There is no shortage of veterans organizations that are doing tremendous work for our veterans, military members, and their families. And today, the needs of the vets and their families are more keenly felt than ever before.
The question then is “which ones deserve your support?” The short answer is: the vast majority of them do.
We don’t know the details about every organization and are probably unaware of many others doing yeomen’s work for the veteran community.
So, with that in mind (and malice toward none), we’ve put together a list of some of the best ones we know about. This list is far from exhaustive — as mentioned above, these are just some of the organizations that we’ve touch-based with or know someone else who has.
SOWF was born 40 years ago, out of the ashes of the catastrophe at Desert One, during the failed Iran rescue mission “Operation Eagle Claw,” in which eight special operators died. They left behind wives and 17 children. That vow to take care of those 17 children has become the mission of the SOWF to educate over 1,200 children and support families of injured Special Operations troops with medical bills. The foundation has grown every year since.
The Foundation provides immediate financial grants to severely combat-wounded and hospitalized Special Operations personnel and their families. It also ensures full financial assistance for post-secondary education to children of Special Operations personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty. At the end of May, SOFREP did a profile on SOWF, which you can read here.
Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge, during a loved one’s hospitalization. These homes are located at military and VA medical centers around the world and offer comfortable private rooms with community spaces for families sharing similar experiences.
The Foundation also operates a program whereby people can donate frequent flyer miles to bring families to the bedside of injured service members as they recover. The first two Fisher House Foundation homes were created in 1991, in Bethesda, MD, and outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. Since opening, Fisher House has served 500,000 families, 32,000 of them in 2019. It has provided over 10 million lodging days to military families and more than 70,000 airline tickets, thus saving over $105 million dollars in airfare.
The Gary Sinise Foundation has been a longtime advocate for the nation’s military and first responders. The Foundation’s mission is to serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. The foundation has created several unique programs that are designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities.
The Foundation builds specifically adapted homes of severely wounded veterans through the R.I.S.E. Program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment). Its Snowball Express Program serves the children of fallen military members. It also has programs that deal with rehabilitation, mental health, morale, and overall support activities. The Foundation’s 13-piece rock group Lt. Dan Band regularly performs concerts in support of veterans and active servicemembers.
The Semper Fi Fund was founded at Camp Pendleton in 2003. The Fund provides direct financial assistance and vital programming for combat-wounded, critically ill, and catastrophically injured Marines and their families during hospitalization and recovery.
The Fund also provides transition and housing assistance, transportation, caregiver support services, kids programs, and adaptive equipment.
The Navy SEAL Foundation’s programs are focused on the preservation of the Naval Special Warfare force and the operators’ families. They provide a set of programs specifically designed to improve health and welfare, build and enhance resiliency, empower, and educate families and provide critical support during times of illness, injury, loss, and transition. It also provides educational opportunities, tragedy assistance, and survivor support.
One good friend of mine, who is a retired Green Beret officer and familiar with the organization, said that the SEALs’ Foundation is head and shoulders above all the rest in terms of the support they give and how they care for sailors and their families.
The GBF honors our commitment to Green Berets past and present, as well as their families, by connecting them with the right resources to prosper and thrive in times of need.
When a Green Beret is critically injured the GBF sends the soldier and his family a $2,500 check and essential gear for a temporary hospital stay. The gear is packed in a GORUCK GR1 backpack. These packs are donated by GORUCK, a Special Forces Veteran-owned business.
In addition to casualty support, the GBF provides extended support, family, and transitional support programs. These programs take care of not only of Green Berets injured in the line of duty but also of those injured after they’ve been separated. The GBF has supported 7,600 Green Berets families with programs that have covered $12.5 million dollars in support. Of the funds raised, 87 cents on the dollar go to the programs and services for the Green Berets and their families.
TRW&B’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. One of the unique aspects of TRW&B is that it is made up of 30 percent of civilians. These civilians are encouraged to attend events alongside veterans, giving the opportunity for much-needed interaction in a positive, healthy environment.
The organization hosts regular fitness activities, social gatherings, and community service events. It facilitates building strong local connections with members and organizations within the community. Of its fundraising, 96 cents on the dollar goes to programs.
The Red Circle Foundation provides emergency assistance to the families of current and former Special Operators who have made the ultimate sacrifice or who fall into other extenuating circumstances.
Through RCF, Special Operators and their families are supported immediately, within hours, when they need support the most. The RCF bridges the gap during the interim period when most funding is awaiting approval or has been delayed. This immediate support helps to eliminate the stress of near term bills that compound agony from recent losses.
A hundred percent of personal donations go toward Red Circle Foundation’s mission. The RCF was founded by former Navy SEAL and the CEO of SOFREP Brandon Webb.
Before donating to any charity, you should always be aware of certain things and take the few extra precautions to ensure that your money is going where it is needed and especially where it is intended to go.
- Avoid telemarketers, and most importantly do not give them any credit card, bank account, or personal information. If there is an organization that you are interested in, reach out directly, and do not automatically trust someone over the phone.
- Internet scams are growing daily and although many reputable charities have appealed for donations through the internet, there are many that aren’t legit and may play upon wording or spelling. Always go to the source website.
- Check out the charity with national, state, and local authorities and see if there have been any complaints. Established charities register with the Internal Revenue Service.
- Beware of newly formed organizations, unless you know someone affiliated with the organization. Sometimes with new charities, you may have to rely on your personal relationships to determine whether you trust them enough to donate.
Report abuses to the nearest Better Business Bureau and your State Attorney General’s office. For more information about charities, go to CharityWatch.org.
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