We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony Di Novo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tony, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
We started The Yard Foundation about three years ago as a Facebook group for firefighter training. When our friend’s son was diagnosed with cancer, we used the group to raise money to help with his bills. We raised a significant amount of money, and John’s accountant suggested we organize as a non-profit. Our core value is to be transparent with where the money is going, and we have a thorough vetting process to ensure that our grants have a meaningful impact.
Our Mission and Vision came from our concept of “It feels good to do good”‘ and we wanted to be able to help as many people as possible. Specifically, we provide funding and assistance to firefighters and their families suffering from illness, disease, or other misfortunes, as well as supporting other charitable causes.
We usually hear about a tragedy and then do our vetting process and raise money to give a grant. The other charitable causes are determined by requests from our supporters.
We also have a Giving Tuesday Grant Program where we give a grant to a different organization every Tuesday. For example, in April, we give money to Autism research and awareness organizations. We make sure to conduct thorough research and due diligence for each grant decision.
Our ultimate goal is to be the leading resource for firefighters as a grassroots fund for battling injury, illness, and other misfortunes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work with The Yard Foundation is something that I’m incredibly passionate about. What sets us apart from other charities is our dedication to transparency. We work hard to ensure that every dollar donated is used to make a meaningful impact on the lives of firefighters and their families. We pride ourselves on our ability to act quickly in response to tragedy and our focus on the needs of the people we serve.
Getting to where I am today professionally has been a journey full of challenges. In addition to working as a career firefighter/paramedic I was able to earn my bachelor’s in business administration and master’s in public relations. When my friend John said he wanted to try and raise money for a friend’s son who was diagnosed with cancer I offered my skills to help out.
It’s been incredibly rewarding, too. It was not easy to start and grow a charity from scratch, but we were able to do it by building a strong community of dedicated supporters and volunteers. The key to our success has been our ability to stay focused on our mission and our core values, even when faced with obstacles.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned along the way is the power of collaboration. We have been able to accomplish so much by working with other organizations, community leaders, and volunteers who share our commitment to helping those in need. By coming together and leveraging our collective strengths, we can make a much greater impact than we could alone.
Ultimately, what I want the world to know about The Yard Foundation is that we are here to help. We are dedicated to making a meaningful difference in the lives of firefighters and their families, and we will continue to do so for as long as we are needed. I’m incredibly proud of what we have accomplished so far, but there is still so much work to be done.
I hope that by sharing our story, we can inspire others to get involved and make a difference in their communities as well.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shout-out to my friend Ashlyn Shanafelt, an independent drummer based out of Austin, Texas!
Ashlyn’s passion for music began early on, as she was a member of her school’s concert band and marching band. She went on to study commercial music at South Plains College and eventually made the move to Austin to pursue her dream of being a full-time teacher and working musician.
Ashlyn has made a big impact on the music scene in Austin. She’s become a part of numerous working bands, played at festivals, toured, and recorded for multiple artists. Her skills as a drummer are highly sought after, and she’s also a dedicated teacher who shares her passion for music with others.
Ashlyn’s hard work and dedication are truly an inspiration. Check her out at one of her gigs or sign up for drum lessons.
Keep on rockin’, Ashlyn!