Backstory: Black Ops Speed
How about 11 days from idea, to full funding, to housing our first veteran family.
Veterans Matter was conceived by Ken Leslie, a formerly homeless addict/alcoholic and founder of 1Matters. After getting clean in 1990 he founded a small modestly successful retained search firm, became a long time advocate for the unhoused, and created and self-funded several new programs in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, including the founding funding for the local continuum of care governing body. Because he had been there he knows even 1 more night on the streets is 1 too many.
So with single focus Veterans Matter was conceived 2/6/12 after Ken asked Shawn Dowling, local VASH program manager, why more ready veterans weren’t in VASH housing? She said, “The deposit, an average of $700.” That night he created the Veterans Matter pilot. Next morning he called Barb Petee, an executive at Promedica Health System about getting funding from the Toledo Community Foundation’s Promedica Advocacy Fund, asked her to also waive the normal 3 month foundation vetting process and fund the pilot program with $26,000 at Black Ops Speed. 7 DAYS later, on Valentine’s Day at 5.36 pm, Barb called Ken with full funding. Three days later, we housed our first waiting veteran family out of the family shelter. 11 days from idea to funding to execution. That’s Black Ops, Baby! Since then the growth of Veterans Matter has been well documented in the local press.