Defenders Lodge

Defenders Lodge

Thanks to the generous support from Lee and Penny Anderson, and other individual donors who have championed the efforts of the PenFed Foundation Defenders Lodge project since its inception in 2008, the Lee and Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge was opened for veterans and their families in May 2014.  This unique facility provides a home and respite to veterans and their families undergoing outpatient treatment at the Palo Alto, California VA Medical Center.  We could not have accomplished this without the support of all of those who donated to this effort and helped us reach our $11 million target goal!

Military Heroes

Years of war have rendered Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) service members with severe physical, mental, and emotional scars that will likely impact them throughout their lives. The financial implications and consequences of these scars are well documented and can affect all aspects of their lives and the lives of their family members, impacting their housing and employment opportunities, as well as their overall financial well-being.

The Military Heroes Fund provides wounded veterans, military families, and caregivers with financial assistance and support that the Veterans Administration cannot offer due to budgetary and regulatory restrictions. These unmet needs are identified by VA advocates, National Guard case workers, the Army Wounded Warrior Program, and non-profit referral partners like Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

The Military Heroes Fund (MHF) has two components:

  • Emergency Financial Assistance for OIF/OEF wounded warriors and their families facing short term financial difficulties.
  • Family and Caregiver Transition Support
    • Child care support provided for families of the wounded OIF/OEF veterans while receiving outpatient care at a VA medical facility, or to facilitate family visits, doctor visits, job-related needs.
    • Short-term training or education expenses for job certification, licensure requirements, and/or course materials such as course books, technology fees, etc.

The Asset  Recovery Kit (ARK)

ARK provides a no-interest alternative to predatory lending for active duty, reserve, and National Guard military.

Fees for predatory payday loans can be an astronomical $19 for each $100 borrowed until payday. Through ARK, one can to borrow up to $500 with a flat fee of $5 and no interest for one month.

ARK is a hassle-free, confidential, and smart way to deal with money problems.

  • Active duty, reserve, and National Guard military are eligible 
  • No credit report is pulled because those with emergency cash needs have already exhausted their options.
  • No interest is charged, just an application fee of $5. With ARK, you don’t fall further into debt.
  • Immediate cash loans up to $500 (or 80 percent of net pay) are available for one month.
  • There’s minimal paperwork just a simple one-page form.
  • It’s completely confidential, meaning we don’t tell anyone who has come to see us.
  • Up to three loans in six months are available, but after the first ARK loan, the recipient must sit down with a local Consumer Credit Counselor identified by the foundation.

ARK was designed to be as easy as a payday loan, but without the negative consequences. The goal is to rebuild or repair credit, improve cash flow and increase money-management skills.

We partner with Credit Unions across the country to bring the ARK program to military men and women. We welcome new credit union partners. Please contact us to learn more or see our frequently asked questions.

Dream Makers

The Dream Makers program offers grants for down payment and closing costs to first-time homebuyers of modest means who valiantly work to protect our country’s national security.

The amount of the grant is determined by a 2-to-1 match of the borrower’s contribution to their mortgage in earnest deposit and cash brought at closing with a maximum grant of $5,000.  The borrower must contribute a minimum of $500.  Grant approvals are contingent upon available funding.

You don’t have to be a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member to benefit from Dream Makers, and you can apply the grant to a mortgage from any financial institution.

Find out more about these and other programs at

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