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How to Support Veteran Charities for & Military Charities for Military Heroes

How to Support Veteran Charities for & Military Charities for Military Heroes

The brave men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces are the foundation of our countrys defense playing a role, in protecting the freedom of all citizens. Without our military there is a concern that other nations could take advantage of our resources and freedoms. The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) overseen by the Department of Defense (DoD) plays a role in supporting veterans as they transition from service.

Despite its efforts the organization faces constraints that affect its ability to fully assist veteran initiatives. To address this shortfall private nonprofit organizations step up to raise funds for veteran support services. These groups have an understanding of the needs of veterans.

They often provide services or lead targeted fundraising campaigns to help veterans. Veteran charities help fill gaps left by government agencies like the DVA and VA offering aid to personnel after they leave duty. Their commitment ensures that veterans receive assistance as they navigate life after serving their country. By supplementing existing programs these charities expand the range of services and financial support to veterans.

Upon returning from their service many veterans encounter challenges when adapting to civilian life with some struggling to make this transition altogether. Issues such as homelessness, mental health issues and substance abuse remain prevalent, in the veteran community despite the support systems.

Considering the sacrifices made by these individuals for their nation it is only fair that society does not forget any of them. Charitable organizations dedicated to veterans play a role, in providing support to military personnel ensuring they receive necessary services post their service. This article delves into the world of veterans charities exploring the assistance and support they provide to veterans, their utilization of funds the various types of charities available and their functions, as ways in which you can contribute your resources and time to support these noble causes.

How to Identify Impactful Veteran Charities to Support American Ex Military Servicepeople

Americans owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our country. Military veterans don’t get the recognition they deserve from the citizenry or the government after leaving the Armed Forces. 

As a result, many of them end up on the street or struggle financially or personally with rebuilding their lives when reentering society. veterans charities fill the gaps left by the government in this regard. As we all know, dealing with the government and its bureaucracy is challenging, leaving vets jumping through hoops to get the support they need. 

Fortunately, there are many charitable nonprofit organizations focusing on helping veterans and their families. However, many Americans are skeptical about donating to charities as a whole. How do you know that your donation will reach the veteran without the charity pocketing a large percentage of the money for “admin costs?”

Fortunately, there are philanthropy watchdog organizations conducting social impact assessments on these groups and ensuring proper charity due diligence aimed at maximizing donation impact. They promote trustworthy veteran charities and scrutinize the organization's financial operations to ensure transparency of where the money goes. 

If you’re looking to donate your time or money to a veteran's charity, it’s worth following these simple guidelines to ensure your financial contribution ends up with the veteran and not the administrative body. Here’s how to pick a veteran charity that delivers value to the veteran community.

Study the Veterans Charities Values

Start by researching the charities’ missions and how they use donations. Veterans charities operate differently in terms of their value or allocation of funds. Some organizations focus on providing services like employment or education, while others support the families of soldiers or offer mental health services for servicepeople.

Completing Due Diligence on a Veteran Charity or Foundation

How does the charity issue funds to the veteran community? Are they transparent in these practices? How much of the donations they receive end up with the vets, and how much do they take for administrative costs for operating the charity?

Review the organization's annual financial reports and Form 990s to gain insight into how they raise and receive funds, compensate staff, and maintain the charity. Transparent organizations are comfortable sharing this information.

Assess The Service Ratings

Check the websites of charity watchdog organizations like Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and Great Nonprofits for their grading. These organizations rate the charity based on factors like transparency, financial accountability, and fundraising efficacy. 

Review the Support Community

Search social media and online directories to find previous donors' experiences dealing with the organization. Consider the difference the charity makes in veterans' lives, and contact the charity if you have concerns and look for specific veteran case studies. The charity should have a database of verified testimonials from the veterans and community it serves.

Consider Their Charitable Impact on Veterans' Lives

Some veteran charities can stretch donations further than others because they have lower operating costs. How will your donation make a difference? If you want to connect with a charity, look for ones close to your local community. It’s a great way to give back to local charities from areas where your family members who joined the military come from.

