060: How To Start A Nonprofit To Help Veterans (Phil Randazzo)

Phil Randazzo

Are you passionate about a cause and want to know how to do something about it? If so, then you’ll want to listen to today’s show and our guest, Phil Randazzo.

Phil is the founder of American Dream U, a non-profit organization that assists military members transition into their dream careers with help from the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Join us as we talk about how Phil got started and more on the 60th edition of How’d You Get Into That?.


Growing up in Chicago, Phil’s parents divorced when he was 10 years old. His father immigrated to the US from Sicily and became a successful entrepreneur. Phil spent a lot of time working for his dad, and says his dad was hard on him, but he learned the value of hard work. He also learned he didn’t want to be a paid employee his whole life!

Phil graduated high school and then went to Ball State University where he graduated with a physiology and health science degree and a minor in marketing. The only job he could get right out of college was selling life insurance on 100% commission. He married his college sweetheart and they had a newborn, so he had to make something happen quickly.

Phil took on various jobs, including a paper route to make ends meet, along with the life insurance gig. That’s when he discovered a book on direct sales marketing by Dan Kennedy and his life took on a different trajectory.


  • What inspired Phil to work with returning veterans.
  • How to translate your vision into concrete, actionable steps.
  • The difference between a real business and a pipe dream.
  • Why giving yourself permission to try things is so important.
  • Staying focused on your work through delegation.
  • And so much more!

At that point he started looking at life a little differently. Getting tired of life insurance, he transitioned into health insurance and benefits, and then started a medical billing and financial company called CapitalMD.

Even though he never served, Phil has always fascinated by the military. When 9/11 happened he knew he had to do something to give back. Soon after started his own private foundation, called Defending Freedom.

And then he had a chance meeting with Pat Tillman, the NFL star who gave up his million dollar contract to serve in the military. Defending Freedom started out with a pro-troops rally he organized. 5,000 people showed up, even though Phil only had 4 days to plan! He knew he was on to something.

He saw and acted upon a few other opportunities before starting American Dream U, all of which prepared him for it. As the Iraq War was winding down. A lot of the veterans returning were being laid off from the military and weren’t sure where to go or what to do next. Why can’t entrepreneurs and business people help these folks, he thought?

And that’s where Phil and his organization step in. They provide training, mentors and other resources to help veterans make the transition and get established. He loves making a difference in the lives of these folks, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you’d like to get involved in American Dream U, see the link to the website below. There are opportunities to become a mentor, to speak at events, and more. Please join me in thanking Phil for sharing his knowledge and passion with us today. Thanks for being here and we’ll see you next time!

Tweetable: “Excellence is following through.” Phil Randazzo


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