Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc
SARASOTA FL 34237-6042
Assisting and empowering veterans, military service members, and their families.  
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
Board Chair Mr. C. Eugene "Gene" Jones
Board Chair Affiliation Retired Attorney
General Info
Organization DBA
Green Path Veterans Farms
Green Path Veterans and Friends
Former Names
Veterans Battle Buddy Inc
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2011
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Jan 2017
State Registration Yes Jan 2017
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $25,000.00
Projected Expenses $25,000.00
Other Documents
Impact Statement

FLVCS FUND exists to assist and support veterans and we have made significant impact over the last year as well as making a positive contribution to our community. Some of the projects benefiting veterans have been working to end homelessness among veterans, morale building and charitable support for hospitalized veterans, collaborating with jobs programs, patriotic and community engagement programs, and much more.

Major Projects have been the first ever statewide Women Veterans Conference that empowered women veterans from WWII to the present. 
Also we have established as a pilot project Green Path Veterans Farms. The ultimate goal of the project is to train and employ veterans in urban agriculture. To accomplish that objective, we have started gardens in collaboration with the City of Sarasota at Orange Blossom Community Garden. This year we were also able to use funds raised to establish a large certified organic garden in partnership with Easter Seals of Southwest Florida. Many volunteers, both veterans and non-veterans, have donated their time and energy to initiate the project. In the first year, we were successful in generating income from the project. Thanks to last year's Giving Challenge, we were recently able to hire a part-time program coordinator, Veteran Nadine Noky.  
Consistent with the objective of Green Path Veterans Farms, we are collaborating the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science, (IFAS) and Suncoast Technical College to provide a certification course in urban agriculture. The course will train veterans in the skills necessary to manage Green Path Veterans Farms as well as providing employment and career opportunities in urban agriculture and associated fields such as marketing, distribution, and food service. 
We are also commencing in collaboration with IFAS and Appollo Sunguard a scientific test of the effectiveness of different types of  shadecloth to determine which ones could be used to extend the growing season in Florida. 
Needs Statement
1. Executive Director: We have grown to the point that it is difficult to operate on an all-volunteer basis. We need to build management capacity beyond what can be accomplished as an all-volunteer outfit. The job requirements for an executive director demand a reasonable salary. The expected cost is $50,000 to $65,000 per year for salary and benefits.
2. Land:  We need our own land in order to design and operate our farm to support and assist veterans. With suitable property we will be able to provide housing for veterans as well as training and employing them. Our long term goal is to make our farm a self-sustaining model for other urban farms. We will strive to make it so beautiful and successful that it becomes an agri-tourism destination. We estimate the cost will range between four hundred thousand and one million dollars depending on the property. 
3. Infrastructure, Equipment and Supplies:  We have ongoing needs for seeds, plant starts, organic soil, organic fertilizer, irrigation supplies, containers, etc. The cost for each can be minimal to several hundred dollars.
4. Scholarships:  We are working with Suncoast Technical College to offer a certification course in urban agriculture. The cost to each student will be about $2000. We want to offer scholarships to veterans.
5. Women Veteran's Conference:  We would like to hold our second annual conference for women veterans in the Spring of 2017. Our first conference was a great success with over one hundred women in attendance, and many of those attendees continue to ask when we will be holding the next conference.  
Background Statement
See the "Statement from the Board Chair/President" 
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
FL- Hillsborough
Areas Served Comments Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund serves principally Sarasota and Manatee Counties, though our reach is statewide.  
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Public & Societal Benefit
Secondary Org Type Community Improvement, Capacity Building
Tertiary Org Type Human Services
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
As veterans, we have a strong belief that our service to our country and communities did not end when we took off our uniforms. We continue to serve through projects that are designed to help our fellow veterans and that have a positive impact on our community and nation.
And, our experience confirms that our projects make life better not only for veterans, but for all our citizens. In 2015, we sponsored the first ever statewide Women Veterans Conference. The conference brought over one hundred women from around Florida to network and to attend seminars to advance their employment, educational and career opportunities. In addition, we offered the women veterans seminars about personal issues such as sexual trauma and harassment.
The conference was not all work. The women veterans also had the opportunity to enjoy resort amenities on Lido Key in Sarasota and fun activities like yoga, massage, art, beach walks, and even sand sculpting.
In addition to the Women Veterans Conference, a major focus this last year has been Green Path Veterans Farms. The project's objective is to provide training to veterans in urban agriculture so that they can be employed, self-employed, or build a career in the field.
We have developed two small gardens using hydroponic and container technology in collaboration with the City of Sarasota and Easter Seals of Southwest Florida. In time, our goal is to make the operation self-sustaining. In this start-up year, we have endeavored to limit expenditures to capital investments and have therefore operated with all volunteer labor.
Now, we need to hire a full time project manager. Currently, we have a veteran working part-time to begin to coordinate and streamline our efforts.
The ultimate goal is have a self-sustaining urban agriculture facility where veterans can live, work, and benefit from agri-therapy. We envision the project as model for other urban agricultural projects as well as an agri-tourism destination.
Our research confirms that there is unmet demand for locally grown, organic produce. We also found that there are not enough qualified managers and workers for local urban agriculture enterprises. As a consequence, we are collaborating with Suncoast Technical College and University of Florida Institute of Food Agriculture Science (IFAS) to start a certified course in urban agriculture at the college. We anticipate the first class will be offered in the fall of 2016.
We will provide scholarships for qualified veterans to take the course.
With the help of the philanthropic community, we can expand our role aiding and supporting veterans and the community. For this, we thank you.
-Gene Jones, President, Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc.
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

