Transforming Normandy Allies Experience into Veteran Support

Transforming Normandy Allies Experience into Veteran Support

Posted by on Feb 16, 2020 in Featured, Trip Photos and Stories

Transforming Normandy Allies Experience into Veteran Support

What better way to keep the memory of the Normandy Campaign alive than by supporting today’s veterans?

Derek and his grandfather

Derek Matina, who participated in Normandy Allies 2013 program, developed a not-for-profit organization providing scholarships for contemporary veterans returning to studies after serving our nation.

Derek describes the origins of Sustainability for Scholarships:

When I was a Junior at Pittsford Mendon High School an opportunity was presented to our AP American History Class. It was the chance to travel with a group of students and adults to the Beaches of Normandy. I could not imagine a better opportunity, since both my Great Grandfather Frank Fantanza (photo, below) and my Grandfather Don Matina (photo, above) were in the D-Day Invasion. Gratefully my family approved and in 2013 I went on a trip of a lifetime, making friends on both sides of the Atlantic.


This trip opened my eyes to the sacrifice our brave men and women have made and will make to protect our freedoms. After seeing this and knowing the sacrifice my grandparents made, I knew I wanted to make a difference for Veterans in my community. This is where the idea of Sustainability for Scholarships came from.

In 2015, I founded the non-profit Sustainability for Scholarships. Our model is that we collect bottle and cans at events, restaurants and college campuses. With the deposit money, we create scholarships for student veterans. We have been in business for over 6 years and are a 501.c.3.

Over these past 6 years we have been able to:

  • Operate in Syracuse NY and Rochester NY
  • Raise over $20,000 for Veteran Scholarships
  • Collect over 350,000 cans and bottles
  • Give out 12 scholarships to student veterans

This success could not have been made possible without the support of our community partners, our campus partners (Le Moyne College and Nazareth College) and the thousands of community members who donate their bottles at their business, from their homes and at events we support.

If you would like to learn how to donate, volunteer or partner please check out our website at, email us at or call us at 585.755.1151. We look forward to hearing from you and are grateful for Normandy Allies for this life changing experience!

~~Derek Matina, Founder and CEO

Derek at flag folding

Derek retiring the colors and folding the American flag at the close of Normandy Allies’ visit to Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville s/mer, July 2013

(Originally published in Normandy Allies Annual Report January 2020. Reprinted with permission.)

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