Comprehensive Service Offerings Available from Veteran Charities

Nonprofits operating in the sector offer many veteran assistance programs and carry out service-provider partnerships, offering emergency aid and services or financial support to veterans in need. Some offer comprehensive veteran support, while other nonprofits target specific support services for veterans.

Here are examples of service offerings provided by these organizations.

How to File a Disability Claim

Assist injured vets in claiming disability grants after experiencing physical or mental injuries in the field and returning home from active duty.

Disability Compensation

Assitance with claiming financial aid for disabilities incurred during their time in service to their country.

Burial

Funeral services cover the costs of servicemen to limit the financial distress of their families. 

Family Support

Organizations dedicated to providing counseling and emotional or financial support for families who lost a breadwinner during their time in the service.

Dental & Healthcare

Financial aid for veterans who can’t afford medical insurance to treat health issues caused directly or indirectly by their time in service or after discharge. 

Long-Term Care

Care programs to assist disabled and senior veterans who can no longer care for themselves and don’t have the support or financial resources to do so.

Education

Programs designed to assist veterans with building non-military skills to help them enter the workforce and earn a living.

Employment

Services offering placement programs to get vets working and earning an income after reentering civilian life.

Veteran Owned Businesses

Programs designed to help veterans start and fund a business.

Taxes

Assistance with filing taxes and ensuring veterans meet their tax responsibilities. 

Veteran IDs

Providing veterans with special IDs to help them access veterans services. 

Pension

Programs designed to give veterans a fair pension in their golden years, allowing them to enjoy a reasonable quality of life as a senior.

Home Loans

These are programs that provide VA loans to veterans looking to purchase a home after returning home from their time in the military. 

Emergency Assistance

Programs offering dedicated emergency services to veterans in a crisis.

Transportation

Transportation for veterans who are disabled or don’t have their own transportation to get around. 

Recreation

Programs designed to keep veterans busy and destress them from the challenges of integrating into civilian society.

These programs are just a few examples of the countless services offered to veterans upon their return to civilian life. However, many veterans don't know what's available to them. Fortunately, there are organizations that assist veterans with discovering what's available to them and how they can leverage these facilities to improve their quality of life. 

The reality is most veterans can't rely on the government to give them what they need, and veteran charities can assist with providing the services and support they need to ensure they get the opportunity to lead a normal life and the recognition they deserve for serving their country. 

Making Donations to Veterans Charities - The Best Options

Deciding where to make your financial contribution or dedicate your time can be challenging. There are plenty of reputable veteran organizations, but there are also many bad choices. The best charities for veterans offer the most value to the community.

Finding a trustworthy veteran donations vehicle means carefully examining the foundation, the organization's members, and financial statements. 

Nonprofit transparency is critical to assessing the right organizations. Our choices for top veteran charities come from due diligence completed through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. We also examined charity ratings from the watchdogs we previously mentioned, like GuideStar and Charity Navigator. Here are our top choices for the best charities for veterans.

DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Charitable Service Trust

Founded in 1986, this veterans charity offers several programs for veterans and also provides support for their families. Its members receive services for research and rehabilitation for physical immobility and psychological limitations. The organization also emphasizes education and offers a grant program fulfilling the needs of wounded, sick, or homeless veterans considered at-risk. 

Fisher House Foundation

Founded in 1990m, this foundation focused on building comfort homes for veterans and their families, offering free accommodation while their loved one is receiving care at a hospital. The Fisher House Foundation operates its “Hero Miles Program” and manages an independent grant program supporting scholarships for children and spouses of military veterans. 

It also aids other worthy veteran charities, helping them achieve their mission and goals.There are 96 Fisher Homes in operation in the United States, with plans for many more on the way in VA medical centers. To date, the organization has assisted more than 455,000 military families with critical lifesaving support. 