This organization does not currently have any paid full-time staff members, including a CEO/Executive Director. Thanks to the generosity of last ear's donors, we were able to hire a veteran as a part-time project manager to help us streamline our growing programs and operations.  For the first time this last year,  we collaborated with New College to have a student intern who we provided a small honorarium for his substantial programmatic and administrative assistance.  See the "Statement from the Board Chair/President".

Our ongoing services to veterans:
  • Green Path Veterans Farm: An organic, urban agriculture project with the goal of employing and training veterans in urban agriculture and associated enterprises. 
  • Aid and Support area homeless veterans
  • Support hospitalized and other in-patient-program veterans 
  • Collaborate to find employment and participating in veteran-focused job fairs.
Budget $75,000
Category Human Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Homeless People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Short Term Success Our ideal short-term success is to supplement and complement existing government programs and partner programs so that veterans with immediate needs receive the assistance they deserve.
Long Term Success
In the long-term, justice involved veterans are aided in reintegration, helping to prevent recidivism and increasing their citizen contributions to the community.
We connect homeless veterans with long-term support services (health care, dental care, education and training, short/term housing). 
Long-term success for our court program can be linked to the creation of a permanent staffed position with the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, for which we were recognized with the Distinguished Service Award by a Layperson to the Legal Community.  
For veterans who are under permanent inpatient medical care, our material donations fill needed gaps that would otherwise remain unmet. Additionally, donations and volunteer efforts provide supplement the efforts of caregivers and provide limited respite. 
Program Success Monitoring The board's executive committee, along with those directly involved in program delivery,  meet multiple times each month to provide coordination, implementation and oversight of our services. 
Program Success Examples
A local veteran in our community was hospitalized with the threat of suicide, and because of our intervention, he was able to successfully complete his time in the hospital and reintegrate in our community as a productive citizen. We spent dozens hours of one-on-one time with him to connect him with resources and services, provide encouragement, mentoring and support.
Recently we worked with a young veteran with family including small children to find more suitable housing, relocate, and move his belongings to a new home. Without this caring assistance, the family would have lost all of its personal possessions and would have been unable to move into a new, more accommodating residence. We worked in partnership with Jewish Family & Children's Services.  This is one example of how our collective efforts produce a multiplier effect.   
Description Sponsored and presented the first-ever, statewide, Florida Women Veterans Conference in April 2015 in Sarasota, Fla. We plan to hold a second conference in the Spring of 2017.  
Budget $25,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Specific Populations
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Females Other Named Groups Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success We are well on the way to a second successful year in creating this sustainable empowerment event.   Last year, we received a seed grant of  Attendance at the first year's conference sold out, and attendees provided strong positive feedback about the inaugural conference and solid encouragement to continue the effort in future years. The project serves female veterans from around the state of Florida and empowers female veterans in their personal lives, occupation, business, and profession. Part of the funds for the conference are used for scholarships for those who cannot otherwise afford the cost to attend.
Long Term Success We hope to see a statewide Florida women veterans community arise from the Florida Women Veterans Conference and we'd like to see the establishment of a sustainable, annual statewide Florida Women Veterans Conference. 
Program Success Monitoring Full attendance of 150+ women veterans at the next conference; positive feedback on a survey to be distributed to conference attendees; demonstrated interest in creating a self-sustaining annual, statewide Florida Women Veterans Conference.
Program Success Examples
Almost all the women veterans who attended the conference rated it highly and encouraged us to sponsor the conference on an annual basis. 
The establishment of this Florida statewide women veterans conference brought Florida in line with other states advancing these initiatives for women veterans.
Description Green Path Veterans Farms' mission is to provide veterans living with physical disabilities, mental health, and/or brain injury issues new opportunities in sustainable hydroponic horticulture and, eventually employment, self-employment, and careers in urban agriculture and associated enterprises.  

