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Defenders Lodge

"Giving back to veterans is one of the most meaningful demonstrations of thanks we can give to America and our fellow Americans." - Lee & Penny Anderson

The Lee & Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge

Turning an Idea into a Reality, One Donation at a Time

Thanks to the generous support from Lee and Penny Anderson, and other individual donors who have championed the efforts of the PenFed Foundation Defenders Lodge project since its inception in 2008, the Lee and Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge was opened for veterans and their families in May 2014.  This unique facility provides a home and respite to veterans and their families undergoing outpatient treatment at the Palo Alto, California VA Medical Center.  We could not have accomplished this without the support of all of those who donated to this effort and helped us reach our $11 million target goal!

Looking Back

In 2008, the PenFed Foundation embraced a new project effort--raising $11 million in private donations to cover the cost of building what is now the --a $17 million public-private partnership between the PenFed Foundation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The project challenge was to raise enough funds to build a larger hotel that would ultimately replace an existing "Hometel" that provided a free, safe place to stay for patients who came to the Palo Alto California VA Medical Center for outpatient treatment.  At that time, the existing facility was aging and in dire need of more beds.  In 2012 alone, over 12,000 patients who visited the hospital for their medical treatments were forced to find temporary housing elsewhere due to the lack of available space--many having to drive 50 miles or more to secure lodging they could afford.  It became obvious that a larger, more modern lodging facility was long overdue.  It was time to take action--and that's when the PenFed Foundation Defenders Lodge project was born.

Fulfilling a Dream:  A Timeline

  • In October 2011, site work began on the project in Palo Alto.
  • In April 2012, groundbreaking and construction efforts were underway.
  • In October 2013, construction on the building was completed.
  • In December 2013, the building was turned over to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  • In May 2014, the Lee & Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge officially opened its doors for business.
  • From May 2014 through December 2016, the Defenders Lodge has hosted 72,145 room nights and saved veterans and their caregivers over $21.6 million in lodging expenses.

Stay Connected

Our Defenders Lodge project campaign goals have been met, but the needs for ongoing financial support for veterans is still very real.  The PenFed Foundation continues to provide financial support to our military service members, veterans, and their families and caregivers on a daily basis in the form of:

  • Matching grants for low-to-moderate income Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, and veterans purchasing their first home, or replacing a home destroyed or legally lost to them, or who have not owned a home in three years.  Learn more about our .
  • Emergency financial assistance for OIF/OEF veterans with a VA disability rating in the form of rent and utility deposits, back rent or mortgage payments, and financial support for child care, in-home care, and short-term training or education expenses.  Learn more about our .
  • Short-term micro loans for Active Duty, Reserves, and National Guard.  Learn more about our .


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You also might consider having a room at the Defenders Lodge named after a member of your family or other individual, or on behalf of your organization.  For more information on room naming, .  100% of donations received online will go to assist a needy military member, veteran, family member or caregiver under one of our continuing programs.