The Atlantic Council’s Millennium Leadership Program, in partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, is proud to announce Navy F/A-18 pilot Benjamin Kohlmann and his initiative, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF), as the winner of the inaugural Take Point Initiative Competition. Selected by a panel of distinguished judges from the ten projects proposed by each of the ten Take Point Fellows, Ben and DEF will receive $25,000 in seed funding to further their mission of fostering a culture of innovation within the military and throughout the defense sector. Other competition finalists included projects from former 82nd Airborne paratrooper Zachary McDonald (Service2School), and former Marine Corps Captain Amanda Burke (Team Rubicon). Congratulations to Ben, DEF, and to all of the Take Point Fellows for their innovative ideas, invaluable skills, and passion for service.

The first program of its kind, the Take Point Initiative helps young veterans transition to careers as nonprofit leaders and provide them a voice in key public policy discussions. The ten Take Point Fellows completed a rigorous week of trainings and master classes, including meetings with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Atlantic Council Chairman Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., and Gen. James Cartwright. Additionally, the Council partnered with KNP Communications, ScoutComms Inc., Rubino & Company, Hogan Lovells US, Georgetown University’s Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, and Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, to provide valuable nonprofit trainings throughout the week.

The Atlantic Council is committed to supporting each fellow’s ongoing work to help young veterans, including those with service-related injuries, find employment in the nonprofit sector and to strengthen their voice in the policy discourse. The Council is planning the next iteration of the Take Point Initiative and intends to build upon the success of this programming for young veterans in the coming months and years. The Take Point Initiative builds on the Atlantic Council’s proud fifty-four year history of engaging with exceptional military veterans.

Click here to read more about the 2015 fellows. For more information on the Take Point Initiative, please email

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