About S.A.F.E. Project

S.A.F.E. Project is a national nonprofit working through a collaborative, multi-pronged and non-partisan approach to end the nation’s catastrophic addiction epidemic.

S.A.F.E. Project was founded in November 2017 by Admiral James and Mary Winnefeld, following the loss of their 19-year old son Jonathan to an accidental opioid overdose. Read more about Jonathan Winnefeld.

The Winnefelds immediately channeled their grief into action, hoping to save more families from the pain of loss. Whether it was seeking treatment, getting answers, or understanding the nature of the disease – they knew there needed to be a different solution to help other families facing the same journey with substance use disorder.

They swiftly built our S.A.F.E Project team of experts who strive for meaningful action through our programs, and lead efforts that are unifying, non-partisan and evidence-based.  S.A.F.E. Project seeks meaningful metrics that strengthen our interdependent six lines of operation, and ultimately aim to achieve S.A.F.E. Communities and S.A.F.E. Campuses across the nation.

Our Mission

To contribute in a tangible way to overcoming the addiction epidemic in the United States.

Our Vision

To support action that will prevent fatal drug overdoses, and to otherwise mitigate substance use disorder’s impact on our society.

Meet Our Leadership Team

S.A.F.E. Project’s leadership team is comprised of its founders, Admiral and Mary Winnefeld, and a diverse group of experts invested in ending the national crisis of the addiction epidemic.

Our Founders

Retired Navy Admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and served for 37 years in the United States Navy. He retired in 2015 after serving four years as the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the United States’ number two ranking military officer.

Admiral Winnefeld is a frequently published author and a director or advisory board member for several companies, including Enterprise Holdings, operating in a broad spectrum of business sectors.  He currently serves as Distinguished Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech, where he is also a member of the Engineering Hall of Fame.  He is on the Board of Visitors of the United States Naval Academy, and a senior non-resident fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Mary A. Winnefeld is the co-founder of the S.A.F.E. Project, a non-profit organization working through a disciplined, collaborative, multi-pronged and non-partisan approach to end our country’s catastrophic opioid epidemic. Mary and her husband, retired Navy admiral and former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James “Sandy” Winnefeld, established the organization in November 2017 following the loss of their 19-year old son Jonathan to an accidental opioid overdose.

Through her personal experience as a military spouse and mother, Ms. Winnefeld has been actively involved in the health and welfare of military and veteran families, as well as the policies and procedures that affect their lives. She has a keen awareness of the hardships that affect military families─especially the stress involved with casualty, illness, multiple deployments and numerous moves─and has been a dedicated advocate to them for more than thirty years.

Ms. Winnefeld currently serves on the board of directors for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Cohen Veterans Network, USO Metropolitan Washington and is an Ambassador for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).  She previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) and on the grant committee for Newman’s Own Foundation.

Prior to dedicating her life to the S.A.F.E. mission and the welfare of military and veteran families, Ms. Winnefeld was employed by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for close to 20 years, serving as a program manager for NATO as well as a member of SAIC’s Ethics Board.

Ms. Winnefeld is the recipient of both the Department of Defense and Department of the Navy Meritorious Public Service Award.

Ms. Winnefeld holds a BA from the University of San Diego and a MA from San Diego State University.

Read more about our policies and practices.