The World War II Foundation Names John Fenzel as its Chief Executive Officer
The nonprofit World War II Foundation has appointed John Fenzel as its new CEO, effective January 1. Fenzel, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel, will focus on advancing the nonprofit's mission to educate and inspire current and future generations about the compelling stories of the Greatest Generation.
SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I., Jan. 4, 2024 The nonprofit World War II Foundation has appointed John Fenzel as its new CEO, effective January 1. Fenzel is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel, and the founding president of the NewDay USA Foundation. Fenzel will focus on advancing the nonprofit's mission to educate and inspire current and future generations about the compelling stories of the Greatest Generation.
Fenzel's military, business and nonprofit management experience will reinforce the World War II Foundation's goals to enhance its awareness nationally and to expand its mission globally.
"It's an honor to be chosen to lead the World War II Foundation," Fenzel said. "I'm committed to ensuring the Foundation's continued success and to preserving the stories of our Greatest Generation—those men and women who served and sacrificed so much for our nation during and after World War II."
"It's an honor to be chosen to lead the World War II Foundation. The opportunities ahead for the Foundation are extraordinary," Fenzel said. "I'm committed to ensuring the Foundation's continued success and to preserving the stories of our Greatest Generation—those men and women who served and sacrificed so much for our nation during and after World War II."
The Rhode Island-based World War II Foundation travels the world capturing poignant stories through award-winning documentary films shot on location in Europe and the Pacific. To date, the Foundation has produced 34 award-winning documentaries that air on PBS stations worldwide and are viewed by millions each year.
These documentaries continually rank in the top five of the most nationally requested films by PBS affiliates and are donated to schools and libraries nationwide. The films have garnered numerous accolades, including five New England Emmy Awards, two Indie International Film Fest Awards and the American Public Television National Programming Excellence Award in 2013. The films and World War II Foundation initiatives also have been featured on national media outlets such as CNN, ESPN, CBS News, Stars and Stripes and the Associated Press.
Documentaries have included "World War II: Saving the Reality," narrated by Dan Aykroyd; "D-Day: Over Normandy," narrated by Bill Belichick; "Remember Pearl Harbor," narrated by Tom Selleck; and "Journey Home to the USS Arizona," narrated by Matthew Broderick.
"Colonel Fenzel's appointment marks a significant milestone for our Foundation, providing us with tremendous momentum going forward," stated Tim Gray, founder and president of the World War II Foundation. "After a thorough search, we know John's proven leadership and deep-seated commitment to our mission will greatly enhance our organization's impact."
Gray added, "With each passing day, we lose 600 World War II veterans. The urgency to document their stories grows ever more pressing. Since our founding in 2011, we have been immensely grateful for the generous backing we've received. We are educating students about the world we live in today, utilizing the lessons of those who fought in, witnessed, and survived World War II."
Fenzel has served worldwide in key roles, including commanding the Special Forces Training Battalion and a U.S. Army brigade. He also served on the personal staffs of the Secretary of Defense and Army Chief of Staff. He was a special assistant to the Vice President of the United States, and a White House fellow during the Clinton and Bush administrations. In the wake of the September 11th attacks, he served as staff director for Tom Ridge in the Office of Homeland Security. He was the principal architect of The Homeland Advisory System, our nation's color-coded alert system.
An alumnus of Tulane University, the Naval War College and the National War College, Fenzel now resides in Annapolis, Md., with his wife and three children. In addition to his military and professional career, he is the acclaimed author of four novels.
About the World War II Foundation
The nonprofit World War II Foundation was founded in 2011 to preserve the personal stories of the veterans, survivors and eyewitnesses of WWII so their incredible experiences are freely accessible to future generations. Its work includes 34 documentary films completed to date (and an additional 8 in pre- and post-production), narrated by some of the biggest names in the entertainment and sports world, and filmed on location in Europe and the Pacific. Films can be viewed for free through the WWII Streaming Channel app, as well as four Virtual Reality films available free through YouTube VR and Oculus Quest. World War II Foundation outreach includes in-person visits and virtual seminars at schools and universities, both in the United States and globally, and events held in Europe and the Pacific that bring people together to educate and honor the contributions of the WWII generation. In Rhode Island, it runs the International Museum of World War II, where over 5,900 artifacts, 700 books, and a movie theatre help tell the story of WWII to thousands of students each year. Learn more at wwiifoundation.org.