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

This foundation conducted research into the veteran community, discovering that approximately 25,000 dependents of servicepeople are left behind by soldiers who fell in battle over the last four decades. 

Its mission is to offer educational counseling and college scholarships to the children and spouses of these soldiers. Since 2002, the organization has assisted more than 2,800 students in their undergraduate studies.

Thanks USA

Rachel and Kelsi Okun founded this organization in 2006. The sisters started Thanks USA when they were kids. Over the last 18 years, the duo have distributed need-based technical, college, and vocational scholarships to the spouses and children of active-duty US servicepeople. To date, the foundation has awarded over 3,500 scholarships worth more than $10 million.

Hire Heroes USA

Founded in 2004, Hire Heroes USA offers personalized employment assistance services to its members and their spouses. It provides military personnel and their spouses with free resume writing, career coaching, mentoring, and mock interviews.

The foundation works with businesses to hire veterans and retain their services. To date, 

Hire Heroes USA confirmed more than 85,000 hires, shared 36,000 job listings, and recruited more than 1,450 volunteers.

Operation First Response

Founded in 2004, This organization serves Gold Star families, disabled veterans, first responders, and wounded military personnel. The foundation has several programs addressing the needs of US military veterans, offering financial aid for first responders and veterans suffering from mental health issues like PTSD. 

It provides training courses for wounded veterans and backpacks filled with essential supplies for homeless veterans. To date, Operation First Response has facilitated more than $14 million in fundraising capital and services 28,599 members. 

The USO (United Service Organizations)

Founded in 1941, this nonprofit service was chartered by Congress but doesn’t act in a federal capacity. It offers veterans entertainment, care packages, and recreation services to veterans and their families.

USO operates 135 centers globally, with 10 mobile canteens across the United States and in foreign countries where veterans can get a hot meal. Other services at its centers include free WiFi access, reading rooms, libraries, family crisis counseling, nursery facilities, and housing assistance.

Hope for the Warriors

Founded in 2006 by the wives of military personnel, this organization established the nonprofit after witnessing the effect of war on the wives and families of US servicemen. The organization's mission is to improve the quality of life of post-9/11 veterans who sustained psychological and physical injuries while serving their country on active duty. 

Some of the counseling initiatives offered by the foundation include education and career transition, health and wellness, and community-building programs for US military families during their transition to civilian society.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

Operating for more than a century, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offers education and financial assistance to US Navy and Marine Corps members and their families. The society operates close to 250 offices on shore and afloat at bases around the world. To date, the organization provided over $48 million in interest-free grants and loans and grants to more than 100,000 marines, sailors, and their families.

Wounded Warriors Family Support

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel John Folsom founded this nonprofit in 2003. It aims to assist the families of wounded US military personnel or those who lost their lives during active duty. It offers family-friendly retreats free of charge to veterans, their spouses, and children, allowing them to connect in a low-stress environment. The goal of the program is to offer US military families a conduit to bond and heal the psychological and emotional trauma inflicted by the harrows of war.

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust

This trust supports the psychological and physical rehabilitation of injured, ill, injured, and wounded US veterans. Its programs offer members driver’s rehabilitation services for servicepeople with traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) and treatment for mental health issues post-service. The nonprofit also funds programs providing shelter, food, and vital items to at-risk or homeless veterans and their families.

Engaging Beyond Donations: A Guide to Volunteering and Advocacy

You don't need to make financial contributions to help veterans. Giving your time is as important as your money when it comes to assisting the community. Several veteran community outreach programs and advocacy groups are investing resources into advocating for veteran issues that need your help.

Providing community service for veterans is a noble pursuit of your time and energy and a way for everyone to show their support in advocating for veteran rights. We’ll give you some quick tips on how to volunteer for veterans charities and what you can do to make a difference for the community. 

