Ron Greenwood: Gold Coast Veterans Foundation Continues Its Quest to Help Ventura County’s Military
My wife, Lisa, and I recently celebrated our 30th anniversary of service to veterans.
As business and tax attorneys in San Francisco in 1989, we started providing pro-bono legal services to a fledgling movement to dedicate a small percentage of government contracts to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans who had bravely served our country.
We never dreamed how far this road would take us and how many veterans we would help along the way.
We started our service helping the state of California fully integrate the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification into all aspects of state government. From there, we spent the next decade lobbying the federal government to enact similar legislation, culminating in a 1999 bill that dedicated 3 percent of government contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. Over the years, this legislation has resulted in billions of dollars in business for service-disabled veteran business owners.
Lisa and I co-founded the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation in 2006 to provide an array of services to Ventura County veterans and beyond. In the early years, we ran the nonprofit out of a spare office in our Ventura-based business. We opened our “Veterans Connection” in Camarillo in 2012.
One of the greatest achievements was the role Gold Coast played in establishing the Ventura County Veterans Court. We would like to thank Judge Colleen Toy White, District Attorney Greg Totten and everyone at the Superior Court who was involved in the establishment of this important service for veterans.
Veterans in Ventura County are now given a second chance to be rehabilitated rather than incarcerated. Our graduation rate is currently 97 percent. We owe our veterans everything, most especially a second chance at being reintegrated into civilian life. The Ventura County Veterans Court has become the “Gold Standard” for all veterans courts in California.
In addition, we are also extremely proud of our homeless outreach program. This program has had a major impact in helping formerly homeless veterans who hold Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers find housing.
Two of our board members have been instrumental in getting more than 25 formerly homeless veterans housed in the past three years. If you are a landlord or a property manager who accepts the Department of Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers, contact Gold Coast at 805-482-6550. No veteran should ever be allowed to be homeless in our community.
Lisa and I will both be stepping off the Gold Coast board later this month. We feel it’s the right time to make a transition and look forward to the next chapter of our lives. The Gold Coast Veterans Foundation was first an idea, then a commitment and now a flourishing foundation serving veterans.
We have assisted more than 8,000 Ventura County veterans in just the past four years [including some of the veterans we assisted this year, pictured above]. Caring for our veterans has become a mission everyone believes in and is committed to 110 percent. The foundation takes no government funds and has been 100 percent privately funded since its inception, and we feel it has been a major achievement in our lives.
Service to veterans is even more important now than in the past. America had a draft from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. However, since Sept. 11, 2001, only 1 percent of Americans have served in the military in our two longest wars. Our current generation of veterans has been asked by our country to do more than any previous generation. Today it is more important than ever that we all keep this in mind and help support veterans in 2019. We owe them every opportunity to have the best life possible after returning from harm’s way.
Please join us in 2019 to make this the best year ever for Ventura County veterans.
Jan. 19: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., free superhero and princess tea party open to active military and veterans at Duke’s Place, Naval Base Ventura County Port Hueneme Building 1467. Dress up as your favorite character (optional). Activities will include games, entertainment, snacks, face painting and crafts. For information, call 805-982-4284 or 805-989-7628.
Jan. 26: Big Bear Mountain trip for active military and retired veterans. Depart Duke’s Place at 4:30 a.m. and return at 9 p.m. Liberty $75, active duty/dependents $80, DoD/retired/guests $85. Cost includes transportation and a one-day lift ticket. Specially priced snowboard/boot package rentals are available at Gear Rental (Building 1362). For tickets or more information, visit Naval Base Ventura County ticket offices or call 805-982-4284 or 805-989-7628.
Jan. 26: 6-9 p.m. Steak night open to veterans at the Simi Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars post, 4242 E. Los Angeles Ave, Simi Valley. Cost is $15 for steak, potatoes, side vegetable, salad and dessert. Cocktail hour will begin at 5 p.m. Information: 805-583-9722 or vfwpost10049.org.
Ronald J. Greenwood is a Purple Heart recipient and co-founder of Gold Coast Veterans Foundation.
Source: VC Star article from January 6, 2019