessary to set and implement policies and programs. The nine-member board is composed of veterans, business owners and community leaders.

Board members are:

1. Lt. Gen. Robert Milligan, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Chairperson, Tallahassee
2. Roderick Petrey, Esq., Miami
3. Maj. Gen. Fred Raymond, U.S. Army (ret), Wesley Chapel
4. Robert Creger, D.B.A., Fort Myers
5. Lt. Col. Anthony Armbrister, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Ft. Lauderdale
6. Col. Sharon Richie-Melvan, Ph.D., U.S. Army (ret), Inverness
7. Maj. John Haynes, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), Monticello
8. Frank Ryll, Tallahassee
9. Michael Coker, Ocala

The board will have its first meeting July 9 in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs is a state agency responsible for assisting, without charge to the claimant, Florida's veterans, their families and survivors in improving their health and economic well-being through quality benefit information, advocacy, education and long-term health services. The department operates five veterans' nursing homes and one assisted living facility through the State Veterans' Homes Program. For more information on FDVA and Florida's veterans' homes, visit www.FloridaVets.org.


/s/ LeRoy Collins, Jr.


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