Give an Hour Announces Community Blueprint Demonstration Projects to Address Needs of Military Families; Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Awards $2 Million Grant

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Give an Hour™, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their loved ones, announces two demonstration projects of the Community Blueprint, a collaborative effort to help communities address the needs of veterans and military families on a local level.

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Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D.

War has both short-term and long-term consequences that can influence the emotional and physical health of returning veterans and their family members for many years to come.

Give an Hour™, a national nonprofit organization providing free mental health services to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their loved ones, announces two demonstration projects of the Community Blueprint, a collaborative effort to help communities address the needs of veterans and military families on a local level.

Admiral Michael G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will speak at the announcement of the projects. The event, to be held at the Women in Military Service Memorial in Washington, D.C., will include a discussion about the need for communities to support and assist the military families in their area. On the panel will be Mr. Rob Gordon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; Ms. Tracy Hoover, Chief of Staff for Points of Light; Mr. Jim Lorraine, Executive Director of Central Savannah River Area – Wounded Warrior Care Project; and Mrs. Deborah Mullen, wife of CJCS and military advocate. Mark Thompson of Time magazine will facilitate the discussion.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has awarded Give an Hour™ a $2 million grant to fund the implementation of the Community Blueprint in two demonstration sites, Norfolk, Va., and Fayetteville, N.C.

The Walmart Foundation has committed $144,000 in support of the program, which will be used to provide grants to a total of 16 local organizations in Norfolk and Fayetteville, with the goal of improving the services they deliver to the military community. These organizations will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $15,000.

There is universal public support for service members, veterans, and their families. Federal, state, and local governments, as well as nonprofit, private, and philanthropic resources and services, have grown and improved in communities across the Unites States. But supporting veterans, service members, and their families is about ensuring that communities are prepared to organize the resources and services that help military families lead healthy, successful lives. There remain significant gaps in services and a great deal of untapped potential for providing effective and sustainable care through focused planning and coordination.
To address these needs by leveraging the combined experience and expertise of collaborating organizations, volunteers from several leading nonprofits are creating an online Community Blueprint tool that will help local community leaders assess and improve their community’s support for veterans, service members, and their families. The nonprofits on the Community Blueprint Advisory Council cover a wide range of areas of focus and expertise: American Legion Auxiliary, American Red Cross, America’s Promise Alliance, Armed Forces Services Corporation, Blue Star Families, Give an Hour™, Military Child Education Coalition, Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association, Operation Homefront, Points of Light Institute/HandsOn Network, ServiceNation: Mission Serve, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, and the Veterans’ Innovation Center.

With the grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Give an Hour™ will lead the implementation of the Community Blueprint in the demonstration cities. Give an Hour™ is inviting local and national organizations to help implement the program and to evaluate successes.

“War has both short-term and long-term consequences that can influence the emotional and physical health of returning veterans and their family members for many years to come. There are a multitude of resources available to soldiers and their families, but in many instances these resources are disconnected and underutilized,” says John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. "Strategic, coordinated community partnerships can support the military in its efforts to address this important issue. The Community Blueprint will guide community leaders, local governments, and the military as they work together to develop the supportive communities that our veterans and their families deserve.”

“We are grateful for the generosity of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and to Walmart for recognizing the importance of harnessing the goodwill of communities in supporting the military families who are left behind when their service members deploy and in supporting the service members as they return home,” said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour™. “This kind of support, we’ve found, is critical to the successful reintegration of military families back into their communities. These grants will help us to evaluate vital services and highlight innovative examples, ensuring they are available and easily accessible to military men and women and families, wherever they live.”

About Give an Hour™
Give an Hour™ is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), founded in September 2005 by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area. The organization’s mission is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. Currently, Give an Hour™ is dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of military personnel, their families, and the communities affected by the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of March 2011, Give an Hour™ has more than 5,600 providers across the nation—in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam—with more volunteer mental health professionals joining its network every day. In addition to counseling, providers also consult to schools, first responders, employers, and community organizations. Give an Hour™ has already provided nearly 40,000 hours of free service, valued at more than $4 million. To learn more, visit http://www.giveanhour.org.

About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is committed to helping reduce health disparities around the world by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight for better health. The Foundation’s work related to Mental Health in the United States falls under the Mental Health and Well-being program. Beyond mental health, the Foundation also focuses on HIV/AIDS in Africa through its SECURE THE FUTURE® program, hepatitis B and C in Asia through its Delivering Hope program, cancer in Central and Eastern Europe through its Bridging Cancer Care program, and type 2 diabetes in the U.S. through its Together On Diabetes program.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better. Between Feburary 1, 2010, and January 31, 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $732 million in cash and in-kind gifts, including donating 257 million pounds of nutritious food to local food banks across America. The Foundation also supports education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. Internationally, Walmart gave $66 million in cash and in-kind gifts to charitable organizations. To learn more, visit http://www.walmartfoundation.org.

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Lauren Itzkowitz
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