The project has two core principles: sustainability -- both financial and ecological -- and growth -- literally and programatically.  
New in 2015, FLVCS has already partnered with a local community organization for land and operations, established a hydroponically-grown produce horticulture project, and established the necessary partnerships for farm-to-market produce marketing.
Budget $4,500
Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other Agricultural Production
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities At-Risk Populations Other Named Groups
Short Term Success In addition to the intangible benefits of improving quality of life and self esteem among the program's disabled veteran (physical and/or mental health disabilities) participants, the program aims to develop replicable pathways to agricultural financial sustainability for its participants.  From developing skilled horticultural/agricultural experience to supervisory and managerial roles to supply chain expertise, the program seeks to develop and foster these skills in program participants and result in employment and self-employment among program participants.   
By the end of each calendar year, 90% of program participants will have developed specified horticultural, supervisory, business management, and supply chain skills and abilities.  Favorable measurable outcomes will be their employment or self-employment in related fields, or at a minimum their continuation with this program.
Long Term Success Ultimately, program participants will obtain employment or self-employment in agricultural production.  
It is hoped that there will eventually be a housing component to this farming project, and that military veteran program participants will be able to live on-site and expand this horticultural project to full-fledged farming.  
Program Success Monitoring Financial sustainability and self-sufficiency will be a key indicator of this program's financial merits.
Careful monitoring of program participants will also be key, with ongoing feedback and demonstrated improvements in their agricultural production and agribusiness knowledge, skills, and abilities.  
Program Success Examples This program is newly established in 2015.  Success stories will emerge as the program continues to develop and grow.   
Program Comments by Organization
Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc. (FLVCS Fund) is a 501(c)(3) legal creation of the longstanding and very active Florida Veterans for Common Sense, Inc. (FLVCS) membership advocacy organization a 501 (c) (4).  Many of the volunteers working with FLVCS FUND Green Path Veterans Farms are members of Florida Veterans for Common Sense Inc. We could not accomplish all that we do without the many volunteers from Florida Veterans for Common Sense Inc. and the support of the philanthropic community.
We know that Green Path Veterans Farms is an innovative project. In fact, it may be the only veterans farm project that is operated by a non-profit veterans organization as a social enterprise. We are willing to work and invest in the venture because we are confident we can help and assist veterans directly.  As there is an unmet need for skilled personnel in the urban agricultural field, we have no doubt that our trainees can find employment and careers. And importantly, we believe that, over time, we can make our project self-sustaining.
We know from experience that the project can be successful in its mission to train and employ people. As an example, our first college intern had no knowledge, or experience, in urban agriculture. After a semester working beside us, he learned enough skills to be hired by local hydroponic farm upon his graduation from college. We have no doubt that veterans can always learn the skills to be employed, or self- employed in the field.
Our collaboration with Suncoast Technical College provides an expanded opportunity to train veterans in urban agriculture and associated businesses. 
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director No Executive Director
CEO Term Start Sept 0
CEO/Executive Director Email flveterans@aol.com
Experience Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc. does not have an Executive Director, CEO, or any paid staff.  We need to build the capacity to hire an executive director at least part time.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Ms. Nadine Noky Part-time Program Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Contractors 1
Volunteers 50
Management Reports to Board N/A
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund, Inc. collaborates with many community organizations: 12thJudicial Circuit Court Administration (Judge Lee Haworth and Walt Smith) 12thJudicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office 12thJudicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office All Faiths Food Bank American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (Flag Day) American Troubadour Project (Bill Schustik) Asolo Theatre Easter Seals of Southwest FL Florida Studio Theatre, Kate Alexander Florida House Institute, Camil Van Sant Goodwill Industries Habitat for Humanity Haley House Fund, Inc. James A. Haley Veterans' (VA) Hospital Jewish Family and Community Services Manasota Track Club Nations Group, The New College of Florida Salvation Army Sarasota Chalk Festival Sarasota County Bar Association Sarasota County Health Department Sarasota County Veterans Commission (FLVCS is a Member Organization) Southwest Florida Peace and Justice Coalition U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota University of South Florida, Veterans Support, Todd Hughes United States Peace Memorial (FLVCS is a Member Organization) Veterans for Common Sense Suncoast Technical College WSLR, Fogartyville Café University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (IFAS)
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Distinguished Service Award by a Layperson to the Legal CommunitySarasota County Bar Association2012
Risk Management Provisions
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization Since our inception, we have operated with a working board of volunteers and members. Our organization has grown substantially and we have reached many of our goals. It is now time for us to employ a veteran full time, to oversee the growth of the organization and the coordination of volunteers and members.  At this juncture, we have outgrown our ability to function solely with unpaid volunteers.  We are determined to complete our vision and in order to do so, we must have the funds to recruit and retain a leader. 
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization We have done strategic planning with the help from Community Foundation consultation. A major outcome was the determination that our board should be expanded and that we should have more diversity. We are addressing these issues.  
Other Documents
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. C. Eugene "Gene" Jones
Company Affiliation Retired Attorney
Board Term Sept 2011 to Nov 2017
Board Chair Email flveterans@aol.com
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Douglas Brough Positively Main Street Graphics
Mr. Michael T. Burns Retired
Mr. Harvey I. Gochberg Retired
Mr. C. Eugene Jones Retired Attorney
Mr. Geoffrey D. Morris Retired
Ms. Nadine Noky Lady Brigade
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 5
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 85
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Governance Comments by Organization

