Statement by Bruce & Avis Richards:

November 11th, 2015 marks 96 years of celebrating our Veterans. As Americans, we owe everything to these fine men and women who risk their lives to protect our freedom and safety. While Veterans’ Day is an important day to pay tribute to those who have served our nation, the Richards family believes that all of us should consider what more we can do to honor our troops. The Veterans Education Challenge creates a valuable new avenue that Americans can use to pay-it-forward, allowing our Veterans the wonderful opportunity and encouragement to gain a college degree.

The Veterans Education Challenge is dedicated to sending United States Military veterans to college by providing them with needed scholarships that the GI Bill does not cover.  For every dollar up to $1 million raised by the general public, the Richards family will match it, with a guarantee that 100% goes toward veteran scholarships.

We know how valuable our veterans are, both in combat and in the classroom. However, these dedicated and loyal men and women must make big adjustments to enter college in hopes of developing their post-military career. Veterans make up only 4% of the undergraduate college population and the unemployment rate for Veterans is 7.2% compared to the national average of 5.2%. A majority of veterans have a spouse and/or children, so education is an added financial burden that many are hesitant to take. With America’s help, the Veterans Education Challenge will raise college enrollment and the graduation rate, which will undeniably lower unemployment, one Veteran collegiate scholar at a time.

The goal of the fund is to reinforce our veterans’ right to education and their ability to succeed in both higher education and life in general. The fund will support tuition, room and board, and other related and allowable living expenses. All veteran scholarship awards will be based on financial need with a priority and preference to Pell-eligible undergraduate and graduate students. Veterans will be eligible to renew awards based on financial need and standing with the universities.

Help us help them; because it’s not just an education, it’s their career, their future!

Visit us on online:

Twitter: @VetEdChallenge


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18 Questions: Avis Richards

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Each month we ask a new eco-maven 18 questions about his or her life, occupation, and advice for other like-minded people. This month we connected with the Founder ofBirds Nest Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on education, healthcare, human rights and environmental matters and Birds Nest Productions which produces videos for charitable organizations.

1. What is your name?

Avis Richards 

2. What is your occupation?

CEO/Founder, Birds Nest Foundation & Birds Nest Productions

3. Do you have a “green” memory growing up?

Growing up in upstate New York, my favorite memories include picking apples, grapes and pears from my family’s backyard garden. My favorite recipe was a fresh strawberry rhubarb pie that I still make today.

4. What’s your favorite meal?

Any quick and easy vegetable dish that includes fresh ingredients from my local farmers market.

5. Who/what inspires you to be more “green” in your life?

Upstate New York’s vast farmland fostered my appreciation for the “green” lifestyle. Now I serve on the board of Earth Day Network, which informs and energizes communities worldwide, Âso they will act to secure a healthy future for themselves and their children.

Additionally, observing how Birds Nest Foundation’s Ground Up Campaign impacts children through hands-on gardening reiterates the importance of living a “green” life.

6. Where on the “green scale” do you fall ?

On a scale of 1-10, I give myself an 8. I only buy organic/ eco-conscious products and foods. I also support my local farmers, recycle, drive a smart car, and ride a bicycle whenever possible. Of course, there is always room for improvement, and I hope to do just that over time.

7. What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your job?

I love helping both non-profits and companies tell their stories in a unique, innovative way, but having to limit our projects due to time and financial constraints is always disappointing.

8. Where’s your “green spot” for food, body care/beauty, oceans, home or neighborhood, explain:

My home in Southampton, located just across from the ocean. While there, I shop at farmers markets, buying only organic, in-season produce, and grass-fed, organic beef from our local butcher. I love that I have access to fresh, local fish during these summer months, too.

9. Where do you turn for your news?

I love the Huffington Post, CNN, and The New York Post.

10. What is one environmental change you vow to make in the next year?

I hope to compost more and own a battery-operated car.

11. If you could trade places with one person from any time in history (past or present) for one day—who would it be and why?

I don’t want to trade places with anyone! I am blessed with wonderful, family and friends, and I wouldn’t want to miss a moment of it.

12. You have a meeting with the leader of every country in the world. You have 30 seconds to tell them anything you want. Go!

Let’s secure a commitment to enduring peace, cleansing the environment, liberalizing the economy so that all workers have ÂÂan equal chance for prosperity with the lessÂÂfortunate gaining access to better healthcare & education.

13. You have the chance to send one tweet to all the tweeps in the world. Let’s hear it in 140 characters, or less!

Let Birds Nest Foundation, a one-of-a-kind non-profit, help tell your story– and donate to the cause today!

14. If there was one industry/product that you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?

Cell phones. They give off harmful microwave radiation that has lasting negative effects on the human body. I explore this issue in-depth in my upcoming documentary, Talk Smart Â

15. Where in the world would you most like to be right now?

Although I love it here at my desk in NYC, I wish I could be in the Hamptons: sitting on my patio, drinking iced green tea with mint from my garden, and listening to the ocean waves. Otherwise, I would love to be walking down the streets of Paris on my way to Café de Flore for a cappuccino.

16. What is the best book you have read recently?

Thug Kitchen, Eat like you give a F*ck  by Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis

17. What makes you cringe?

Seeing young people smoke cigarettes.

18. What do you want your legacy to be?

Knowing deep down inside that I did my part to support my community and improve the environment so that the world is a better place for our children, elderly, and those less fortunate.

8. What do you want your legacy to be?

Knowing deep down inside that I did my part to support my community and improve the environment so that the world is a better place for our children, elderly, and those less fortunate.

Original story in Eco18

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