$2.8 Million in Grants Awarded to Post-911 Veterans Programs
The Bob Woodruff Foundation funded outcome-oriented programs to help ensure that post-9/11 veterans will thrive after service.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) announced a total investment of $2.8 million awarded to 22 organizations with programs that serve post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families.
“We’ve focused our investments on programs that meet the urgent and emerging needs of the military-veteran community,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director at the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
As part of our ongoing partnership with the NFL, the Fall portfolio includes programs that BWF supported through funding from the NFL Foundation. The NFL-BWF partnership supports healthy lifestyles and communities, and reflects our shared goal of ensuring meaningful support for veterans, service members, their families and their caregivers.
Transitioning Veterans Education & Employment
The BWF education and employment grants include programs that help transitioning service members identify and obtain employment, and further their education. Besides seeking a range of programs, BWF also strives to serve a range of veterans. For this reason, the BWF Fall portfolio includes two programs focused on career opportunities for the most vulnerable veterans, those at risk of homelessness.
The quality of life grants include an exciting group of best-in-class programs that focus on helping families to navigate resources more easily, addressing legal challenges, and supporting the needs of caregiving families, in addition to promoting healthy lifestyles and community interaction.
The Fall portfolio includes three rehabilitation and recovery programs. These incredibly impressive programs draw from the nation’s best clinicians as they provide evidence-based clinical mental health care to veterans and their family members, train and supervise mental health clinicians across the country to treat PTSD with evidence-based clinical treatment, and train equine-assisted therapists in the first research-based equine-assisted therapy for veterans with PTSD.
Hire Heroes USA
Free Career Transition Assistance for U.S. Service Members, Veterans, and Military Spouses
Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) provides employment workshops, one-on-one personal employment coaching, and individual job placement assistance to transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. This BWF grant will support a high-touch career transition assistance program that assesses, trains and mentors their post-9/11 participants. HHUSA excels in translating individual military experience into marketable skills and identifying gainful civilian employment for their participants.
Veteran Employment Program
Location: Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana
NextOp recruits, trains, and places high-performing middle-enlisted military leaders into industry careers by partnering with industries to advocate for hiring veterans and by empowering veterans to advocate for themselves during the hiring process. NextOp is a member organization of Combined Arms, a Houston collaborative including 40 veteran-serving organizations, among which NextOp is the primary resource for veterans seeking employment. NextOp applied to BWF through the NFL-BWF referral pipeline. This BWF grant to NextOp will fund a Programs Analyst to refine their data collection and analysis, improving further NextOp’s self-assessment and increasing their opportunity for feedback from NextOp alumni.
National Association to Protect Children
H.E.R.O Child-Rescue Corps
The H.E.R.O. Child-Rescue Corps is a partnership between the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT) and both the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to train wounded, ill or injured post-9/11 veterans in cyber-security to combat online child exploitation. Veterans graduate from the program highly-trained and eligible for permanent employment within DHS. A grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will fund one cohort of wounded, ill or injured post-9/11 veterans through the H.E.R.O. Child-Rescue Corps.
Clay Hunt Fellowship Program, Cohort 8
Location: Southern Florida
Team Rubicon unites military veterans and first responders, capitalizing on the mission focus and small-team ethos of these groups, to deploy effective disaster relief teams around the world. Marine veteran Clay Hunt served in the infantry alongside Team Rubicon cofounder Jake Wood in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007, Clay was wounded in action by an enemy sniper. Following his service, Clay helped establish Team Rubicon by deploying to Haiti and Chile, before dying by suicide. The Bob Woodruff Foundation is proud to continue our investment in this program, developed in Clay Hunt’s memory, to provide meaningful opportunities to veterans seeking mission and community. This Bob Woodruff Foundation grant marks the foundation’s first investment in a full-time CHFP cohort and provides funds for the training and professional development of 12 Clay Hunt Fellowship Program (CHFP) fellows in Cohort 8. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) grant will support those CHFP fellows as they rebuild 30 homes impacted by Hurricane Irma in Collier County, Florida.
Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta
Veterans Employment Program
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Despite extensive training and responsibilities in the military, some veterans struggle to transition successfully to civilian life and employment, and some veterans encounter especially significant challenges. The Furniture Bank’s Veteran Employment Program intervenes with these most-vulnerable veterans who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness, to provide on-the-job training, forklift or CDL-A licenses, and to facilitate full-time employment. Veterans exit the program with employment income sufficient to prevent their return to homelessness. The Furniture Bank applied to BWF through the NFL-BWF referral pipeline. This BWF grant will support eight post-9/11 veterans through their internship to obtain a CDL-A or forklift license, and will also strengthen Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta’s follow-up and continued support capabilities by funding an alumni coordinator position.
Services for the Underserved, Inc. (SUS)
Veterans Education to Employment (VEEP)
Location: New York City
The New York City Metropolitan area is a highly desirable area for veterans to live, learn and settle after separating from the Armed Forces. Many veterans pursue education and training programs using their Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, specifically in New York City because it affords among the highest housing allowances in the nation. Unfortunately, many student veterans exhaust their benefits before finishing their degrees. Others use benefits for courses and unaccredited programs that do not result in long-term career prospects, perpetuating underemployment and housing instability. Because employment is fundamental to helping the most at-risk veterans rise from poverty into rewarding and fulfilling careers the Veterans Education to Employment (VEEP) program addresses issues holistically. Program staff members provide benefits, housing and career counseling, offer financial guidance, and connect veterans to high-quality education and training programs with real career paths. The program helps some of NYC’s most vulnerable veterans prepare for civilian employment, secure interviews, enter new careers, and subsequently follows up with additional necessary support to ensure individual success. This Bob Woodruff Foundation grant will support VEEP programming for 175 post-9/11 veterans.
Launch Lab Online (LLO)
About 200,000 military service members transition every year and nearly 25 percent express a desire to start a business, yet currently only 4.5 percent of post-9/11 veterans do so. The Launch Lab Online (LLO) supports a diverse post-9/11 population of service members, veterans, caregivers and family members. LLO teaches participants about entrepreneurship and enables them to initiate their business plans while managing other work and family commitments. The program is especially accommodating to geographically-remote or homebound disabled veterans and their caregivers. This grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation continues our investment in LLO, enabling veterans and military families to learn about entrepreneurship, assess and validate the viability of a business plan, and initiate a new business.
Research Foundation of the City University of New York on behalf of Hunter College
Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education (PROVE)
Location: New York City
PROVE’s mission is to ensure student veterans on City University of New York (CUNY) campuses have a successful educational journey by aiding them in their transition from the military to college. PROVE’s social work interns and experienced field instructors provide both peer assistance and supervised professional counseling support to student veterans. Concurrently the PROVE program trains those social work interns in the specific needs and concerns of the modern-day student veteran and thus increases the military cultural competency of upcoming professional social workers. This grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will support the operations of the PROVE program at 12 CUNY campuses throughout the NYC area.
Disabled Sports USA
Improving Quality of Life for Wounded, Ill and Injured Veterans Through Adaptive Sports
Disabled Sports USA, a nationwide network of 120-plus community-based chapters operating in 42 states, provides disabled individuals independence and confidence through sports and educational programs. DSUSA’s Warfighter Sports program employs adaptive sports to rebuild the lives of severely wounded, ill, and injured post-9/11 veterans and service members. Adapt2Achieve trainings teach instructors best practices for program administration and feature opportunities for hands-on, practical training exercises so that instructors can continue to provide safe, best-in-class adaptive sports opportunities in their communities. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyle and Creating Community (HLCC) grant will provide both community-based adaptive sports opportunities to post-9/11 veterans and service members, and also Adapt2Achieve training to instructors from programs around the country. Ultimately, this HLCC grant will grow and strengthen the American community-based adaptive sports infrastructure.
Merging Vets and Players
Location: Los Angeles, Ca and Las Vegas, NV
Merging Vets and Players (MVP) brings recently-transitioned veterans and former professional athletes together in a gym setting around a peer support curriculum. MVP provides these two unique populations, both of whom have recently removed a uniform, a new team to tackle transition together. MVP’s peer support intervention helps their participants identify challenges and connects them to community resources when they decide to seek help. MVP strengthens peer bonds and incentivizes participation by meeting in the comfort of gym setting. MVP learned of BWF through the NFL-BWF referral pipeline, and now this grant will support an independent evaluation of MVP’s logic model to help optimize the MVP intervention, strengthen the outcome assessment, and articulate the full range of MVP program impact.
