The Veterans Breakfast Club works to build a nation that understands and values the experience of military veterans. The mission is to create communities of listening to ensure that this living history is never forgotten.
In the fall of 2008, thirty World War II veterans met at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. As the veterans shared their stories and experiences, one of the organizers of the meeting, historian Todd DePastino, realized that the event should happen again, and be open to the public. A second meeting was held, then another, and soon, Veterans Breakfast Club was founded as a nonprofit dedicated to hosting storytelling events for veterans of all eras and branches of service. In the years since its founding, Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) grew to include over 7,500 attendees in 39 locations throughout the United States.
The COVID-19 pandemic happened and in-person events weren’t possible for the organization. DePastino and VBC pivoted to offering online, virtual community events to continue their programming throughout the pandemic. Each week, the organization hosted specialized events focusing on different groups of veterans, ranging from those who served after September 11, 2001, to military dog handlers.
“The VBC offers a one-of-a-kind community that brings together veterans, their families, and civilians to share, celebrate, and preserve veterans’ stories,” explained Depastino.
In addition to moving their storytelling events online, Veterans Breakfast Club has introduced a podcast called The Scuttlebutt, which helps listeners understand military culture and shares more veterans’ experiences.
The organization isn’t done growing and changing yet–in mid-2021, DePastino and Board President, Mike Cherock introduced Boardable to the VBC board, which has allowed it to expand the reach and profile of the board.
Boardable gave the Veterans Breakfast Club the ability to communicate virtually and expand its reach by bringing in volunteers from all across the country. The software streamlined organization and allowed individuals to meet on a completely different level.
Before Boardable, our board members were all local. Now, we’re able to recruit talented volunteers from across the country. For a small nonprofit like ours with national ambitions, this shift has been a critical part of our strategy for growing our organization and expanding our missions’ reach.
– Todd Depastino, Executive Director of Veterans Breakfast Club
As the organization’s reach expands and allows more veterans’ stories to be told virtual (and hopefully, in-person), DePastino’s work as executive director will be even more streamlined thanks to implementing Boardable. Today Boardable has allowed Veterans Breakfast Club to not only share all media including reports and agendas but hold their meetings with ease where everyone is on the same page.
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