Share This Page
Victories of the Heart was founded in 1985 by Bob Mark, Ph.D. and Buddy Portugal, LCSW. Through the growth of their own friendship, the two had come to recognize how important, yet how rare, it is for men to share their feelings, reveal their vulnerability, and speak their deepest truths to each other. It was with the hope of sharing this recognition with other men that they established both the organization and its first program, both known originally as The Men’s Room. Their outline for that program, now called The BreakThrough Weekend for Men, still forms the basis for this powerful retreat, which continues to evolve and grow. It has served thousands of men and is now offered six times a year.

In 1995, Bob and Buddy launched a second major program, The Wisdom Years, designed to help men over 50 approach the second half of their adult lives with greater clarity and commitment, passion and purpose. This innovative retreat, now facilitated by a new generation of leaders, is the only program of its kind offered in the United States. It has often been cited for its contributions to a national effort aimed at helping men and women develop a new outlook on aging.

Before 2003, Victories was an informal group managed by Bob, Buddy, and a team of committed volunteer leaders. In that year, however, it was incorporated in Illinois as a 501 (c)3 tax-exempt organization led by a board of directors and governed through formal bylaws. Under the board, it has continued to develop both its programs and its infrastructure.

Over the years, Victories has helped nearly 5,000 men to build healthier, more satisfying lives and more fulfilling personal relationships. It has become highly regarded mental health professionals and other practitioners of the healing arts.

Victories and its founders, Bob Mark and the late Buddy Portugal, have been honored by The American Family Therapy Academy with its Innovative Contribution to Family Therapy award. Bob and Buddy also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Family Institute at Northwestern University.


Victories of the Heart, NFP is an Illinois not for profit corporation. Donations are exempt from income, gift, and estate taxes under Section 101 of the Internal Revenue Code. Victories does not offer professional services that would subject it to regulation or registration by any state or professional licensing body.

Privacy Policy | Refund Policy