B2B ID: David Felty, Homeward Vets Inc.
NAME: David Felty
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: President/CEO, Homeward Vets Inc. of Southampton, a 501(C3) nonprofit
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: March 2012
WHAT YOU DO: We provide new and used furniture and home furnishings to veterans transitioning from homelessness, serving all of Massachusetts.
EXPERIENCE: I am deeply involved in the community as a member of the board of directors and as chair of the Events Committee for the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Ambassador Committee and a member of the Northampton Chamber of Commerce. My wife, Lisa, works directly with homeless veteran programs throughout western Massachusetts and has become very motivated to help ensure a better life can be had for all those less fortunate. Lisa serves as the treasurer of the nonprofit. We have been involved with helping homeless veterans for several years and are very dedicated to this mission.
THE MARKET: Everyone wanting to help out and give back to their community and make things better for those who are less fortunate
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: Through our Chamber memberships, networking events and social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? Being a nonprofit, we are faced with many hurdles starting up. We have been very blessed with wonderful volunteers that donate their time, trucks and labor to help make sure we get the items to the veterans who need them.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Remaining positive at all times and not trying to accomplish too much too soon
CHALLENGES: Being a nonprofit, we were faced with many challenges starting up. We are not funded by any government agency and rely solely upon community donations to survive. There has also been tremendous support from the business community and we continue to meet new contacts that will help make sure our mission is accomplished.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: Taking every donation as a “good” thing. Everyone’s perception of what is useful varies widely. Controlling the quality of items received can save a ton of money in disposal fees.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: Being selfless is priceless.
TOP GOALS FOR 2012: Our goals are to help all of the veterans in need of our services in western Mass. as well as to begin reaching out to the central and eastern parts of the state.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Don’t try to overachieve but always set lofty goals to stay motivated.
PARTING THOUGHT: We are thankful for everyone we meet and the connections we have made. We all have something lying around that isn’t being used. Homeward Vets can put those items to good use. It is very humbling to see someone who has absolutely nothing and the joy it brings to their faces when we show up. Also of note, the Kinsale Irish Pub in Boston will hold a fundraiser on Jan. 24. For more information, call 203-1479.
B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle, owner of Beetle Press in Easthampton. Beetle Press offers writing, editing and graphic design services. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at firstname.lastname@example.org.