Local Foundation Recognized by White House Joining Forces Community Challenge
The Our Family for Families First (The Foundation), was recognized today by the White House’s Joining Forces Community Challenge as a Top 20 Finalist and the People’s Choice Award Winner. The Challenge was a call to action launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to “recognize citizens and organizations with a demonstrated, genuine, and deep desire to be of service to military families.” The committee received more than 300 submissions.
From January 24th to March 16th, The Foundation received nearly 17,000 votes from across the country and the world to make it the People’s Choice Award Winner.
“The scholarship kids took it on themselves to make sure we were the People’s Choice winner,” said John Picerne, Foundation Founder and CEO of Picerne Military Housing. “I loved seeing their efforts on Facebook and Twitter—they were seriously engaged. We are thrilled that First Lady Obama and Dr. Biden have brought this issue to the forefront of people’s minds and have engaged our nation in this important cause.”
John Picerne and Foundation Executive Director, Maria A. Montalvo, have been invited to attend a recognition ceremony at the White House on April 11, 2012.
When John G. Picerne established Picerne Military Housing more than ten years ago, he wanted to give back to the military families that sacrifice every day to serve their country. He decided that the mission of The Foundation would be to provide educational opportunities for the children and spouses of active-duty Service Members who have the desire to pursue their dreams. Today, his educational Foundation, established in 2006, has donated more than $3 million to provide $50,000 college scholarships and $5,000 educational grants for the children and spouses of active-duty Service Members, and his company serves 24,000 military families across the country. The Foundation also supports volunteer and outreach programs in military communities across the country.
Some of the highlights of the social media campaign included:
• Sandy, future neuroscientist – “Our Family for Families First Foundation, a military scholarship organization that not only helps Soldiers and their families financially, but also offers endless support and encouragement to succeed. They are 1 of 20 organizations nominated for the People’s Choice Award Winner!!!!!!!!! PLEASE put in a vote at this web address so this amazing organization can get the recognition it deserves!!”
• Doug, future business leader – “Everyone get on and vote please!!! Without these people I would’ve never made it through college. They are one of the greatest things to happen to military families everywhere!! Spread the word!”
• Katie, future chemist – “Hey Everybody, voting is still going on, and while the Foundation is in the lead another group is closing in. Please take the time to vote. This group is really important to me and to my education!”
Army CSM Jason Runnels’ daughter Brandi, one of the first scholarship recipients in 2006 who is becoming a doctor, is one of the students who is benefiting from The Foundation. To urge people to vote for the Foundation she frequently posted to her Facebook page in support of The Foundation including posting, “If you have some time please vote for these wonderful people. Without them I would not be where I am today in my educational goals!” She has a lot to be proud of, and she credits the Foundation for helping her to graduate from Louisiana State University in 2011 and to begin pursuing a Master of Science in Biology-Medical Sciences at Mississippi College. She plans to attend the Uniformed Medical Services School to become a doctor and an Officer.
“The Joining Forces Challenge is doing so much to let military families know that Americans are always thinking about them and recognize the great sacrifices their families have made in service to our country,” said Maria Montalvo, Executive Director, Our Family for Families First Foundation. “It is an honor to be recognized by the White House amongst such a quality group of organizations that are doing great work to improve the lives of military families.”
As a family, the scholarship and grant recipients work led the effort to get out the vote to help the Our Family for Families First Foundation to win the People’s Choice Award.
For any specific questions or to request interviews, please contact Melissa Ballou, Programs Director, at Our Family for Families First Foundation, 401-228-2836.