Veterans Affairs Senior Advisor Brian Hawthorne Joins PenFed Foundation Leadership Team


PenFed News Release

TYSONS, Va., Feb. 6—The PenFed Foundation announced today that Brian Hawthorne, a former senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Strategic Messaging and White House Liaison with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has been selected to serve as the organization’s director of communications and development.

Hawthorne, who joins the PenFed Foundation on Feb. 6, will be responsible for planning and executing the foundation’s fundraising and government relations activities.

“There are few greater missions than that of the PenFed Foundation which is dedicated to improving the lives of our nation’s defenders and their families,” said Tammy Darvish, President of the PenFed Foundation and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of PenFed Credit Union. “Having served in the military himself and served veterans on a variety of different levels, Brian knows firsthand the needs, challenges and importance of helping those who have served our country and their families. With his professional and personal experience, Brian will help us greatly expand the reach of the foundation and those we serve through it.”

“We are pleased to welcome Brian to the PenFed Foundation,” said PenFed Credit Union President and CEO James Schenck, who also serves as the CEO for the PenFed Foundation. “Brian will help take an extraordinary organization with a critical mission and make it even better.”

As the senior advisor to the Secretary for Strategic Messaging and White House Liaison at the VA, Hawthorne was responsible for strategic messaging and planning for the Secretary’s MyVA transformation and other national efforts, which has resulted in substantial improvement of care and services the VA provides veterans.

In addition to his former role at the VA, Hawthorne currently serves as a master sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves in the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), located in Riverdale, Maryland. Hawthorne joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 2003, and is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, the Senior Parachutist Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, and the Combat Action Badge, among other decorations. He deployed twice as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Hawthorne is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington D.C. where he earned a Master of Professional Studies in Political Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography.

Over the last year, the PenFed Foundation has assisted:

  • 2,522 service members who were facing financial emergencies received Asset Recovery Kits including interest-free loans and free financial counseling;
  • 405 wounded warriors received Military Heroes grants for their families and caregivers (45% more than last year);
  • 113 first-time homebuyers received Dream Makers grants for life-changing down payments and closing costs, benefiting 395 military family members (17% more than last year);
  • And 461 formerly homeless veterans moved off the streets into safe housing as a result of a new partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

About the PenFed Foundation
Founded in 2001, the PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization committed to helping members of our military community secure their financial future. 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. To learn more, visit:

About PenFed Credit Union
Established in 1935 as the War Department Credit Union, PenFed Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in the country, serving over 1.5 million members worldwide with more than $21 billion in assets. Our long-standing mission has been to provide superior financial services in a cost effective manner, while being responsive to members’ needs. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading mortgages, automobile loans, credit cards, checking, and a wide range of other financial services with its members’ interests always in mind. PenFed Credit Union serves a diverse population, and no military service is required to join. PenFed Credit Union offers many paths to membership, including numerous employee groups and association affiliations. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an equal housing lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on Twitter. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer: M/F/V/D.

PenFed Foundation Logo

Posted in: 2017, News Releases