Celebrating National Giving Month: How Three Organizations Helped Support Student Veterans in 2023

Over the past year, we served more than 370 veterans through 25 academic boot camps and five College Success Workshops. We hosted WSP’s Second Annual Alumni Conference at Princeton University, which featured educational content to help students grow professionally. The University of Notre Dame held its first all-women Humanities and STEM program, joining Yale University in offering programming specifically for women veterans. Beyond the classroom, 18 WSP alumni recently became Diana Davis Spencer Foundation (DDS) Scholars and will receive graduate school mentorship (learn more about this program further down). Our central team keeps growing, and with it, our capacity to provide more tailored resources to enlisted veterans.  

Participants of our programs often find it incredible, even suspicious, that we can provide such transformational programming free of charge. As a nonprofit organization, it would be an understatement to say that external supporters of Warrior-Scholar Project make it all possible. More than funding, our supporters allow us to innovate our programs and offer more life-changing resources to student veterans from all backgrounds, guidance that extends long after they’ve completed a boot camp.

We are incredibly grateful to our partners and supporters who invest in our mission. December is National Giving Month, and as 2023 draws to a close and we turn toward the future, now is the perfect time to pause and reflect on some of the transformational gifts we received over the last year.

Uplifting the Next Generation of Veterans

Earlier this year, we hosted a celebration event in Chicago to commemorate the milestone lifetime achievement of serving more than 2,000 student veterans, which was supported in part by the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Foundation. An Army veteran, Allen Lynch received the Medal of Honor in 1970 for his actions in the Vietnam War. 

During his opening remarks at the celebration event, WSP CEO Ryan Pavel shared his admiration for Lynch. He said, “He [Lynch] turned this event that he had into meaningful impact that has extended benefits to countless veterans throughout their lives. He’s genuinely one of the most inspirational people I know because he sets the example for all enlisted veterans about what we can accomplish in this life when we put our minds to it.” 

Since then, the foundation has deepened its relationship with WSP by providing general operating support for 2023 and sponsoring our 3rd Annual “Fuel Your Future” Alumni Conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in July 2024, where Lynch will also be a speaker. Lynch’s passion for investing in the generations of veterans that came after him aligns seamlessly with WSP’s mission, and he’s often remarked that he and others would’ve benefited greatly from our work had programs like WSP existed when he separated from the service. 

Local Business Supports National Cause

Beginning in 2020 and continuing until its acquisition earlier this year, Priority Toyota Springfield in Virginia has been a resolute partner of WSP, providing consistent generosity that supported WSP’s academic boot camps during the uncertain times of the last three years. Their steadfast support helped us transition our high-quality programming to a virtual model during the pandemic and invigorate our programs when in-person boot camps returned. 

“This was a beyond-incredible program. Money simply can’t buy the experience and the opportunity I was given this week,” said David Army, speaking of the 2023 WSP-Georgetown University academic boot camp he attended. “The professors who taught our classes were and are world-class. I am not the same person or scholar I was at the beginning of the week.” 

Like Army, WSP alumni resoundingly echo that the program was pivotal in their pursuit of higher education. Priority Toyota Springfield has repeatedly demonstrated the direct impact that businesses can have on the military communities they serve, both locally and nationwide. As consistent and generous donors who became invested in the work WSP does, their unwavering support significantly contributed to the success and growth of our programs.

Mentorship Beyond the Classroom

Earning a bachelor’s degree and gaining acceptance into graduate school is an exciting new chapter for student veterans, but it can also be an overwhelming process to navigate. But thanks to the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, a supporter of WSP for nearly a decade, our alumni can receive expanded support as they embark on this new endeavor via our DDS Scholars program. 

DDS Scholars work with designated mentors to receive one-on-one support based on their unique needs and establish goals and academic pathways. Scholars also have access to mentoring sessions; receive guidance when applying for funding, fellowships, and internships; and have career shadowing opportunities. 

“The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation has been a transformative WSP supporter for many years. We are deeply grateful for this most recent investment, which allows us to stand up bespoke graduate school support for talented student veterans. We need many, many more enlisted veterans in top graduate school programs in all disciplines throughout the country. These inaugural cohorts are just the beginning,” said Ryan Pavel when the initiative was first announced. 

The DDS Scholars program is now in its third year, and the success stories speak for themselves: 38 WSP alumni have completed the program, and 18 alumni recently joined a fresh cohort for the 2023-2024 academic year. 

Forged In Service, Fueled By Education

Warrior-Scholar Project is proud to help enlisted veterans succeed in higher education and beyond, but we couldn’t do it without the generosity of our supporters. More than just financial contributions, organizations like the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation, Priority Toyota Springfield, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation embody our motto of being “Forged in Service, Fueled by Education” and demonstrate that there’s more than one way to make a difference. 

As we reflect on the programming successes of 2023, we express deep gratitude to all of our donors and partners who’ve helped us thrive in our mission for more than a decade. Want to help WSP support more enlisted veterans in 2024 and beyond? Donate to our mission today or discover other ways to get involved.


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