Bob Woodruff Foundation Announces Spring Grants

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$3.2M to support innovative programs serving today's veterans.

Growing Veterans is among the innovative programs receiving support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

Growing Veterans is among the innovative programs receiving support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges our veterans face when returning home. Working together offers a holistic approach that drives collective impact for the entire veteran community.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation today announces grants of nearly $3.2 million to nonprofits running innovative programs that meet the needs of post-9/11 injured veterans and their families. The funding nearly matches total grants of $3.4 million awarded in 2014.

“We have emerged as a leader in the veteran space by honing the ability to cut through the noise to find, fund and shape programs that meet the needs of our injured heroes and their families,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “A great deal of due diligence goes into vetting our grantees and ensuring that they can deliver measurable results.”

Only a quarter of the organizations that submitted proposals were approved for the spring 2015 grants. The 28 programs and 26 organizations awarded grants are projected to impact the lives of approximately 110,000 injured service members, veterans and their families in all 50 states.

The grants address a myriad of critical issues—entrepreneurship and employment, peer support, legal assistance, homelessness, travel, and adaptive sports training—while empowering veterans to help themselves by giving back to their communities.

In addition to funding, grantees also enjoy access to the Bob Woodruff Foundation grantee network, which encourages collaboration and sharing of best practices.

“There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges our veterans face when returning home,” said Dougherty. “Working together offers a holistic approach that drives collective impact for the entire veteran community.”

Since 2006, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has invested more than $28 million in programs reaching more than 2 million injured service members, veterans and their families in three key areas: Education and Employment, Rehabilitation and Recovery, and Quality of Life. Proposals to the Bob Woodruff Foundation are by invitation only, with grants awarded biannually.

Learn more about the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) at http://www.BobWoodruffFoundation.org.

The list of BWF grantees and programs follows:

American Council on Education (ACE)
Veteran-Friendly Counseling Center Program
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment

ACE -- the major coordinating body of the nation’s higher education programs -- and the Center for Deployment Psychology will use the Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to fund training for faculty, staff and mental health care professionals to help them better understand military culture and veteran transition issues. This holistic approach helps service members and veterans focus on academic goals and on the skills needed to obtain gainful employment as they transition from military service to civilian life.

Atlantic Council
Take Point Initiative
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment

Veterans participating in the Take Point Initiative receive networking, mentoring and training opportunities to launch careers as national security and international affairs leaders. Through this grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, post-9/11 veterans submit proposals for solutions or non-profit. Ten finalists will be paired with mentors, thought leaders, and policy advisors to guide them and help them refine their model, identify sector gaps, and compete for seed funding. Take Point alumni provide mentoring in advanced skills developed in a hands-on environment, while meeting with top national leaders such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Community Solutions
Zero: 2016
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

Community Solutions works for a future without homelessness. Life expectancy studies indicate that homeless individuals have, on average, a life span 25 years shorter than that of the general population and data indicates that veterans are over-represented in the homeless population. Zero: 2016 will use the Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to implement data and performance management strategies, provide hands on coaching and create a robust shared-learning environment to end homelessness for all post-9/11 veterans in 75 participating communities.

The Employment and Disability Institute (EDI) at Cornell University
Strategies for Gaining Insights into the Employment Challenges of Veterans with Disabilities
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment

EDI advances learning, policies and practices that contribute to the development of inclusive workplaces and communities for people with disabilities. EDI will use the Bob Woodruff foundation grant to solicit input from veterans with disabilities, their family members and their employers regarding their concerns, challenges, triumphs and interest in achieving full integration and participation in employment and community life. The data will be compiled into a report along with recommendations for interventions and current best practices to restore pride, growth, and a sense of well being for veterans with disabilities and their family members, paving the way to productive employment.

Disabled Sports USA
Helmets for Heroes -- Providing Severely Wounded Veterans Community-Based Adaptive Sports Opportunities and Safety Equipment
Location: National
Issue Area: Rehabilitation and Recovery

Disabled Sports USA – a national organization providing leadership and opportunities to individuals with disabilities to develop independence and confidence through sports and educational programs -- will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to provide safe, effective adaptive sports opportunities to 300 disabled veterans in 15 states. Adaptive sports instructors will receive sports-specific injury awareness booklets and 325 helmets will be provided to disabled veterans through the Helmets4Heroes program.

Dog Tag Inc.
Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program
Location: Georgetown University with National Reach
Issue Area: Education and Employment

Dog Tag Inc. provides a transformative opportunity for ill, injured, or wounded veterans, spouses, and caregivers through education powered by Georgetown University and experiential learning at Dog Tag Bakery. The Bob Woodruff Foundation grant will be used to fund stipends, expenses, and tuition for a class of 20 fellows. Upon completion of the 5-month training program, transitioning veterans and their families will be business ready, competitive and employable.

Dryhootch of America
Dryhootch FOB Forward
Location: Milwaukee and Chicago
Issue Area: Quality of Life

Dryhootch -- a community based non-profit organization established by veterans for veterans -- provides a safe, drug- and alcohol-free environment for veterans, their families and their extended networks. Dryhootch, which develops peer support programs in local communities and nationally through smart technology and partnerships, will use the Bob Woodruff Foundation funding to expand its Peer FOBs (forward operating bases) to additional locations. Dryhootch veterans who are certified to provide peer support will compliment services provided by the VA and Vet Centers.

Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC)
Bob Woodruff Foundation Farming Fellowship Fund & National Farmer Veteran Stakeholders Conference
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment; Quality of Life

FVC gives veterans the opportunity to succeed as farmers and as agricultural leaders through education, training and collaboration. Its peer support network and financial assistance helps veterans survive the beginning years of farming. FVC will use the grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to help 25 post-9/11 veterans invest in farm operations and grow their businesses. The Stakeholder Conference offers FVC fellows an opportunity to meet their peers and gain agriculture knowledge. The conference also illustrates the need for programs that support farmer veterans to the representatives of government, higher education and nonprofit organizations attending the conference.

Growing Veterans
Growing Veterans Sustainable Development Peer Support Program
Location: Washington State
Issue Area: Quality of Life

Growing Veterans empowers military veterans to connect with their communities and to one another by growing food. Growing Veterans will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to strengthen its organizational infrastructure; enrich its impact on community reintegration through self-sustaining systems that train veterans and community members in veteran peer support and suicide intervention; and train veterans to use their leadership skills to strengthen the sustainable agriculture movement. The Growing Veterans model provides a holistic approach to a multitude of issues, while decreasing the negative stigma that the veteran population tends to attach to seeking help.

Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation
Dryhootch/Drop-In Center with Peer Support Specialists
Location: Lake County, Ill.
Issue Area: Quality of Life

The Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (LCVFSF) provides free, confidential care to service members and their families through a network of veteran volunteers, peer-to-peer specialists and community resources. Through a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, LCVFSF will open a Dryhootch Drop-in Center to provide veterans with a safe and inviting place for coffee, conversation and activities. It will be staffed with certified veteran peer support specialists and providers.

Luke’s Wings
Wounded Warrior Transportation Assistance Program
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

Luke’s Wings, recognizes the need for family members to be at the side of injured service members during hospitalization and rehabilitation, and purchases travel agency services and travel tickets for loved ones. The Luke Wing’s Transportation Assistance Program will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to provide over 150 flights in one year to ease the financial burden on families needing ongoing travel support during long periods of recovery and rehabilitation at Walter Reed and other military medical centers.

Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
“Supporting the Complex Transitioning Needs of Children of Veterans” Course Development
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

MCEC is dedicated to ensuring inclusive, quality educational opportunities for all military-connected children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition. MCEC will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to create a course for school personnel and parents in 126 member school districts. The course will identify and explore the strengths and stressors faced by children of wounded military service members as they transition from military service to civilian life while simultaneously coping with the combat-related illnesses or injuries of a parent. In 2013 and 2014, a combined 148,000 children under the age of 10 had a parent who transitioned from military service. Even though more than half of the families stated that readjustment to civilian life was “difficult,” the impact on children is often overlooked and unaddressed during the transition to civilian life.

