After his retirement as a US Army Officer, John Nolan started a private consulting group in Huntsville, AL in 1991. As Phoenix Consulting grew, John and his wife, Helen, began to make larger and larger philanthropic contributions to organizations and individuals who came to their attention through a network of personal and professional associations. In late 2009, John – as the sole owner of the company – sold the firm to a much larger company and effectively retired from that endeavor in January 2011. He conceived the original idea for The ELM Foundation and used proceeds from the sale of the company, as well as earnings from the previous years, to provide the asset base to organize The ELM Foundation in 2012. He also created JAHR2010 LLC, an umbrella organization for profit ventures intended to eventually fund ELM. John has also served as a lay minister for his church and has served a 6 month Church mission with his wife.
Helen Nolan has taken a very active role in the family’s philanthropic endeavors. With her husband, John Nolan, she has identified and worked with recipients of the family’s private charitable gifts. These gifts have included housing, medical, and legal assistance, and tuition payments. Helen is a registered nurse who worked for many years in the emergency department of Huntsville Hospital. She has worked with people in poverty and knows how critical it is to meet basic needs. She also received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland. Helen has served as the head of her church women’s organization and has served a 6 month Church mission with her husband. She serves on The ELM Foundation Grants Committee and helps identify and qualify individuals for grant distributions.