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San Diego nonprofit CEO fights for female veterans of past and present

Jodie Grenier
Posted at 8:59 AM, Mar 22, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- For ABC 10News's Women’s History Month coverage, and just in time to wrap up Women’s Military History Week, we profile Jodie Grenier, the CEO of nonprofit Foundation for Women Warriors (FFWW).

A lot has changed in San Diego in the last eight years since Grenier took over the Foundation -- going from her role as an intelligence officer in the Marines to leading a group of women who are working hard to serve female veterans of both past and present.

Grenier opened a warehouse during the COVID-19 pandemic to help out female veterans with essential supplies, but its operations have only continued to grow over the past few years.

“I think over the past four years, we’ve served well over 2,000 women through our warehouse alone," Grenier said.

Grenier said over 60% of the women they’re helping are single moms, and they're also receiving help with stipends for rent, utilities, and childcare from the Foundation.

Outside of this warehouse, the work of the Foundation has no limits. Grenier and her team are actively creating change, and the signs of their hard work are emerging everywhere in San Diego.

Recently, Grenier and her colleague Shaeli Chapmen spearheaded a project to have a California license plate decal approved for women military veterans.

“When someone sees that license plate on the on the road, they know that women served and they’re going to see increasing numbers of those license plates," Grenier said.

On top of helping out her fellow women warriors, Grenier also felt a passion for the female veterans who came before her, and she’s making sure they’re rightfully honored posthumously.

For example, the VA Medical Center in La Jolla has a new name because of Grenier and the Foundation's help. They contributed to a collective effort in renaming it, 'The Jennifer Moreno Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center'.

“We also worked with a panel to rename the San Diego VA after our very own Captain Jennifer Moreno, who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Moreno was a San Diego native,” Grenier said.

The Foundation did the same for a pavilion inside the VA medical center.

“Kathleen Bruyere is one of eight women who sued the Secretary of the Navy in order for women to serve on ships many years ago," Grenier said. "There’s a department within the VA hospital also named after her.”

Grenier and her team have accomplished even more.

Through collective efforts, Grenier said FFWW helped steward Congressional support to having the WWII all-Black women’s unit called, 'The Six Triple Eight' awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.

“They went to France and England and their task was to clear a backlog of 17 million pieces of mail. This connected troops to their families," Grenier said.

Grenier said the bill passed both the Senate and the House, and then President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on March 14th, 2022.

When asked if she ever imagined she would be leading a nonprofit that is making such a timeless impact, Grenier said, "I didn’t picture myself in this position, but I wake up grateful every day for the team and the work that we are able to do. I really feel like we’re making a palpable difference in the lives of our veterans. We see it as our whole responsibility not only to serve our women veterans, but to ensure that everyone understands that they have contributed on par with their male counterparts."

Grenier and her team have a new initiative in the pipeline, similar to that of 'The Six Triple Eight'.

"We are working with the community to gather support from lawmakers to see that the “Hello Girls” of WWI also receive the Congressional Gold Medal," Grenier said.

Grenier said the Hello Girls connected over 26 million calls during WWI, and translated those calls both in French and English to help front line troops coordinate attacks. Grenier said this operation contributed to the success of the war.

Grenier said FFWW always needs support. If you’d like to support Foundation for Women warriors to honor and empower women veterans visit: https://foundationforwomenwarriors.org/#