Retired Four-Star General John W. Nicholson, Jr. Named PenFed Foundation President

Former commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan joins nonprofit affiliate of America’s second-largest federal credit union



TYSONS, Va., April 23, 2019 – The PenFed Foundation is proud to announce that General John W. “Mick” Nicholson, Jr. has been named president of the PenFed Foundation starting April 15. General Nicholson is a retired United States Army Four-Star General who was the longest-serving commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. 


“General Nicholson is a true American hero. He led tens of thousands of brave men and women who fight and win our nation’s wars, and spent six years in combat during his 36 years of distinguished service in our military,” said James Schenck, president and CEO of PenFed Credit Union and CEO of the PenFed Foundation. “We are honored that for his next mission, General Nicholson is going to lead the PenFed Foundation. Together our mission will be to help military heroes build a strong financial future. General Nicholson is the perfect leader at the perfect time to drive the PenFed Foundation forward.”


The PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that provides military service members, Veterans, their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to improve their financial well-being. The PenFed Foundation delivers programs on financial education, credit building, home ownership, and emergency assistance. The PenFed Foundation is affiliated with PenFed Credit Union, the nation’s second-largest federal credit union with $25 billion in assets and 1.7 million members.


“I’ve experienced the positive impact the PenFed Foundation makes in our military community, and I am honored to lead a mission that strives to better the lives of our nation’s heroes and those who support them,” said General Nicholson. “Many organizations celebrate the bravery of our troops on the field of battle, but too often, their challenges in civilian life get overlooked.”


General Nicholson was introduced to the PenFed Foundation at a tailgate party in advance of the 2018 Army-Navy football game. The event promoted True Made Foods, the first veteran-owned company supported by the PenFed Foundation’s Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program.


“I look forward to expanding the Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program,” said General Nicholson, “because I know that creating jobs for innovative veterans is always a great investment.” 


“General Nicholson understands firsthand the unique challenges facing military members. His range of experience with nonprofit entities as well as the military gives him the expertise to strongly lead the PenFed Foundation and those we serve,” said The Honorable Frederick F.Y. Pang, Chairman of the PenFed Foundation Board of Directors. “General Nicholson is well positioned to significantly expand the PenFed Foundation’s reach and impact. The PenFed Foundation Board looks forward to supporting General Nicholson in his new role.” 


As President of the PenFed Foundation, General Nicholson will focus on: 

·  Helping military members transition to civilian life. Specifically, General Nicholson will focus onfurther developing the Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program (VEIP). The PenFed Foundation plans to launch a Women’s VEIP under the leadership of General Nicholson. The program will bridge the gap of investment capital to female Veteran entrepreneurs by providing funding, female representation in the investment process, and a platform to empower those entrepreneurs to lift other female Veteran entrepreneurs.

·  Assisting Veterans in financial crisis. Through the PenFed Foundation’s various programs, General Nicholson will work to provide financial assistance for wounded, ill and injured Veterans. 

·  Opening doors for first-time homebuyers. The PenFed Foundation’s Dream Makers grants will match down payments and closing costs for military heroes buying their first homes.


General Nicholson has dedicated his 36-year career to serving the United States. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in history from Georgetown University, a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, a Master’s degree in Military Art and Science from the School for Advanced Military Studies and a Master’s degree in National Security Studies from National Defense University. 


General Nicholson has spent much of his career in the interagency arena, working with internationalorganizations, the State Department, law enforcement and national security staff. His previous roles included Deputy Director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat Organization, Director of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell and Deputy Director for Operations on the Joint Staff. 


General Nicholson’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal for Valor, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge (2nd award), Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge and the Ranger Tab.


About PenFed Foundation

PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization committed to helping members of our military community secure their financial future. Since its founding in 2001, it has provided more than $30 million in financial support to the military community. It provides service members, Veterans, their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to improve their lives through programs on financial education, credit-building, home ownership, and short-term assistance. Affiliated with PenFed Credit Union, the Foundation has the resources to effectively reach military communities across the nation, build strong partnerships, and engage a dedicated corps of volunteers in its mission. The credit union funds the Foundation’s personnel and most operational costs, demonstrating its strong commitment to the programs the Foundation provides. To learn more, visit