Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation

Helping One Sentinel At a Time.

aka Sentinels of Freedom (SOF)   |   San Ramon, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation

EIN: 20-8139201


The Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation (SOF) is a 501(c)(3) nationwide nonprofit that assists severely wounded and injured post -9/11 Veterans successfully complete higher education, find career-focused employment, and gain financial independence. Our focus is on helping these Veterans, called Sentinels in honor of their service to our nation, find long-term success on their new post-military path.

Ruling year info


Chairman and CEO

Mike Conklin

Main address

P.O. Box 1316

San Ramon, CA 94583 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Personal services

Special population support

Independent living for people with disabilities

Population served info

People with physical disabilities


NTEE code info

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

SOF was established to help severely wounded and injured veterans overcome the obstacles they face while navigating college and finding a new civilian career. Entering college and finding a career are two difficult tasks on their own, and with the addition of injuries that add physical and mental hurdles, the journey becomes even harder. The educational challenge for these veterans is the actual completion of a college career that will increase their likelihood of entering the competitive professional marketplace. Given the national disparity between (1) severely wounded veterans returning from active duty with unique societal and cultural needs and (2) the benefit of continual follow-up leading to their ultimate success and independence, there is a need for an enduring resource that facilitates the veterans' transition from active duty to college graduation and on to a successful career through long-term guidance and periodic follow-up.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Transition Program

Our comprehensive, multi-faceted scholarships work to ease Veterans' transition to civilian life by providing support and resources that will enable them to become productive and self-sufficient. Our transition program includes such things as financial assistance through housing subsidies, financial coaching and planning, a mentoring program, networking opportunities, and employment assistance that are tailored to the individual and their specific aspirations.

Population(s) Served

Student Veteran Resource Centers (SVRCs) are on-campus centers at institutions of higher learning that meet the specific needs of student Veterans. SVRCs provide safe spaces, study areas, access to Veteran resources and materials, places to connect with the Veteran community, leadership and community service opportunities, and academic advising specific to student Veterans.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


First Place 2007

Newman's Own Foundation

Excellence in Community Service 2009

Daughters of the American Revolutin

Honary member of 75th Ranger Regiment - Mike Conklin CEO Sentinels of Freedom 2009

75th Ranger Regiment

Certificate of Recognition 2006

State of California Senate

Honorary member 2000

United States Army Signat - by Order of the Secretary of the Army

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Percentage of scholarship program graduates who are gainfully employed or pursuing more education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Related Program

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Transition Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

-77% of 2023 graduates are gainfully employed (70.97%) or continuing further education (6.45%). Other Stats: 3.23% are in internships; 19.35% are seeking employment.

Percentage of scholarship program graduates who are financially independent

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

- Believe that assistance that Sentinels of Freedom provided has helped them achieve financial freedom.

Number of accepted scholarship program recipients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

- Due to CV19, only 44 were accepted in 2020. We don't enroll veterans into the program unless we have funds in the bank to support a full scholarship.

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOF has three main objectives for our scholarship recipients: (1) completion of post-secondary education, (2) procurement of meaningful and career-focused employment, and (3) establishment of financial independence. Accordingly, currently (1) at least 90% of Sentinels who graduate from the scholarship program have either earned post-secondary degrees or are near completion, (2) at least 70% of Sentinels who graduate from the program are employed within six months of graduation and at least 15% are continuing their education, and (3) at least 90% of Sentinels who graduate from the program have a stable place of residence that they call home and at least 90% consider themselves financially independent (compared to only 50% who enter the program and say daily expenses are a challenge). With this progression of success, our Sentinels become community leaders, successful business owners, veterans' awareness voices, and mentors themselves (all avenues for giving back). As they live, work, and serve in their communities, others – and particularly young people – are continually reminded of the return that comes from working hard to complete college, gain professional employment, and give back despite the circumstances.

We help the wounded veterans in our program accomplish their goals through our comprehensive, multi-faceted support program that is tailored to the unique needs and aspirations of each veteran we serve. One part of the process is our provision of a housing subsidy which allows veterans to concentrate on their studies while going to school full-time. We also assist with many other facets necessary to become a successful civilian by offering financial coaching and planning, resume building, mentoring, networking, and internship and career assistance. 1- Once enrolled in our program, Sentinels must submit each semester's course schedules. Staff and mentors review/assess the Sentinels' educational/personal goals, helping them attain goal #1 – completion of post-secondary education. 2- Sentinels are paired with one or more mentor(s) and provided with networking opportunities through our network of mentor volunteers and partnership with ACP (American Corporate Partners), helping them attain goal #2 – procurement of career-focused employment. 3- Financial coaches and planners assist with financial education and plans. SOF program staff go over monthly budget sheets and long term goals biannually with each Sentinel, helping them attain goal #3 – establishment of financial independence.

With a staff of seven operational and administrative professionals, we are highly efficient and transparent in our work. At Sentinels of Freedom, our staff of professionals and a host of nationwide volunteer mentors and corporate liaisons work cohesively to carefully guide each veteran through the scholarship process to successful completion.
In program year three, each Sentinel is paired with a volunteer mentor (at times, more) such as financial advisors, doctors, attorneys, and other professionals. Other volunteers serve as “connectors", introducing Sentinels to professional development and employment opportunities through SOF's extensive network of partner military, corporate, and community leaders across the country. SOF is continually looking for motivated individuals to become mentors (locally or virtually), drawn from a variety of organizations and industries. Volunteers also have the opportunity to serve through community-sponsored fundraising events such as an annual bike ride and various golf tournaments.