Florida Veterans for Common Sense came into being in 2003, when three Vietnam veteran lawyers from Sarasota became concerned regarding the buildup to a sustained new war in Iraq. Initially, they had a desire to publicly engage those concerns, in keeping with the legacy of U.S. Revolutionary War patriot and “Common Sense” author Thomas Paine.

However, following the ultimate March 2003 U.S. invasion into Iraq, their concerns quickly evolved into not just engaging in public policy advocacy, but in caring for the returning veterans of the war, including those left wounded physically, psychologically, and morally.

None of the core founders of Florida Veterans for Common Sense could have predicted that their small, round-table discussions would evolve into an extremely active, community-based membership organization deeply engaged in an array of advocacy and service projects aimed at helping other veterans.

In short, over the last decade our growing membership has coalesced not just around regular camaraderie-building meetings and discussions featuring community leaders, authors, and other engaging speakers, but perhaps more importantly around shared values of helping our fellow veterans however we can and speaking up on issues that matter.

As we have grown and evolved, our community involvement has deepened and our advocacy focus has broadened. In late 2011, we took a major new step forward with the creation of the Veterans for Common Sense Fund, a new 501(c)(3) charitable arm aimed at creating sustainable programs to help meet unmet and emerging needs of our area’s veterans. The organization was created out of an inactive but existing 501(c)(3), titled Veterans Battle Buddy Inc., which dramatically aided in fulfilling our goal of creating this new charitable arm

We are now engaged in the work of taking our highly active, longstanding, deeply committed community service efforts to new levels with the Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund, including channeling charitable funding into solidified and sustainable new partnerships with area organizations.

We are energized by our expanding role aiding and supporting our community. We look forward to working closely with the philanthropic community in helping us help our fellow veterans.

-Gene Jones, President, Florida Veterans for Common Sense Inc. & Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc.

Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2016
Fiscal Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $25,000.00
Projected Expenses $25,000.00
Organization has Endowment No
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose Developing funding for the first-ever statewide Florida Women Veterans Conference.
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 2017 to 2017
Amount Raised To Date 7000 as of 2017
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$24,108$1,255$71
Administration Expense$719$575$0
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.274.2132.51
Program Expense/Total Expenses97%69%100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$15,804$9,128$3,249
Current Assets$13,032$7,295$3,249
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Net Assets$15,804$9,128$3,249
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $23,953Contributions, gifts, grants $7,709Contributions, gifts, grants $2,308
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Service Revenue $7,5500 $00 $0
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $00 $00 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization

As an explanatory note, we are focused on making Green Path Veterans Farms a success. Over the last year, we have endeavored to hold expenditures to capital investments necessary to initiate the project. So far, we have relied on voluntary labor. Our goal is to employ veterans in the project and must therefore accumulate funds to pay salaries and benefits.

Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from IRS Forms 990-EZ.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.
Nonprofit Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc
Address 100 WALLACE AVE STE 240
SARASOTA , FL 34242 6042
Phone 941 349-5131