Michelle Caldwell is an outstanding community leader and a Veteran with a heart for serving others. She has a passion & vision for directing and making change. Her primary focus is Veterans, and she has developed countless programs to help and enrich their lives. It would be impossible to list all of Michelle's contributions from a national, regional, and local perspective. However, here are a few of her recent and most relevant highlights.
Michelle also was one of the first people chosen to be part of the governing board for NANOE, National Association of Nonprofits Organizations & Executives, and received her CNC Credentials as a Certified Nonprofit Consultant. She received the National Award of Excellence for serving veterans and is passionate about recognizing and honoring the 2 million women in the veteran population.
She has recently become a member of the AFP Association of Fundraising Professionals. She looks forward to working to achieve a Monument to Honor 25% of the military plus 2.3 Million Women Veterans.
Michelle is a Certified First Aid Mental Health Counselor. She was selected to go to Washington DC to represent all Veterans and speak on behalf of Veterans' needs for Concerned Veterans of America. She worked with returning Veterans to help them establish their purpose, such as assisting them to start their own company (in partnership with the SBA). During this process, Michelle met Col. Bud Day, and through his work on this project, he realized his efforts working on behalf of Veterans. She then established the Col. Bud Day Award recognizing those working for and with our Veterans.
Michelle founded and developed the programming for the Center for Military Excellence (CSME). The CSME focuses on Veteran Centered Care by using an integrated approach for the community to work with local VA clinics. She also founded Stripes to Stars, a Veteran specific program dealing with Veterans' re-entry into the prison system. She worked closely with the University to collect data and prove outcomes. While collaborating with the VA, Michelle also worked with a VJO (Veteran Justice Officer) to ensure Veterans had what they needed. She engaged the VA to establish a triage nurse in mental health at the VA instead of having veterans arrested.
Michelle helped create the Independence Fund and developed the Escarosa Independence Fund. The Independence Fund's mission is to empower our severely wounded Veterans. By providing the right resources and tools, the Veterans can work through their physical, mental, and emotional wounds, regaining their independence. She also helped establish the Incubator for Aerofest – a festival celebrating the injured military service members, Veterans, and their families who have made enormous sacrifices. She received the National Award of Excellence for serving Veterans and is passionate about recognizing and honoring the 2 million women in the Veteran population.
Michelle serves on the Board of The Coalition on the Homeless. She chaired and helped develop the first Veteran subcommittee for ECOH and set a 24-hour on-call resource for veterans in 2011. She helped create Home for the Holidays, a pilot project established to house ten homeless families for thirty days over the Christmas holidays while providing intensive case management, specialized resources, and referrals with other community service providers.
Michelle was selected to participate in a one-of-a-kind certification program developed by the University of West Florida, Established by Congressman Miller. This program ensures that staff must have specific knowledge & certifications to work with Veterans. She then hosted the 1st Veteran Summit in Northern Santa Rosa County in Milton, FL.
Michelle is currently serving as an Ambassador for the Gulf Breeze Chamber and is passionate about small business.
She serves on the Notations Committee for Community Life Church (CLC). She loves her role as a member on the Governing board and Chairperson of CLC Preschool and volunteering wherever needed at the Church.
In Michelle's personal life, she has cared for a total of 10 foster children. She raised 2 for six years and considers them her children now. She now has two children she is currently fostering and two children she recently adopted. These days, you can find Michelle working on creating an Emergency Shelter for Women, The Miracle League of Santa Rosa County, Coaching U12 girls softball, Music Therapy for Veterans, The Freedom Center – a Paralympics pool program.