There are hundreds of programs offering assistance to veterans across the country. Visit your local Veterans Service Office (VSO) and speak with an officer about your intentions and availability. Or reach out to your branch of the USO, American Legion, VEG, or Veterans Affairs office. A quick consultation will point you in the right direction and give you ideas, advice, and legal requirements on how to join services that are most helpful in your community.

The officer may offer a position at an established team or recommend you attend a training program before joining one.

Organizations like the Red Cross always look for volunteers for disaster relief programs, blood drives, logistics, staff assistance/supervision, clerical and administrative positions, tech support, drivers, recovery assistance, and more.

Or you could volunteer at a local VA hospital. These facilities are desperate for motivated individuals ready to help, but you’ll need to complete an application; you can’t just walk into the position. Volunteers work check-in and information desks, schedule appointments, and greet veterans when they arrive at the facility. Some tasks are as simple as pushing wheelchairs, helping people to an elevator, or visiting with patients for a chat to keep them occupied and cheer them up.

You could volunteer at a meal station for the homeless and help at meal times in a kitchen. Help with cleaning at a homeless shelter or a drug program to help homeless veterans end their substance abuse problem. Other organizations in need of volunteers include the Semper Fi Fund, IAVA, Team Rubicon, and Team RBW.

There are also clinics that need volunteers. These services are similar to hospitals but have smaller operations for quick visits and checkups. You could also volunteer at a job placement center. If you have good English and computer skills, you could write resumes and cover letters or assist with VA applications.

If you have a vehicle, you can help with rides to medical appointments or run errands for senior veterans who struggle to get around. You could also help them with their yard work to give them some relief. If you have old clothing or blankets at home that you no longer need, donate them to a homeless shelter.

However you choose to volunteer, God bless you for helping.

Conclusion: The Ongoing Need for Veteran Charity Support

Veterans deserve our respect and support. Who knows where America would be right now from a geopolitical perspective without them? Veterans give their lives and energy to defending the country and deserve better treatment when needed. 

A local or national Veteran charity goes a long way to supporting the community and contributing to veteran welfare. Giving your hard-earned money to these service providers is a great way to contribute so these nonprofits can continue to provide for their members. 

However, don't underestimate the power of community support and how volunteering your time can provide a conduit to making a lasting impact on veterans' lives. 

Whether financial or physical, veterans need your help, and that's why every contribution counts.

It’s up to the average American to help. We hope this post gave you insight into how you can make a difference. Remember, you have many resources available to help you find a way to contribute to the veterans community. But it’s up to you to make it happen. 

FAQ's - Supporting & Donating to Veterans Charities

Q: How much of my donation to a military charity actually goes to helping veterans versus administrative costs?

A: It depends on the charity. Reports say nonprofits can take as much as 90% of the donation and allocate it to operational costs, giving very little to needy veterans. That's why it’s important to do your due diligence on the charity before making your donation. Read through our top choices in this review. We vetted all of them, and they’re all great options. 

Q: Are there specific veteran assistance charities focusing on mental health services?

A: Yes. Many veteran charities offer mental health services for military personnel exiting the Armed Forces. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a great example. This nonprofit provided mental healthcare services to more than 78,000 veterans and their families since its inception in 2010. 

Q: Are donations to veteran charities tax-deductible, and how does that work?

A: Yes. Your donation to any VA program or foundation is a tax write-off. You can deduct charitable contributions of property or money to qualifying organizations, provided you itemize the deduction. Typically, you can deduct up to 60% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Some states, like California, limit cash contributions to 50% of AGI, but it may be as low as 20% to 30% in some states. Check with your regulator.

Q: What are the best practices for researching and evaluating veteran charities before donating?

A: Ensure the foundation, organization, or nonprofit’s financial operations are completely transparent. You want your donation to go to the needy veterans, not the back pockets of the administrative staff.

Q: How do charities for veterans address the needs of veterans' families?

A: Many nonprofits, like RVP, provide family services like acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, float therapy, art therapy, drug and alcohol counseling, mental health counseling, marriage and family counseling, and more. 

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