Our History


In June of 2008 Veterans For Diversity started out because of a small group at Milwaukee VA wanting a website where information about veteran programs for the LGBT community could be consolidated and made available to all LGBT service men and women. At that time, one of the founders, Ellen Kozel, established a website called Vets Do Ask Do Tell on the internet on June 17th, 2008.

The main purpose of this site is to research information from other VA's and LGBT veterans to let our community know what is available to them. The website was there to try and establish a friendship between LGBT veterans and the VA. Many veterans feeling that the policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” carried over to the VA.

On August 17th of the same year Veterans For Diversity filed to become an LLC under the name Vet Do Ask Do Tell. This took the website to become an organization. At first, meetings were held in homes until the Milwaukee LGBT Center found space for us within their building. We’Ave been housed there ever since.

Once settled in, on January 25th, 2009 we held an open house for the community and veterans. In attendance were representatives from many organization and staff from the VA that supported our organization. The open house was deemed a success because of all the support shown by other organizations. Awards were handed out to include the VA Medical Center for their effort to make their facility friendly to LGBT veterans.

In March 0f 2009, one of our founders, Russell Amaya, moved to the Dallas / Fort Worth, TX area with the idea of expanding our organization to that area.

During 2009 we established a partnership with Vets Journey Home, a free weekend retreat program to all veterans who had served. The purpose of the retreat is to help veterans heal from experiences in the service. We have provided event, financial and personnel support to the organization.

On April 16, 2010, with a majority of the membership voting, Vets Do Ask Do Tell, LLC voted to dissolve the organization and form Vets Do Ask Do Tell, Inc. This vote was made to form Vets Do Ask Do Tell as a non-profit organization under a 501(c)3 status. All assets and capital was turned over to the new corporation and all memberships were transferred as well.

With the end of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, on January 16th, 2012, the organization went under another name change, this time from Vets Do Ask Do Tell, Inc. to Veterans For Diversity, Inc.  The bylaws were deleted and a new charter was written.  It expanded our scope and moved us into an open and diverse organization, while keeping our original focus, opening the door to all who may enter.

In December of 2013 we closed our office at the LGBT center to reduce administrative expenses and to allow more funds to be directed toward veteran programs.

February 23, 2014 we went under a reorganization and expanded our board and our territory from Wisconsin to Indiana and Texas. Under the reorganization we placed our focus on healing through veterans retreats and scholarships to help veterans advance in their education.



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Veterans for Diversity, Inc.® is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization.