At this point most people are aware of the controversy surrounding Wounded Warrior Project’s (WWP) excessive, frivolous spending. Reports of a staggeringly low, 60% of donations actually being applied to WWP’s mission surfaced early this year. The actions of this organization have created a distrust in a lot of people. As a result people are more hesitant to donate to legitimate organizations in need. While there will always be those willing to take advantage of the service of others there are a multitude of truly deserving and altruistic veteran run foundations. The following is a short (non exhaustive) list of veteran charities worthy of your support.
Mission: GallantFew’s mission is to prevent veteran isolation by connecting new veterans with hometown veteran mentors, thereby facilitating a peaceful, successful transition from military service to a civilian life filled with hope and purpose.
Why GallantFew: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While GallantFew does provide mental health and financial resources for veterans in need, their main objective is to prevent the need for those interventions by focusing on the bonds forged in service. Their ultimate goal is to connect every veteran leaving active duty with a local, previously transitioned and connected veteran. This mentor relationship helps new veterans transition back into a civilian life, gain meaningful employment and have an ally nearby in times of need.
By the Numbers: In 2015, less than 5% of revenue was allocated to overhead organizational expenses with slightly more than 95% allocated to mission based expenses. GallantFew practices financial transparency. Their numbers can be viewed here… https://gallantfew.org/financials/
From GallantFew founder, Karl Monger. "We believe communities are the answer to veteran transition issues, and these communities take several forms. The communities of specific veteran populations -i.e. Rangers, or Marines, best know how to work with their own. Often I say our work must be "of the community, by the community and for the community. GallantFew's main goal remains to build our network so we are able to match transitioning Veterans with successfully transitioned Veterans. This enables us to help keep the Veteran on azimuth.”
Mission: Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.
Why Team Red White and Blue: There is a growing divide between civilians and military/veterans in the United States. One of the most unique aspects to Team RWB’s approach is their efforts to narrow that particular gap. Civilians (who make up 30% of Team RWB’s membership) are encouraged to attend events alongside veterans, giving the opportunity for much needed interaction in a positive, healthy environment.
A few statistics:
55% of active veterans in Team RWB report feeling less down, depressed or hopeless
64% maintain a healthier weight
81% feel more satisfied with their life
50% feel less nervous, anxious or on edge
By the numbers: Team RWB practices complete transparency with their financials. While just under 4% of what the organization took in last year went to advertising, the return on investment clearly shows the value of those dollars spent. http://www.teamrwb.org/2015AnnualReport/financials/
How are donations utilized: Donations to Team RWB are used to fund veteran enriching programs. The Chapter and Community Program is a community based chapter model that hosts local, consistent and inclusive opportunities for veterans to participate in positive health behaviors that lead to positive health outcomes. Chapters host 3-5 physical, social and service projects that are no cost to the member. Our Leadership Development Program educates, inspires and empowers veterans to translate their military experience into leadership within their communities. We host leadership and athletic camps, seminars, summits and more experiential learning opportunities through our Eagle Leader Fellowship.
From Team Red White and Blue Director of Development, and former Army Ranger, Brandon Young. “Strong ties to individuals and a larger social network are the key ingredients to living a happier and more fulfilled life. And connectedness to others is a major protective factor against developing physical and behavioral health problems, including early death.”
From Team Red, White and Blue Director of Development, and former Army Ranger, Brandon Young, “Throughout our maturation, we have created an environment, of and by the customer, The American Veteran, that reframes the system into a network of inclusion, action and results. One based on the richness of wellness, acceptance, unity and belonging where veterans do the (previously) unthinkable: engage with their communities, lead, self-identify their challenges in a safe and supportive environment and get connected to solutions. We give veterans and Americans permission to be inspired and empower them to make a difference in their own life and the lives of others. Together we have ignited a movement that we will grow wider and deeper, reaching more veterans and more communities for the betterment of our great Nation.
How to support Team Red White and Blue: Join the team HERE or help them with a donation
Red Circle Foundation
Mission statement: Red Circle Foundation is a rapid funding force that provides emergency assistance to the families of current and former Special Operators who have made the ultimate sacrifice or fall into other extenuating circumstances.
Why Red Circle Foundation: The long list of testimonials from veterans and their families who’ve received assistance from RCF is inspiring to say the least. From helping with the cost to send children of Special Operations members to attend wrestling camps or ballet lessons, assisting veterans cover the gap in their bills while in chemotherapy, to helping with memorial expenses, emergency travel, housing modifications and scholarships, Red Circle Foundation fills an often necessary void. Through RCF, Special Operators and their families are supported immediately, within hours, when they need it the most. They bridge the gap during the interim period when most funding is awaiting approval or has been delayed. This immediate support helps to eliminate stress of near term bills that compound agony from recent losses.
By the numbers: 100% of personal donations go toward Red Circle Foundation’s mission. RCF maintains a partnership program which covers overhead costs. With that partnership program, the RCF works with corporations, organizations, and individual donors to contribute specific designated funds. These funds are explicitly used to cover the direct organization’s cost. It’s these partnerships that allow RCF to operate and maintain the 100% Model. This model allows all personal donations go straight to the Special Operations Community and their families in need.
How to support Red Circle Foundation: There are many ways to help RCF’s mission, including creating an honorarium or even designating a portion of a trust or will. Find out more HERE.
Team Five Foundation
Mission statement: Team 5 is a non-profit Special Operations Forces Medical (SOFMED) veteran foundation that provides medical care in the most overlooked remote areas of the world.
Why Team 5 Foundation: While the structure of this foundation isn’t designed to directly provide financial assistance to veterans, Team 5 does something incredible by providing a new mission to former military medical personnel. Team 5 Foundation provides a new outlet for medical skills learned for the exertion of warfare to be applied in a truly benevolent fashion. Vetted members deploy to some of the most austere and overlooked environments in the world to provide medical care to people without previous access to health care professionals.
By the numbers: Even as a young foundation, T5 has 7 successful education and medical deployments to the America's where over 80 healthcare workers were given higher education on western practices, 200 ultrasounds of expecting mothers, thousands of patients seen in more than 35 remote jungle villages without previous health care access. Team 5 is a Platinum rated 501c3 organization and pay $0 a year in salaries. Team 5 Foundation utilizes over 90% of donations directly for plane tickets and modest local meals for deploying team members.
From Team 5 Foundation founder, Eric Linder, “Veterans get to keep using the skill sets the government spent so much money on training them with, with the satisfaction they are helping well underprivileged communities. They get to stay involved in a team, which is a hard part of the transition... they are still a part of something.”
How to support Team 5 Foundation: If you are a current/former Special Operations medical practitioner please consider submitting your resume for consideration. If you would like to help these professionals make a life-changing difference to people in need, please consider donating HERE.