The Hawaii Chapter of U.S. Vets has received a $1 million donation, the largest gift ever given to the nonprofit that assists veterans and their families with housing, counseling and career support.
The MacNaughton Group, a Hawaii-based real estate investment and development firm, launched the MacNaughton Group Foundation at a news conference Monday at the U.S. Vets housing complex at Barbers Point, where it announced its inaugural grant.
The donation is aimed at supporting the nonprofit’s mission to end homelessness for military veterans as well as honoring the memory of Alan Kidwell, a Vietnam War veteran who was a childhood friend of and later business adviser to Duncan MacNaughton, founder of the MacNaughton Group.
The foundation’s gift, to be released over five years, will go to programs that help veterans find permanent housing, initiatives that allow vets to stay in housing for longer periods and for other support services.
The money will also be used to help renovate and rebuild the temporary recreational area of U.S. Vets’ Barbers Point location. In the design stage, the project will likely give the existing deck a new trellis, rebuild the recreation room and add plenty of landscaping. It will also be renamed in Kidwell’s honor.
Home Depot will donate all the materials for the renovation.
“Obviously, this is a great day,” said Darryl Vincent, chief operating officer of U.S. Vets. “To tell you we’re humbled and appreciative of this great donation would just be an understatement. There’s no way we can speak to how the MacNaughton Group Foundation is investing in the community, and they’re leading by the power of their example.”
Other areas the donation will fund include providing additional case management, property management and facility maintenance, and startup costs to assist veterans moving into housing, Vincent said.
“Through this contribution, we’ll be able to get that much closer to make sure every veteran doesn’t suffer the indignity of sleeping on the same streets that he or she was asked to defend,” he said.
The MacNaughton Group Foundation plans to support a range of charitable projects addressing various issues, including homelessness, education, health, arts and culture, and the environment, said Jeff Arce, senior adviser to the MacNaughton Group and president of the foundation.
“This donation to U.S. Vets is our major kickoff grant, and it’s reflective of the importance of the great mission and great work they do,” Arce said. “We wanted to make a big statement, and we wanted it to go to someplace important.”
Sterling Beair, a former Army medic and veteran of the Iraq War, credited U.S. Vets with helping to get him off the streets and turning his life around.
“I believe in the program, because I’m a product of the program,” said Beair, who is now earning his master’s degree. “I wouldn’t be standing here today, if it wasn’t for the Vets.”
The nation’s largest nonprofit provider of services to homeless and at-risk veterans, U.S. Vets works to help military veterans and their families transition into civilian life through housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support.
The U.S. Vets Barbers Point facility at Kalaeloa provides long-term affordable housing for nearly 1,000 veterans.