Operation Sweet 16 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation established to provide financial assistance to America’s troops. It was founded by Tori Pimentel and her mother, Mona Burk.
Operation Sweet 16 started in 2011 as a fundraising campaign. Tori Pimentel, a high school sophomore (at the time) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas made a startling announcement at just 15 years old. She told her mother Mona she’d decided she’d rather raise money for one of her favorite causes than have a Sweet 16 birthday party.
But Tori’s mother didn’t teach her to think small. Tori set the lofty goal of raising $16,000 by her birthday of March 16, 2012. Tori never had a Sweet 16, but she did exceed her goal, inspiring hundreds of people along the way. She raised over $20,000 with the help of her friends and family and the support of the community, including local businesses who generously gave their time, products and facilities to help.
It was a lot of work, but Tori and her friends hosted spirit nights at local restaurants and participated in events like fashion shows to raise money. Tori even talked to local middle schoolers and was interviewed by several media outlets where she was able to get the word out.
Her campaign was so successful, they founded their own nonprofit, recognizing that many people are just like Tori. They want to give back, but don’t think they can really help.
The goal of Operation Sweet 16 isn’t just to raise money for America’s heroes. It’s to give other generous people the opportunity to be a part of something that really makes a difference — and do it in their own way.