Allegiant Giving: Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
Military personnel are allegiant to their country. Student athletes are allegiant to their school teams. So it’s fitting that military veterans and youth athletes are at the heart of Allegiant Giving, an organization that was created with the goal of changing lives.
Mark and Stacey Haney drew on their life experiences to form the nonprofit in 2010. The Haneys are parents of a son who was active-duty infantry in the U.S. Marine Corps; Mark also has a history of playing youth sports and was later a coach. The couple has dedicated themselves to serving today’s heroes and tomorrow’s leaders—veterans who have served in a branch of the United States Armed Forces and youth athletes who are gaining leadership skills while participating in their sport of choice.
Always proud Americans, Mark and Stacey became fierce advocates for veterans upon son Marcus’ enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2009. Alarmingly, Marcus was wounded in combat three years later. During his time spent in recovery at a Naval hospital, the Haneys became acutely aware of the need to help combat-wounded amputees regain their lost freedom. With the support of its partners, Allegiant Giving launched the Action Trackchair program, just one of the ways it gives back to today’s heroes.
“The Action Trackchairs create new possibilities for veterans who have sustained amputations as a result of their service,” says Stacey, who oversees community relations for Allegiant Giving. “Veterans are able to use the [all-terrain wheelchair with tracks] to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. They have literally taken disabled veterans off of their porch and put them back into the [activities] they enjoyed prior to their injuries.”
Allegiant Giving is committed to supporting tomorrow’s leaders as they emerge through youth sports and activities involving teamwork. A unique and significant donation was made to Del Oro High School in the form of a new baseball field, appropriately named Allegiant Field.
Contributions also include academic scholarships. “A leadership program that we began in 2015 has presented scholarships of $500 to two seniors each year, one male and one female, at each of six local high schools,” explains Stacey. “The recipients are students who demonstrate outstanding leadership traits.”
The organization is currently focused on veterans education, employment, and entrepreneurship. Recently, a space was leased at McClellan Park to develop the Allegiant Innovation Center to offer entrepreneurship-training programs for veterans and military spouses. The participants learn important aspects of entrepreneurship with the help of Sacramento-based CEOs and experts who serve as both trainers and mentors.
This year has been one of growth and change. “We are very excited about what lies ahead for 2020,” Stacey says. “One significant project on the horizon is merging RRUFF Healing Heroes into Allegiant Giving—a program that gives scholarships to local disabled veterans to fund the cost of service dog training. It allows the veteran to take their dog or puppy through the entire training process from the beginning to [become a] Certified Service Dog Team.”
Allegiant Giving’s programs and activities are mostly volunteer-based, and the organization welcomes new volunteers and partners as well as donations.
by Janet Scherr
photos by DANTE FONTANA