American Free Enterprise Day 2023

by | Nov 18, 2023 | Meals of Hope News

Courtesy of PBA News

November 16, 2023

2023 Medalists

Honoring Dina Dwyer-Owens as the 2023 Medalist & Jack Day, Stephen Popper and Buddy Raney as 2023 Companion Medalists

Jack DayJack Day


Jack Day serves as the vice president of franchise development at Meals of Hope, Inc., where he plays a pivotal role in shaping the company’s strategic direction for its meal packing business franchising. With his extensive experience and prior position as Director of Franchise Operations, Day has successfully developed their unique nonprofit-for-profit franchise model, resulting in the awarding of eight franchise territories within the first 18 months. Meals of Hope envisions expanding its impact across states with over 64 planned franchise territories, offering investors the opportunity to build successful businesses while providing nutritious meals to those in need nationwide. Before joining Meals of Hope, Jack accrued 37 years of senior management experience in the semiconductor industry, culminating in his role as Director of Foundry Operations, overseeing multiple subcontract suppliers and a $500M operating budget.


Dina Dwyer-OwensDina Dwyer-Owens


Dina Dwyer-Owens is an acclaimed author, motivational speaker and the first solo female member to be inducted into the International Franchise Association (IFA) Hall of Fame.

Dwyer-Owens has addressed audiences from stages across the globe and has been interviewed in leading media outlets including Inc., USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes and more.

She has more than 40 years of leadership experience, including 15 years as CEO of Dwyer Group (now the world’s largest franchisor of home services brands called Neighborly). In 2005, she released her first book, “Live R.I.C.H.: How to build success in your company and your life with a proven Code of Values,” and became a popular international motivational speaker on the topic of Living R.I.C.H. (with Respect, Integrity, Customer focus and Having fun in the process as a guide). In 2015, she released her second book, “Values, Inc.,” which was chosen as a Top Ten business book by Forbes.

She also spearheaded the reintroduction of the IFA’s VetFran program in 2001, which now includes some 650 franchisors that offer franchising financial incentives to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. She gives God all the glory for the opportunities He has provided and is especially grateful for her family.

Stephen PopperStephen Popper


Stephen Popper is the visionary founder, president, and CEO of Meals of Hope, a remarkable nonprofit organization dedicated to combating hunger nationwide. Popper’s journey began in 2007 when he responded to a call for food assistance in Haiti while serving as Principal of a Wholesale Lumber Company. This generous spirit led to the birth of Meals of Hope, sparked by a community-wide meal packing event involving 500 volunteers who packed an astounding 135,000 Dried Fortified Meals. Inspired by this achievement, Steve and his wife, Charissa, set a goal to pack 1,000,000 meals in a year. Since then, Meals of Hope has developed eight unique meals and packed almost 100,000,000 meals. The organization’s multifaceted approach includes operating 15 weekly Food Pantries in SWFL, distributing 10,000 Backpacks of Food monthly to underprivileged elementary school children, and organizing meal-packing events nationwide. What makes Meals of Hope exceptional is its pioneering franchise model, offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their businesses while supporting the nonprofit’s mission. Meals of Hope anticipates packing over 15,000,000 meals in 2024, significantly impacting the fight against hunger across the United States. Steve’s dedication and leadership have truly made a difference in alleviating hunger throughout the country.

Buddy RaneyBuddy Raney


Buddy Raney is the visionary founder of Raney Construction, Inc. which he started in 1997. Emerging from a challenging background with limited formal education, he has displayed exceptional resilience, innovative thinking, and a keen business acumen as he navigated the intricacies of the construction industry. In 2008, amid the challenging financial crisis, he confronted significant adversity as bank lending evaporated, business loans were called in, and credit lines disappeared. Undeterred, Raney undertook a remarkable business transformation, embracing vertical integration and cutting-edge automation to streamline construction, minimize errors, and enhance quality. By 2019, Raney Construction had flourished, expanding exponentially with numerous divisions, a workforce of hundreds, and an impressive industrial presence. In 2019, the company was sold to Builders FirstSource, Inc. He is now a philanthropist and entrepreneur, and he and his wife, Connie, founded the Anchored Support Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “help those going through a hardship.” The goal is to “follow Jesus’ example by sharing compassion through unexpected blessings.”, bestowing newfound wealth, prompting introspection and a reevaluation of his life’s purpose.

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