WASHINGTON, DC  – Two decades ago, Newman’s Own partnered with Fisher House Foundation and Military Times to highlight five non-profit organizations supporting military servicemembers and their families. Every year since then, the Newman’s Own® Award grants have continued to provide funding toward innovative programs created to improve the quality of life of veterans.

The 2019 Newman’s Own® Awards marks the 20th anniversary, with more than $2 million awarded across 174 non-profit programs.

As a long-time supporter of military non-profits, Newman’s Own carries on the legacy of Paul Newman, founder of Newman’s Own, who sought to help make a difference in the lives of others. Paul, a Navy veteran, served in the Pacific during World War II. Later in life, he came up with his own line of salad dressings, BBQ sauces, pizzas, salsas and much more, and decided that all the profits from Newman’s Own products would go to charities in need.

“At Newman’s Own, we are honored to carry on Paul Newman’s legacy by supporting organizations that help improve the quality of life of our military members and their families,” said Jeff Smith, VP of Operations at Newman’s Own, Inc. “Service members, veterans, and their loved ones often face unique obstacles as a result of their dedication to serving our nation. We are delighted to be able to show our appreciation and respect for their service through the Newman’s Own Awards year after year.”

“For the past twenty years Fisher House Foundation has been proud to partner with Newman’s Own and Military Times to recognize and help organizations that share our values,” said Ken Fisher, Chairman, and CEO of Fisher House Foundation. “It’s important to give these organizations visibility, and share their stories so that others can see the good things that are being done throughout the military community.”

After receiving more than 200 entries for the 2019 program, five judges evaluated each entry based on the organization’s impact to the respective communities, creativity and innovation. Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation and Military Times are proud to announce that the five winning organizations include:

Quality of Life Plus Program, Quality of Life Plus; Drive for Hope, Hope For The Warriors; Stack Up Overwatch Program (StOP), Stack Up; Service2CEO, The Rosie Network; and the Military Family Wellness Center, Columbia University, Irving Medical Center (Organization information below).

The leading 2019 Newman’s Own Award-winning organization will receive a $50,000 grant, with the remaining top organizations receiving $37,500.  All winners will be honored at a private ceremony held at the Pentagon in Washington, DC in early 2020. 

The Quality of Life Plus Program received the highest honor and a $50,000 award. Founded in 2009 and headquartered in McLean, VA, the Quality of Life Plus Program provides America’s injured patriots with individualized, functional and affordable assistive technologies to increase their mobility beyond what is provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.  They do this by supporting engineering students at 18 universities helping them develop solutions that give veterans with disabilities greater mobility and independence.

“The Quality of Life Plus (QL+) team thanks Newman’s Own and Fisher House Foundations for their generous gift,” said Charlie Kolb, Executive Director, Quality of Life Plus.  “Their commitment to assisting service members and veterans is aligned with the QL+ mission to improve the quality of life of those who have served.  We are humbled and honored to be chosen as a 2019 grant recipient from these prestigious organizations.”

About Newman’s Own®, Inc.
Newman’s Own, Inc., founded by Paul Newman in 1982, offers great-tasting, high-quality food, and beverage products for people and pets. Products include salad dressings, pasta sauces, frozen pizza, salsa, refrigerated drinks, cookies, barbecue sauce, and snacks as well as dog food, cat food, and pet treats. Newman’s Own Foundation continues Paul Newman’s commitment to using all royalties and profits that it receives from the sale of its food products for charitable purposes. Over $550 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982. For more information, visit NewmansOwn.com. 

About Military Times
The Military Times digital platforms and print products are the trusted source for independent news and information for service members and their families. The military community relies on the Army Times, Marine Corps Times, Navy Times and Air Force Times for reporting on everything important to their lives, including pay, benefits, finance, education, health care, recreational resources, retirement, promotions, product reviews, and entertainment. Military Times is published by Sightline Media Group. To learn more, visit www.militarytimes.com.

About Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of 86 comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.  These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital, they serve. Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths.  Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room, and an inviting living room.  Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee.  Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation. www.fisherhouse.org

Winning Entries

Quality of Life Plus (QL+)

Quality of Life Plus Program, McLean, VA

The Quality of Life Plus Program provides America’s injured patriots with individualized, functional and affordable assistive technologies to increase their mobility beyond what is provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. They do this by supporting engineering students at 18 universities helping them develop solutions that give veterans with disabilities greater mobility and independence.  These quality of life improvements are provided at no cost to the veteran. QL+ recruits veterans, identifies challenges that can be addressed by students as a senior design project, and together with faculty advisors, monitors the projects to completion. For more information, contact Charlie Kolb (Charlie.kolb@qlplus.org) or visit www.qlplus.org.

Hope For The Warriors

Drive for Hope, Springfield, VA

In collaboration with the Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence, the Drive for Hope program supports comprehensive driving rehabilitation services designed to help service members and veterans regain the independence that was lost as a result of injury or illness. From working with medical providers to behind-the-wheel training in adaptive vehicles, Drive for Hope will be there every step of the way.  It is the only non-profit in the Nation to offer and fund a comprehensive driver rehabilitation program. All services will be offered at no cost to the participants. A significant gap in services exist within the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs related to driver’s rehabilitation and access to related services. The magic of this program is that all aspects – rehabilitation and vehicle modification – exist in one location.   For more information, contact Natalie Kanellopoulos (nkanellopoulos@hopeforthewarriors.org) or visit www.hopeforthewarriors.org. 

Stack Up

Stack Up Overwatch Program (StOP), Sylmar, CA

The Stack Up Overwatch Program (StOP) is an innovative suicide prevention and crisis intervention initiative that uses online gaming to connect veterans with trained, certified StOP members via Stack Up’s Discord channel—a popular tool that allows online gamers to communicate in real time. StOP members provide immediate mental health intervention and assistance, with the goal to de-escalate the crisis and provide referrals to resources within the veteran’s local community. While previous generations of veterans found support and camaraderie by gathering in person, post-9/11 veterans have developed online communities that include online gaming as a source of community and trauma relief. Discord is a powerful digital tool for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. StOP is at the forefront of the mental health wellness trend, providing support and referrals to veterans who need it, when they need it, even if it’s just someone to talk to or game with.  For more information, contact Mat Bergendahl (mat.b@stack-up.org) or visit www.stackup.org.

The Rosie Network

Service2CEO, Ramona, CA 

The Service2CEO initiative is a 12-month individualized entrepreneurship and financial literacy training program for military spouses, veterans and transitioning service members housed in a shared office environment in the Military Entrepreneur Development Center (MEDC) in San Diego and Rosie Chapters across the US. Participants choose one of two tracks – launch or grow, with the opportunity to choose an

accelerator track based on their business model and position for growth. Many military entrepreneurial programs focus on specialty areas such as high tech, or only for eligible veterans, the Rosie Network was the first to offer entrepreneurial programs specifically geared towards military spouses and continue to have more than 60% spouses as Service2CEO members. What sets them apart is their inclusivity of clients — all branches of service, all sizes/industries of business, any military spouse, veteran or transitioning service member looking to launch or grow a business.  For more information, contact Leona Sublett (lsublett@therosienetwork.org) or visit www.therosienetwork.org. 

Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Military Family Wellness Center (MFWC), New York, NY 

Military caregivers and spouses are more likely than civilians to experience mental health problems such as depression. The MFWC provides mental health assessment and treatment to those who do not qualify for, do not benefit from, or feel reluctant to use traditional providers. Roughly 25% of the Center’s patients are adult family members of veterans including spouses, adult children, and others.

The MFWC is distinguished for its ease of access, cost-free services, minimal bureaucracy, confidentiality, and wide range of high-quality treatment options. Another unique attribute, they offer tele-mental health services, making mental health care accessible to patients who are unable to come to in-person appointments.  For more information, contact Takeisha Hall-Ruff (th2187@columbia.edu) or visit https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu.

Judges for the 2019 competition were:

  • Mrs. Ellyn Dunford, Spouse of General Joseph Dunford, USMC
  • Mrs. Tammy Fisher,  Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
  • Mrs. Lynne Pace, Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
  • Mrs. Suzie Schwartz, Trustee, Fisher House Foundation
  • Mr. Jeffrey Smith, Vice President of Operations, Newman’s Own
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