Innovative DC-based startup committed to empowering combat-wounded veterans
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (Coalition), a leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely wounded veterans of the War on Terror, today announced that it has awarded a $5,400 grant to help fund an innovative venture that will hire and train U.S. veterans and their spouses.
Dog Tag Bakery, founded by Father Richard Curry and based on his firm belief that every person should be empowered to successfully pursue meaningful employment and achieve self-reliance, is scheduled to open for business in February 2014. The bakery is a not-for-profit venture dedicated to helping wounded veterans re-assimilate to civilian life by providing on-the-job bakery training and a tailor-made curriculum at the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University.
The grant from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes has been earmarked to provide 12 weeks of education and training for the first wounded veteran hired to work at Dog Tag Bakery.
“We are so grateful to the Coalition for being the first veteran-focused organization to step up in support of our program,” said Father Curry, currently a professor of Catholic Studies at Georgetown. “We’re committed to putting wounded warriors and their spouses back to work and providing the training they need to have successful civilian careers. That the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes is joining with us at the ground floor level is both a testament to their visionary leadership and to the powerful program we have put in place.”
Each year, Dog Tag Bakery will hire a cohort of wounded warriors and their spouses that will operate the bakery during the day while attending the School of Continuing Studies at Georgetown University after hours. Skills ranging from baking to sales to business management will be learned at the business, while entrepreneurship and other career-based studies are offered at the university.
“Father Curry’s vision for his groundbreaking program is truly inspired, and we couldn’t be more proud to throw our support behind it,” said David Walker, President & CEO of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes. “We believe Dog Tag Bakery will become a model for hiring and training our nation’s combat wounded that will be replicated from coast-to-coast and in a wide cross-section of industries and educational institutions.”
Dog Tag Bakery is located in the heart of Georgetown, near the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. The 4,200-square-foot building will provide a retail location for the bakery and café along with a production/baking area, training and meeting room and office space from which the venture will be managed.
Walker indicated that the Coalition’s grant will likely be the first of many awarded to the venture. “We fully expect that other organizations will follow our lead and support Dog Tag Bakery, and that the Coalition will provide additional funding down the road as the enterprise thrives and wounded veterans report back on their positive experiences in the program.”
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, based in Leesburg, VA, has provided an invaluable lifeline to thousands of America’s wounded veterans since its establishment in 2004. The Coalition is distinguished from other veteran-focused organizations by its direct financial assistance to America’s wounded heroes. Its Emergency Financial Aid program has stopped foreclosure proceedings on veterans’ homes and kept their vehicles from being repossessed. The organization regularly provides gift checks to cover meals, medical and utility bills, clothing, car repairs and even baby diapers.
For more information on the Coalition, and to learn how you can support its mission, visit www.saluteheroes.org.
Founded by Father Richard Curry, S.J., Ph.D., Dog Tag Bakery’s mission is to create a bold new model for transition assistance and job training for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with service-connected disabilities. The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization is dedicated to helping veterans and their spouses successfully re-assimilate to civilian life with meaningful job and educational opportunities. Father Curry’s vision began more than 35 years ago when he founded the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped (NTWH) in 1977. For more information, visit www.dogtagbakery.org.