Veteran’s Passport to Hope (VP2H) is a Veteran Friendly 501(c)3 founded in 2012.
VP2H’s mission consists of three main focus areas: Awareness, Fund Raising, and Cooperation.
AWARENESS: VP2H’s Primary mission is to raise awareness within the Colorado area about the issues Veterans face: Multiple tours in combat zones, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), high unemployment rate, high homelessness rate, high divorce rate, and a record high suicide rate. As the military mission winds down in Iraq and Afghanistan and veterans reintegrate themselves into civilian society, we believe that this awareness will foster an understanding of their efforts and compassion for their struggle.
FUND-RAISING: VP2H’s secondary mission is to raise money for Veteran friendly non-profits. Through due diligence and research, we organize fund raising events which support local, Veteran friendly non-profits. We only support high quality charities that maximize their accountability to veteran’s causes and are transparent in their fund raising and giving practices.
COOPERATION: VP2H’s tertiary mission is to act as a rallying point for other veteran friendly non-profits. Our goal is to organize and conduct meetings with the leadership teams of these groups within the Colorado area with the goal of finding ways for us to work together more efficiently. We believe that by working together and by sharing ideas, we can reduce competition between non-profit groups and more efficiently and more effectively help veterans. We also consolidate information about resources that are available at no charge to veterans and families by keeping our veteran’s resource website (www.veteransresourceportal.com) up to date and relevant. The Veteran’s Resource Portal is a list of resources utilized as an online resource center where veterans and their families can search for and rate available resources.
Veteran’s Passport to Hope Founding Officers:
Ron Ainslie, Executive Director
Ron is a former Captain in the United States Marine Corp and served with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines as the heavy machine gun/tow missile platoon commander during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Ron received the Navy Commendation medal during this period for the capture of over 2000 Iraqi soldier during the push to Kuwait. After the military, Ron worked as the director of Perfection Fabrication designing and manufacturing transportation systems for the baking and automotive industry in Michigan. Following this period he became an officer with the Michigan State Police. As a detective sergeant, Ron served as a laboratory analyst providing expert testimony to the courts in homicide cases. Subsequently, Ron investigated serious crimes in Flint Michigan. Most recently, Mr. Ainslie relocated to Colorado and serves in his current position as Executive Director for Veterans Passport to Hope.
Dave Fingers, Board President
Dave Fingers is the President of Altitude Business Group. Altitude Business Group provides online marketing solutions for local businesses. Dave is an Army Veteran with 10 ½ years active duty. His military career included a tour supporting the 5th SFG & 10th SFG. Additionally, Dave was assigned to the 8th ID 4th Aviation Brigade in Wiesbaden, Germany and spent time as an Army Recruiter in Kansas City. Dave left the Army with an Honorable Discharge as a Staff Sergeant. After the military, Dave started his sales and marketing career in the IT consulting industry where he helped lead a company from $4 million in annual revenues to $30 million in annual revenues in just over four years exclusively through organic growth.
Shane Schmutz, Founder and Board Member
Shane R. Schmutz is the founder and Executive Director of Veteran’s Passport to Hope. Prior to assuming the Executive Director role with VP2H, he was a Financial Advisor with Bernstein Global Wealth Management in their Denver office. He worked closely with high-net-worth individuals and families to help them achieve their financial goals, tailoring plans that addressed lifetime spending, multigenerational wealth transfer and philanthropic objectives. Before he joined Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Schmutz was a bariatric account manager for Ethicon Endo-Surgery (a Johnson & Johnson company), where he was responsible for operating room bariatric sales and training in northern New Jersey and Manhattan. Before that he was a Captain in the United States Army; a Blackhawk pilot, and he served three combat tours in Iraq. Schmutz holds a BS in American legal systems from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He earned the Johnson & Johnson Forecast Achievement Award in 2009 and 2010, as well as the firm’s Black Onyx Club Award and Peer Leadership Award in 2011. Schmutz received the US Army’s Bronze Star. He is the founder and executive director of Veteran’s Passport To Hope, is a board member of Project Sanctuary and is a supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and Cancer League of Colorado.
Paul Schnell, Board Member, Secretary
Paul Schnell is a retired US Air Force Major. Paul started his AF career as an enlisted man, pursued and achieved his BS in Computer Science and subsequently entered Officer Training School. As an officer, Paul led teams in all manner of IT and Telecommunications efforts from networking through software development and wireless communications through video teleconferencing. Since leaving the military, Paul graduated with honors obtaining his MBA with a Minor in Project Management from Keller Graduate School of Management (DeVry University). After graduation, he pursued work in the IT field as a contractor to Microsoft and as a Government Contractor (EXN Engineering) and helped private individuals and small businesses through his consulting business, Walkin2Axum. In addition, Paul worked part-time for REI Denver and Roggen Telephone and volunteered for Colorado Technology Association’s C-Level networking events and the Healing Warriors Program. Paul is recently employed by LINX as a Project Foreman in the multimedia division.
Timothy Kitt , Board Member
Tim Kitt is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel with over 23 years leadership and management experience with assignments in the US, Germany, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. He has a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Science degree from Colorado State University and is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College. After completing his military service he owned printing business for 4 years. After turning it into a profitable business by increasing sales 75% over four years, he sold his business. He then was employed by Sun Microsystems Learning Services Division for over 8 years, initially as a web project manager and then as a web program manager. He is also a real estate investor with numerous rental properties in Wyoming.
Trudy Kennedy, CPA, Board Member, Treasurer
Trudy is a CPA with 12 years of experience with nonprofit organizations Her background includes 501(c)(3) applications, 990 tax filings, nonprofit accounting and management, budgeting and compliance, staff supervision, marketing and networking, board development and liaison, and strategic planning. She is a highly motivated individual who enjoys challenges, problem solving, and collaboration in the accounting and business world. Trudy brings to the table the desire to enhance the effective and efficient use of community resources and support the development of charitable projects and nonprofits in the veteran community. She currently serves as the CFO for Employer Essentials which is a professional services company offering payroll, human resource, accounting, and staffing services.
Conor Overstake, Board Member
A Colorado native, Conor Overstake joined USI (formerly Van Gilder) in 2012 as a Producer in the Commercial Lines unit. Prior to joining the Insurance Industry, Conor was an Officer and Pilot in the United States Marine Corps, where he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a Major in the USMC Reserves where he helps young Marines transition to civilian life. Professionally Conor assists organizations with developing and implementing insurance/risk management strategies aimed at finding a unique and balanced approach to risk management solutions. He predominantly consults with middle-market enterprises broadly engaged in Technology, Medtech, Biotech, and Healthcare industries. He is also involved in consulting with startup businesses in high growth industries. Conor is passionate about lending his experience in a meaningful way to help enable and empower Veterans because he believes that Veterans are one of our countries greatest resources.
Conor graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.