Connecticut Veterans Legal Center
Veterans Discharge Upgrade Advocacy Project
The Veterans Discharge Upgrade Advocacy Project is a partnership between Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) and Veterans Legal Clinic at Legal Services Center (LSC) of Harvard Law School, to enhance national legal expertise on discharge upgrades and create a Discharge Upgrade Legal Practice Manual for legal clinics and attorneys who represent veterans before the service Discharge Review Boards (DRB) and the Board of Correction of Military Records (BCMR). Building upon a 2017 Bob Woodruff Foundation grant, this funding will enable these two nationally-renowned legal organizations to complete this strategic resource guide and dedicate additional manpower to field test the guide by working with veterans with bad paper discharges who have service-connected wounds or injuries, such as TBI or PTSD, that contributed to misconduct. This representation will seek access for these men and women to benefits including medical care, GI Bill, and disability compensation.
National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, Department of Health Policy & Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University (NCMLP)
VA Medical-Legal Partnership Phase 1 Toolkit
Many post-9/11 veterans experience an array of complex needs at the intersection of health and poverty, related to securing income, stable housing and a supportive family context. Medical-Legal partnerships address the social determinants of health most effectively in the veteran population, but the twenty-five existing medical-legal partnerships in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs) represent only approximately 15 percent of all VAMCs nationally. The Internal VA MLP Task Force reports an additional 146 informal legal clinics across 90 VAMCs. This BWF grant will support the development and dissemination of a Phase 1 Toolkit for VA medical-legal partnerships, allowing NCMLP to partner with key field leaders as well as with the VA’s internal MLP Task Force, to collaborate with the emerging and active MLP field to document, detail, and improve field practices, insights and activities. The toolkit will empower legal providers and VA practitioners to advocate for and implement an MLP within VHA settings.
University of Michigan Law School
Veterans Legal Clinic
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University of Michigan Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic provides free legal services to veterans in Southeast Michigan. The Clinic provides general civil litigation counsel for veterans on cases addressing family law, housing, consumer disputes, financial abuse, and benefits overpayments, as well as veterans-specific matters like discharge upgrades. The BWF grant will support clinic training for second- and third-year law students at the University of Michigan Law School, increasing the number of lawyers with military cultural competency while assisting with the civil legal needs of Michigan veterans and their families.
Quality of Life Foundation
Wounded Veteran Family Care Program
For many caregivers, stress related to their caregiving role constrains their quality of life, negatively impacts their relationships, and prevents them from focusing on the rehabilitation of the veteran and the care of the other family members. By providing support and intervention to alleviate family stressors and build resilience, QoLF addresses some of the challenges caregivers confront and improves the well-being of the entire family. QoLF Family Support Coordinators (FSC) work closely with the VA and organizations to identify, prioritize, and resolve the specific needs of each family. This BWF grant will support the QoLF Wounded Veteran Family Care Program and improve the emotional, psychological, and physical well-being of families.
Sesame Street for Military Families (SS4MF): Caregiving
The approximately 1.1 million caregivers for post-9/11 service members and veterans are strikingly different from most caregivers, who predominantly serve elderly spouses and family members. The post-9/11 caregivers are often young themselves, are more likely to be caring for a child or a spouse in a relatively young marriage and may be providing that care for a young veteran with multiple challenges, to include TBI and other physical injuries, PTSD, and limited employment or educational options. However, we know little about the impact of family caregiving on children’s well-being; little research and few resources exist to support these children. SS4MF: Caregiving addresses the impact of caregiving and provides guidance and support for military and veteran families with young children (ages 2-8) to help them cope and build resilience while dealing with the challenges of living with a wounded, ill, or injured parent. Following initial BWF funding to identify and develop this curriculum, this grant will help permit Sesame Workshop to complete valuable resources for military families addressing three fundamental themes and strategies: Comfort and Strength, Sharing and Talking, and Routines.
Rutgers University Foundation
Vets4Warriors provides confidential, 24/7 nationwide personalized peer support for veterans and their families or caregivers via telephone, email, social media and live chat. Vets4Warriors complements existing crisis resources by focuses on ‘upstream’ support for veterans, before they experience a crisis. Staffed with veterans who are certified peer support professionals and supported by clinicians on call, Vets4Warriors assists callers facing a variety of challenges and life stressors including questions about how to access benefits, feelings of isolation, relationship problems, PTSD, and anxiety. Peers draw on their own military backgrounds and experience to provide peer support, resources, and referrals to callers. This Bob Woodruff Foundation grant will augment Vets4Warriors’ peer support network so that peers can continue to build resilience and improve quality of life and overall well-being for post-9/11 veteran, family member, and caregiver callers.
Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association
BrainLine: Treating TBI and PTSD
BrainLine is a user-friendly national website serving service members, veterans, caregivers, and family members who are caring for or living with traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). BrainLine is a trusted source for in-depth videos, articles, and other content that provides military families with practical, concrete information and support for dealing with full range of physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges of TBI or PTSD. A grant from BWF will support the daily operations of BrainLine.org and expand the military resources on the site, especially information related to PTSD.
School for Volunteers and Non-Profits that Support Veterans
The Bob Woodruff Foundation is proud to continue our partnership with PsychArmor to continue the success of the BWF-funded School for Volunteers and Non-Profits that Support Veterans. While many Americans are eager to assist veterans, too many of these volunteers lack familiarity with military culture and the veteran experience. This BWF grant will continue the Volunteer Training Badging System in which individuals earn volunteer badges for completing specified training courses; expand the Veteran Ready Certification Program to encourage organizations to participate and achieve their Veteran Ready Certification; and continue the national-level marketing effort to increase the awareness of the training and support services available.
Bastion Community of Resilience
Bastion Adult Daycare and Vocational Rehabilitation Program
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Bastion is a New Orleans community for returning warriors and families, in which those with life-altering wounds and injuries live alongside retired military and civilian volunteers to enhance their mutual wellbeing, satisfaction, and resilience. The Bob Woodruff Foundation provided initial support to Bastion in 2012 to create a long-term innovative housing solution for transitioning warriors and families with life-long rehabilitative needs. Now Bastion is implementing a new, comprehensive adult daycare and vocational rehabilitation program to serve warriors and families confronting a spectrum of challenges related to polytrauma and behavioral health. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) grant will integrate these veterans into the New Orleans community to build resilience and encourage independence, while also serving as an outlet for caregivers to take advantage of respite time while their loved one is receiving quality care.
Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc.
Military Family Wellness Center at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute
Location: New York City
Although the Veteran’s Choice program has enabled more veterans to seek care outside the Veterans Affairs (VA), community providers generally lack the requisite training and experience required to provide mental health care to military veterans, and veterans’ families often lack access to mental healthcare. The Military Family Wellness Center at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute (MFWC) addresses these gaps in service by providing high-quality, cost-free, evidence-based mental health treatment in a confidential, non-governmental setting to veterans and their family members who do not benefit from, do not qualify for, or refuse services through the VA system. The Center routinely employs cognitive-behavior therapy, prolonged exposure, emotionally-focused couples therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and pharmacotherapy. This BWF grant will provide best-in-class mental health assessment and treatment for post-9/11 veterans or family members, resulting in symptom reduction and improved quality of life.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
STRONG STAR Training Initiative
The South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience, or STRONG STAR, is a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research consortium funded by U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop and evaluate the most effective early interventions possible for the detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions in military service members and recently discharged veterans. With a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, STRONG STAR will train mental health professionals in Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), evidence-based treatments (EBT) for PTSD, and will provide consultation for supervision. This BWF grant builds on the current STRONG STAR Training Initiative infrastructure by working on innovative strategies to incentivize the delivery of EBT for PTSD to veteran patients and connect veterans with care providers offering EBT.
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.)
Training Program for a Proven Curriculum for Equine-Assisted Therapy for Veterans with PTSD Symptoms
Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) offers an alternative treatment modality for veterans who suffer from PTSD and who do not benefit from mental healthcare in more traditional clinical settings. In EAT, a mental healthcare professional and equine specialist often collaborate in an experientially-oriented treatment approach that uses the horse as a therapeutic tool. However, to date no fully-specified, research-based treatment manuals or adherence scales have existed for EAT to serve veterans with PTSD, and thus EAT has not provided a valid, evidence-based treatment option for this population. The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) will partner with the Man O’ War Project at Columbia University Irving Medical, which has developed the first evidence-based curriculum for EAT serving veterans with PTSD symptoms, to implement and evaluate the delivery of the curriculum. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) grant will train and qualify EAT providers in communities across the nation, to ensure that post-9/11 veterans receive this important outdoor recreational therapy safely and effectively.