Founder and Co-Chair
S.A.F.E Project US

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 substance use and overdose 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 synthetic 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 that affect their lives. She has a keen awareness of the hardships that impact 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.

In addition to serving as a co-Chair, SAFE Project US, Ms. Winnefeld currently serves on the board of directors for the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), Stanford University’s CRAFT Adaptation Advisory Council, Easter Seals DC MD VA Advisory Board, and an Ambassador for the Tragedy Assistance for Survivors (TAPS). She previously served as an advisory board member for Walmart’s Opioid/Substance Use Advisory Board, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), and USO Metropolitan Washington and served on the military initiatives grant committee for Newman’s Own Foundation.

Prior to dedicating her life to the S.A.F.E. mission and advocacy for military and veteran families, Ms. Winnefeld was employed by Leidos/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 and received the USO Distinguished Service Award.

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