National Military Family Association (NMFA)
National Military Family Association and its Operation Purple® Convening for Best Practices and Barriers to Service
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

NMFA advocates for benefits and programs that strengthen and protect military families. NMFA will use its grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to bring together public agencies, private organizations and the caregiver community to identify best practices about successful outreach to the vulnerable wounded population and to learn how to connect the families of the wounded to available services. Best practices will then be incorporated into outreach for NMFA’s Operation Purple family retreats with the goal of increased attendance.

Our Military Kids
One Child at a Time
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

Our Military Kids provides grants to children of wounded service members to pay for extracurricular activities and tutoring programs that nurture and sustain children while a parent is recovering. Since its inception, Our Military Kids has provided more than 2,300 grants totaling $1 million to children of the wounded in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Our Military Kids will use Bob Woodruff Foundation funding to provide 200 grants to 700 family members in need of a positive outlet. Military children benefit from focusing their time and energy on an activity of importance to them, which helps reduce the stress level of the injured military parent and the entire family.

Pat Tillman Foundation
Tillman Scholar Program – Pat Tillman Leadership Summit
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment

The Pat Tillman Foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships and building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others. Through its grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Pat Tillman Foundation will convene more than 100 Tillman Scholars to address difficult challenges affected our country and our communities. The 3-day event will foster collaboration across areas such as medicine, business, law, science, education and the arts. The Pat Tillman Foundation seeks to enhance the academic success of veterans and military spouses by reducing their dependency on student loans and debt repayment and to create a peer and professional community for career success.

Quality of Life Foundation (QOLF)
Wounded Veteran Family Care Program
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

QOLF seeks to improve the quality of life of individuals and families who provide daily, substantial care for catastrophically wounded, ill or injured veterans. QOLF will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to address unmet needs by delivering tailored solutions for caregivers through its Wounded Veteran Family Care Program, which provides support to children and caregivers not available through other public or private sources.

Research Foundation of the City University of New York on behalf of Hunter College
Project for Return and Opportunity In Veterans (PROVE)
Location: New York
Issue Area: Education and Employment

PROVE helps veterans transition to student life at City University of New York (CUNY) campuses. PROVE will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to enhance and improve training for 14 social work interns to prepare them to assist student veterans with varied needs. This will not only increase the availability of services to veterans but will also develop a network of social workers who understand military culture. PROVE’s goal is to provide social work services to at least 1,100 student veterans at seven CUNY college campuses.

Rutgers University Foundation
Vet2Vet Talk
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

The Rutgers University Foundation Vet2Vet Talk program offers veterans and their families with 24/7 access to live, confidential peer support with other veterans. Vet2Vet Talk will use the Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to continue its important work of quickly and seamlessly providing peer support to thousands of veterans nationwide who are experiencing social isolation, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, medical issues, aggression and relationship and family issues.

Team Rubicon (TR)
Clay Hunt Fellowship Program & the Team Rubicon National Leadership Conference
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life and Education & Employment

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders for disaster relief. Team Rubicon will use its grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to build upon the Clay Hunt Fellowship Program, which provides veterans an opportunity for professional development. Named for Marine veteran Clay Hunt, who served in the infantry alongside Team Rubicon cofounder Jake Wood in Iraq and Afghanistan and lost his battle with PTS in 2011, the Clay Hunt program will give ten Fellows an opportunity to gain experience in nonprofit management and to build leadership skills through TR’s disaster response initiatives. TR is also receiving funding from BWF for its National Leadership Conference to help volunteers share best practices and increase veteran engagement. It also will provide training there in the Incident Command System, which is universally used by emergency managers; and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).

The Bunker
The Bunker Curriculum & Programmatic Model
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment

The Bunker empowers veterans as leaders in innovation by building local networked communities and a national infrastructure of veteran entrepreneurs to help connect veterans to the right people, networks and resources they need to realize their potential. The Bunker will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to build out their program model that supports veteran entrepreneurs to include development of a 14-week program, a national mentoring platform, training for facilitators and an online infrastructure to host a library of resources. Many returning veterans express a desire to become self-employed entrepreneurs but there are very few resources beyond formal education to support them. The Bunker sets the stage for organic growth by creating new chapters for veterans with the aspiration of starting and growing a business.