SOF currently serves 92 severely wounded and injured post 9/11 veterans and has had over 500 veterans participate in the Bridge for Education program with a 90% success rate. SOF also provided 40 merit-based grants from 2016 – 2019 and supported over 60 veterans with general one-time support. Of those Sentinels that successfully transitioned into civilian life, 86% have earned a post-secondary degree, 95% are gainfully employed or pursuing more education, and 95% are financially independent. Of the 457 who have completed the program since 2007, many indicate that over the numerous veteran-related services offered to them, SOF's assistance was the most instrumental in their success. According to participant surveys, virtually all are professionally employed six months after graduation and consider themselves financially independent. All have a stable place of residence and two-in-three are volunteering within their community. Our goal for the program is to be able to accept 100 new Sentinels a year. This goal was accomplished in 2019 and though we had to take a conservative approach since COVID we hope to meet that goal again in the future with continued support of the veterans we serve as they achieve their educational and employment goals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 71.60 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 21.4 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 8% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $247,845 -$84,243 -$1,160,749 $310,678 -$1,260,003
As % of expenses 9.8% -3.1% -41.1% 14.4% -60.6%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $244,332 -$84,820 -$1,161,191 $310,237 -$1,260,228
As % of expenses 9.6% -3.1% -41.1% 14.4% -60.6%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $2,959,829 $2,572,059 $1,562,600 $2,464,759 $848,063
Total revenue, % change over prior year 31.6% -13.1% -39.2% 57.7% -65.6%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 1.8% 3.1% 4.4% 0.6% 1.3%
Government grants 0.3% 0.0% 7.7% 0.0% 1.4%
All other grants and contributions 97.9% 97.9% 87.8% 99.4% 97.0%
Other revenue 0.0% -1.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.3%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $2,540,202 $2,739,686 $2,823,023 $2,153,897 $2,079,323
Total expenses, % change over prior year 7.3% 7.9% 3.0% -23.7% -3.5%
Personnel 21.3% 24.2% 26.8% 30.2% 30.9%
Professional fees 4.4% 8.5% 8.9% 10.0% 9.6%
Occupancy 2.1% 1.9% 2.0% 5.1% 4.7%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.2% 3.2%
Pass-through 59.1% 54.9% 57.3% 45.4% 41.4%
All other expenses 13.1% 10.5% 5.0% 8.0% 10.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $2,543,715 $2,740,263 $2,823,465 $2,154,338 $2,079,548
One month of savings $211,684 $228,307 $235,252 $179,491 $173,277
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $47,297
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $2,755,399 $2,968,570 $3,058,717 $2,333,829 $2,300,122

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 20.4 20.5 11.0 16.0 11.8
Months of cash and investments 20.8 20.9 14.5 19.6 12.6
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 23.4 21.7 16.1 22.8 16.4
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $4,315,050 $4,674,492 $2,576,878 $2,878,386 $2,045,897
Investments $93,746 $97,539 $836,525 $635,876 $143,142
Receivables $36,750 $24,635 $50 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $93,529 $13,854 $13,854 $13,854 $3,590
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 19.7% 92.0% 95.2% 98.4% 100.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 1.8% 3.5% 2.3% 35.2% 43.7%
Unrestricted net assets $5,033,177 $4,948,357 $3,787,166 $4,097,403 $2,837,175
Temporarily restricted net assets $232,061 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $232,061 $164,309 $59,786 $73,508 $52,489
Total net assets $5,265,238 $5,112,666 $3,846,952 $4,170,911 $2,889,664

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Chairman and CEO

Mike Conklin

Mike Conklin was a successful builder and real estate developer in San Ramon, California, before founding Sentinels of Freedom. He is the proud father of three Army Rangers and was inspired to establish Sentinels of Freedom after one of his sons was wounded in Iraq in 2003. Impressed by the level of care his son received in military hospitals and deeply concerned over the plight of wounded warriors without families or community networks, Mike began the work that would evolve into the Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation. Mike’s vision has been honored by military and community leaders ranging from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. In 2012, he was awarded the Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, and in 2013, he became one of CNN’s “CNN Heroes” for everyday people changing the world.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation

Board of directors
as of 06/05/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mr. Mike Conklin


Marty Kaplan


Ronald Lowe

Major General Ronald Lowe, US Army (retired) Executive Director of General Contracting (retired) AT&T

Mike Conklin

CEO Sentinels of Freedom

Kent Strazza

Managing Director, Alternatives Group Franklin Templeton Investments

Mary King

Vice President, Human Resources & Chief Diversity Officer Pacific Gas & Electric

Chris Marzilli

Executive Vice President Information Technology and Mission Systems General Dynamics

HT Tran

Graduated Sentinel Founder, CEO, and President Anvil Builders

Pete Walsh

Founder, President, and CEO Owards LLC

Mike Sandy

CFO Sentinels of Freedom

Jason Church

Graduated Sentinel State Counsel Office of US Senator Ron Johnson, Wisconsin

Dan Coleman

Director of Design, Planning Engineering and Construction for River Islands Development

David Halverson

President, Cypress International

Samantha Chapman

Vice President of Programs Sentinels of Freedom

Stacey Hadeka

Senior Associate in Government Contracts Hogan Lovells US LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/27/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/20/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.