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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FAQ Veterans Statements

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  1. What is the Veterans Education Challenge?
    • The Veterans Education Challenge is dedicated to providing need-based scholarships to United States Military veterans that the GI Bill does not cover.  This program includes a matching component, whereby every dollar raised by the general public will be matched up to $1 million. 
  2. Who is matching the money raised through the Veterans Education Challenge?
    • Bruce and Avis Richards have committed to matching up to $1 million raised by the general public.  Mr. Richards is the Chief Executive Officer of Marathon Asset Management, a New York-based Hedge Fund, and Mrs. Richards is the founder of Birds Nest Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. 
  3. Which universities will be eligible to receive grants to provide these scholarships?
    • Accredited four year universities participating in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program ( are eligible beneficiaries of this program.  A funding committee established by Birds Nest Foundation will select universities within the eligible universe.     
  4. Can I designate a university of my choice?
    • Donations of less than $5,000 will be disbursed to universities selected by the Birds Nest Foundation funding committee.  If you are making a donation of $5,000 or greater, you may designate a specific university meeting the criteria described above. 
  5. What qualifications must a veteran possess in order to become a beneficiary of this program?
    • In order for veterans to be eligible beneficiaries of this program, he/she must have served at least 36 months of active duty in the U.S. Military from 9/11/01 onward; he/she must be in good standing with his/her respective branch of the U.S. Military; and he/she must be eligible for entitlement under the GI Bill (
  6. Who decides which eligible veterans receive benefits under the Veterans Education Challenge?
    • Universities receiving funds through the Veterans Education Challenge have complete discretion as to the disbursement of funds among the university’s eligible student veteran population.  If, for example, $5,000 is donated to a specific university, the university determines which students receive the donation and in what amount, based upon standards and criteria the university has put in place. 
  7. When can I make a donation?
  8. How much of my donation will go toward veteran scholarships?
    • 100% of your donation will be applied toward veteran scholarships. 

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