The Mission Continues (TMC)
Service Platoon Leadership Summit
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

The Mission Continues helps veterans adjusting to life at home find new missions in their communities so that their legacy can continue to be one of action and service. TMC will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to bring volunteer TMC platoon and squad leaders from across the country to the Service Platoon Leadership Summit. These veteran leaders, along with staff, will share best practices and learn from inspiring leaders as they expand and strengthen the impact of their service platoons. The 3,000-plus veterans who are members of service platoons, and the 27 cities in which these platoons currently serve, will benefit from the leadership skills and knowledge gained by these platoon leaders to address community needs.

The Telling Project
Marching Forward Phase 2, the Telling Project Institute
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life

The Telling Project uses theater to bridge the civilian/military divide at the community level by creating opportunities for veterans and military family members to tell their stories to their communities. The Telling Project will use the Bob Woodruff Foundation funding to expand from 8 to 12 productions, bring performances to communities across the nation, give more veterans and military family members the opportunity to share their experiences and give thousands of community members an opportunity to bear witness to the veteran experience. Greater understanding fosters receptivity, eases veteran transition back into their communities and helps civilians recognize the skills and experience of veterans.

UCLA Operation Mend
Buddy Program for TBI/PTSD Program Expansion
Location: UCLA – National Reach
Issue Area: Rehabilitation and Recovery

UCLA’s Operation Mend partners with the military to heal the wounds of war through leading-edge patient care, research and education. Operation Mend will use its Bob Woodruff Foundation grant to provide volunteer support and community engagement for its innovative surgical program and for its intensive traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) program, both of which will serve approximately 200 veterans and their family members over the next two years. Operation Mend’s surgical program not only helps restore critical function to areas like hands and legs, but also provides dramatic cosmetic improvement to severely burned and injured patients. Operation Mend’s services give veterans the confidence to get back into the world and they help to improve family, work and psychological health.

Veterans Inc.
Post-9/11 Peer Support Engagement and Treatment Program
Location: Massachusetts
Issue Area: Rehabilitation and Recovery

Veterans Inc. seeks to end homelessness among veterans by helping them regain control of their lives. The Veterans Inc. Peer Support Engagement and Treatment Program will use funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to provide outreach, peer support and a wide array of supportive services -- housing assistance, assistance with benefits, employment and training services, educational applications, and access to in-house behavioral health treatment -- to post-9/11 veterans. The provision of behavioral health services within a veteran specific culture and the utilization of peer support will allow for better engagement among clients in treatment services.

University of Michigan
Veterans Law Clinic
Location: Michigan State
Issue Area: Quality of Life

With support from a grant by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a newly-created Michigan Law Veterans Clinic will provide free representation for veterans and, in some instances, their immediate families in civil matters ranging from eviction, collection, and consumer contracts to family law cases. In addition, the clinic will assist veterans with service-related matters such as disability benefits and discharge status challenges. Through this clinic, 10-14 trained law students will provide 5,500 hours of pro-bono services to service members every year. The students will work hand-in-hand with the local VA and various campus units, including departments of psychology, social work and medicine. To date, no other school has chosen to marshal its resources to add a clinical teacher-training component to a veterans clinic. Through this training, Michigan Law students will create a collaborative relationship between social and medical service providers and provide guidance when vets need it most.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation:
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) is the nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring injured service members and their families are thriving long after they return home. A national organization with grassroots reach, the Bob Woodruff Foundation complements the work of the federal government —diligently navigating the maze of more than 46,000 nonprofits providing services to veterans—finds, funds and shapes innovative programs, and holds them accountable for results. To date, BWF has invested more than $28 million in public education and solutions, reaching more than 2 million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by award-winning anchor Bob Woodruff and his family, whose own experiences inspired them to help make sure the nation’s heroes have access to the high level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it. For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org

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Sam Kille
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