Meet The Team

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ABOUT OUR FOUNDER

Doug DiPaola 
(August 1959-April 2020)

In 2009, Doug DiPaola was profoundly moved by the dire situation of homeless veterans, a cause he championed after witnessing a Vietnam veteran's struggle during the recession. Driven by his love for construction and his patriotism, Doug established Homes for Veterans in 2011. Recognizing a neglected group of veterans, particularly from the Vietnam era, Doug dedicated himself to helping those who had "fallen through the cracks". His evenings and weekends were devoted to personally repairing veterans' homes.

For more than three decades, Doug served as Vice President of Summit Graphics Inc, where his expertise in estimations and salesmanship left an indelible mark. Yet, Doug's impact extended far beyond his professional achievements. He radiated positivity, lifting others with his guidance and unwavering generosity, both in terms of finances and time. His ethos of approaching work with a positive attitude resonated deeply within the veteran community, transforming him from a mere benefactor into a cherished family member. Doug wasn't just an exceptional husband, father, and friend; he was a relentless advocate for veterans, leaving behind a legacy of compassion and love.

Tragically, Doug fell victim to COVID early in the pandemic, enduring 23 days in intensive care before succumbing to the virus. Although he is no longer with us, his memory and legacy endure through the countless lives touched by Homes for Veterans, a testament to his enduring impact on the world.

Educare School

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Chair of the Board / Chief Executive Officer

Francesca DiPaola

Francesca DiPaola served for 10 years as Head of Fundraising Development and Community Outreach at Homes for Veterans. In 2020, after her father’s passing, she was nominated as Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Under her leadership, the organization has raised over 4.5 million dollars. Francesca served as the Philanthropy Chair of the New York Young Republican Club and currently on the board of the Columbus Citizen Foundation’s Young Adults Auxiliary.

Francesca has effectively collaborated with other nonprofits, including Catholic Charities, Blue Lives Matter and Boy Scouts of America. As an advocate for veterans, Francesca speaks out on the challenges they encounter, particularly in navigating federal assistance programs. A Cum Laude graduate from Marymount Manhattan College, Francesca initially found success in the performing arts, gaining recognition for her series regular role on Lifetime TV’s The Sisterhood and her popular web series, FreekThink.


Vice Chair / Chief Administrative Officer

Joanne DiPaola

A dedicated educator with 40 years of experience in both public and private schools in NJ and NY, is a graduate of Iona University. She furthered her education by earning a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from The College of New Rochelle. Joanne's passion for teaching and her dedication to continuing her late husband's legacy shine through in her meaningful connections with veterans and donors, particularly those from older generations.

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Military Liaison Director

Dennis Duddie

Dennis belongs to a unique group of veterans who served in both the US Navy as a Damage Controlman (1992-1994) and the New Jersey Army National Guard as a Combat Medical Specialist (1994-2001, 2006-2010). Currently, he serves as the Commander of Rochelle Park – American Legion Post 170, aiding veterans with benefit claims and assisting homeless veterans in finding permanent homes.


Board Member

Ed Gaelick

Founder of PSI Consultants in 1985, has been a distinguished figure in the Life & Health Insurance Industry for 36 years. As a Life and Qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table, he has received numerous prestigious awards, including Court and Top of the Table qualifications.

Ed's extensive expertise makes him the go-to insurance professional. Beyond his professional achievements, Ed is deeply committed to philanthropy. "Supporting our Veterans, the men and women that have given us so much, is the most rewarding thing I do. And after meeting and getting to know Doug DiPaola, it was easy to begin to support Homes for Veterans. Francesca’s passion keeps me there”.

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Board Member

Vincent Micco

Currently Vice President of Parke Bank, Vince, twice deployed to Iraq, is a decorated Officer in the US Army and continues to serve as a reservist. Dedicated to the communities he works and lives in, Vince served as President of the Rutherford Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of Advisors for the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce and coaches youth soccer.


Board Member

Patrick Doherty

Patrick Doherty, based in Philadelphia, is recognized as Top 40 Under 40 and awarded for environmental advocacy, Patrick's distinguished career in criminal defense and personal injury law showcases a commitment to clients' well-being. His legal acumen and empathy stem from extensive representation of diverse backgrounds, with a focus on drug-related offenses and clients' recovery from addiction. A recipient of the Charles E. Zencey Award, Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Pennsylvania, Best Probate Lawyers in Philadelphia, and the Client’s Choice Award, Patrick, with bar admission in Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Delaware Law School, advocates for justice. Joining the Homes for Veterans board, he aims to leverage his legal skills and empathy for veterans, contributing to their pursuit of stable housing and support.

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