Our Mission

Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) builds financial self-sufficiency among junior active duty enlisted service members and recently discharged enlisted Veterans and their families in Southern California facing financial crisis through counseling, education and grants.

For a more in-depth, clinical look into our program,

please read our white paper, Military Financial Well-Being.

What's New

Food Boxes for Military Families

September 16, 2019

Did you know that each month STEP provides more than 30 food boxes to military families in need? Food insecurity is a growing problem among our military and veterans. Learn more about the program and how you can apply!

Sept Newsletter: Pumpkins Spice & Everything Nice!

September 06, 2019

A monthly update on all things STEP! The newsletter includes volunteer and donor highlights, real stories from clients, upcoming events, and MORE!

Back to School: STEP's August Bulletin

August 22, 2019

A monthly update on all things STEP!

STEP Received 3rd Consecutive 4-Star Rating

July 14, 2020

For the third year, STEP is awarded a 4-Star from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. The 4-star rating is a result of STEP maintaining sound fiscal management practices and a commitment to accountability and transparency in our efforts to ensure all of Southern California's junior enlisted service members, and transitioning veterans, have a place to turn when in financial crisis. 

Volunteer Highlight: Gary Thornton

July 01, 2020

In January 2019 the US government experienced a shutdown. During this time the Coast Guard did not receive pay. Gary Thornton felt this was not right and wanted to do something to help. He heard STEP was collecting donations for Coast Guard families, so he came down to our office to deliver a check. He saw the hard work STEP and our volunteers were performing for military families and decided he wanted to join us in our mission. He soon became a dedicated volunteer here at STEP.   


Prior to his time in volunteering, Gary worked with the LA County Harbor Patrol for 12 years and the LA County Sheriff’s Department for 21 years. He also served as a United States Marine Corps reservist for six years. Two of his grandsons would go on to also become Marines, one currently serving at Miramar Air Station in San Diego and the other was in the infantry.   

STEP Ranked #29 Nationally Among Charities that Support Military Members and Their Families

May 14, 2019

Among the 86 top rated charities to support military members and their families STEP was ranked #29. This is an esteemed recognition based on transparency, financials, and mission. STEP was bumped up from #36 to #29. Our overall score and financial score both went up!! We are honored to be able to help so many and will continue to support our military in need. This rank is derived from Charity Navigator's Annual Rating where STEP has received the highest honor for the 2nd consecutive year.

Swing For Our Heroes Joint Golf Tournament

June 28, 2019

Join STEP for our 3rd Annual Joint Golf Tournament with United Through Reading (UTR). Together we can help our military families who do so much for our military families!

STEP's FY18 Annual Report

April 30, 2019

We value our donors and those who help us to pursue our mission! We are excited to share STEP's FY18 Annual Report as a representation of our commitment to transparency and accountability. Thank you to each of you that were a part of another successful year!

STEP Shoots for $50,000 with their Spring Matching Campaign!

May 01, 2019

STEP is hosting its Dollar for Dollar Match Campaign! For each dollar you donate to STEP, the Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation will match it up to $25,000! Let’s hit our goal of $50,000!! Time is running out! Make your donation by Memorial Day – May 27. Your generous contribution will help STEP carry out our mission to support military and veteran families who are facing financial crisis and guide them to financial self-sufficiency.

STEP Earns Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating for the Second Consecutive Year.

February 04, 2019

Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) announced today it has once again received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. The largest, most utilized independent charity evaluator, Charity Navigator, awards the coveted 4-star rating to organizations with a strong commitment to accountability and financial health. Only 31% of organizations have received 2 consecutive 4-star evaluations. This designation reaffirms STEP’s mission to aid military families through financially conscious metrics and supreme credibility.

STEP Distributes 100 Razor Scooters to Military Families

December 05, 2018

Razor USA and the San Diego Veterans Coalition’s Family Life Action Group distributed 600 Razor kick scooters and helmets for San Diego veteran families. This distribution is the official kick-off to Razor’s First Wheels Program and comes in time for the holidays to provide many children an opportunity to enjoy active play with their friends and family.

STEP helps 4 Veterans receive a car!

November 20, 2018

A huge thanks goes to Farmers Insurance, Caliber Collision and all the partners involved in providing refurbished, paid off, reliable vehicles to 4 grateful, humbled service members and their families. What an incredible new beginning for these deserving military families.

162 Turkey Dinners for local Military Families

November 14, 2018

Thank you to Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Phil Saenz's Political Science Classes at Southwestern College, American Legion Post 416, San Diego Ski Club, VFW MC, and Senator Toni G. Atkins for contributing 162 turkey dinners for our military families stationed in Southern California! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Warehouse on Wheels in Twentynine Palms

November 08, 2018

We took an entire box truck full of clothing, small household items, toys, and baby essential items to Twentynine Palms.  In partnership with ASYMCA Twentynine Palms, seventy-four families came to the distribution. Thank you Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith and Coloplast for donating essential items to take out there!  

Tony Teravainen Awarded Best Executive, Non-Profit

November 06, 2018

Hundreds of San Diego's corporate leadership came together to honor Veterans who have transitioned into successful, leadership roles at the San Diego Business Journal's Veteran & Military Entrepreneur Conference & Awards. Our very own CEO & Co-Founder, Tony Teravainen, was awarded Best Executive, Non-Profit, for his work giving back to our local military families who find themselves experiencing a financial crisis. 

We are humbled by this recognition, and want to share the honor with all of those who make this work possible - you. We hope you share in this honor and know that together, we will continue to change thousands more service member lives for years to come. 

Combined Federal Campaign

November 01, 2018

Calling all federal and federal retiree employees - Make a difference in the life of your neighbor!
With a small annual pledge you can show your support of military and veteran families residing in Southern California.
CFC: 71984
Please reload

Support the Enlisted Project is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit EIN: 20-3051279 
Address: 9951 Businesspark Ave. Suite A San Diego, CA 92131 * Phone: (858) 695-6810
OR 1631 Sunflower Avenue, Suite C34, Santa Ana, CA 92704 * Phone (714) 444-0075
Patriots Connection Logo.png