This collection brings together valuable insights from nonprofit organizations, foundations, and government agencies that work directly with veterans in communities across the country. The works collected here provide a deeper understanding of the problems many veterans and their families face and also potential solutions to address these very real challenges. The collection is broken into five key areas where veterans are facing obstacles and where nonprofits and foundations have been focusing their efforts.

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"Soldiers" by Adam Baker licensed under CC NC 2.0

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Enriching Veterans' Lives: Through An Evidence Based Approach

February 24, 2016

This paper marks the launch of a new IVMF series focused on the critical topics of program evaluation, performance measurement, and evidence-based practice (EBP). The purpose of the series is to inform the broader community of veteran and military family serving organizations by highlighting examples of veteran and military serving organizations employing various methods of EBP, program evaluation, and assessment. By highlighting leading practices across the U.S., this series aims to promote learning and greater impact in service delivery across our nation's evolving and maturing community of veteran and military organizations.This case illustration highlights the evaluation efforts of the rising veteran and military serving organization Team, Red, White & Blue (Team RWB). Team RWB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010 with the mission of enriching the lives of America's veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. Despite its relative youth, in 2014, the George W. Bush Institute's (GWBI) Military Service Initiative and the IVMF both identified Team RWB as a leading organization in building a robust measurement and evaluation program. The paper highlights how Team RWB integrates theory and research to drive its programming as an evidence-based wellness intervention and, in turn, produce data to inform its own organizational practice.Key HighlightsTeam RWB is an organization that values, at all levels, trust and transparency with its partners, funders, and community. This culture -- embodied by the 'Eagle Ethos' of positivity, passion, people, community, camaraderie, and commitment -- exists throughout the organization from the senior executive down to the community level.Research and evaluation of RWB's programs is and will remain vital to communicating its impact and improving how it targets resources to improve and grow its programs. The Team RWB "Eagle Research Center" is building an evidence base by quantitatively measuring its outcomes and using data to improve its program delivery.More than 1,800 veterans surveyed in 2014 and 2,500 surveyed in 2015 self-reported increases in creating authentic relationships with others, increasing their sense of purpose, and improving their health, by participating in Team RWB. Veterans also noted that participating in Team RWB had indirect benefits in their family relationships and work. Improvements on these dimensions contribute to an enriched life, with more program engagement leading to more enrichment.Team RWB achieves these results through local, consistent, and inclusive programs. The chapter and Community programs provide opportunities for physical, social, and service activities. The Leadership Development Program is comprised of national athletic and leadership camps, and a newly launched tiered leader development program.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Charting the Sea of Goodwill

December 9, 2015

"Charting The Sea Of Goodwill," conducts a comprehensive landscape analysis of the military and veteran-service organization space and its funding sources, and finds that while the support needed by more than 21 million veterans in America is growing, philanthropic support is fragmented and charitable contributions are not keeping pace. The authors of the report provide a comprehensive overview of the state of philanthropy for the military and veteran community from 2001 until now.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Supporting Our Region's Veterans: Assessing the Network of Services Available for Post 9/11 Veterans and Their Families in Northern Virginia

May 7, 2014

Just across the river from our nation's capital, NOVA is home to countless icons representing the history of warfare in the United States and the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms. From Arlington National Cemetery, to the Marine Corps War Memorial, to the United States Air Force Memorial, to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, to the Pentagon itself, these landmarks draw millions of visitors each year and provide places for Americans to publicly mourn, celebrate, and remember our service men and women. Less public, however, are the thousands of veterans and their families living in NOVA and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who are restarting their civilian lives after serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), NOVA is home more 35,000 that have served since 2001. Indeed, Virginia has the highest Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veteran ratio of all 50 states.Dozens of local organizations have risen to the challenge of supporting NOVA's post-9/11 veterans. These organizations deliver a range of interventions from financial counseling, to job training, to mental health services. It is clear that a wide array of support is available. What is less clear is exactly what those needs are and how local organizations are working collectively to address them. In an effort to better understand this landscape, the Community Foundation -- in partnership with the United Way of the National Capital Area and with the support of Deloitte -- developed this report to gain a more in-depth understanding of NOVA's veteran support landscape. This report is intended to provide the Community Foundation and other local community-based organizations with the insights needed to strategically target and coordinate grant dollars toward the greatest needs

Education & Employment; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation; Health & Well-being

Research Advances: January 2014

January 1, 2014

The VA has a comprehensive research agenda to help the newest generation of Veterans -- those returning from operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn. In addition to exploring new treatments for traumatic brain injury and other complex blast-related injuries, VA researchers are examining ways to improve the delivery of health care services for these Veterans and promote their reintegration back into their families, communities, and workplaces.This publication reviews recent advances in research about Veterans' health and well-being.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Needs Assessment: Veterans in the Western United States

December 13, 2013

In this report, the authors focus on the diverse challenges facing veterans in 12 states and communities that account for nearly one-third of all veterans nationwide. They report on the specific challenges of mental health care, employment, housing, family support, reintegration and legal matters with which veterans in the region are contending and propose steps to address them. Among their recommendations, Mr. Carter and Ms. Kidder urge private philanthropists, as well as public funders, to encourage communities to build collaboration and coordination mechanisms that allocate increasingly scarce resources efficiently and

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Taking Care of the New Home Front: Leveraging Greater Federal Resources to Expand Community Capacity for NYS Veterans and Families

December 1, 2013

This report from the Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) looks at the progress of the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, a first-of-its-kind initiative that assists veteran families at imminent risk of homelessness in maintaining safe, permanent housing.SSVF is also designed to meet the needs of veteran families that have become homeless by rapidly re-engaging with permanent housing and other support structures to achieve quick housing outcomes and community integration. SSVF ensures that every veteran household in New York State would have access to high-quality, outcome-oriented homelessness prevention services.The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) and IVMF recognized this program as an opportunity to make a demonstrable impact in preventing veteran homelessness in New York State. With support from NYSHealth, the IVMF is working to grow the capacity for SSVF grantee applicants and will work with existing grantees to help increase their capacity to serve veterans. As result of NYSHealth's investment, New York State secured $26 million in federal resources through the SSVF program in 2013.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Reintegration Partnership Project: Summary of Key Findings and Recommendations

December 1, 2013

There are approximately 2.6 million men and women who have served in the U.S. military during the post-9/11 period and their transitions home after deployment often create a rollercoaster of mixed experiences. About 40 percent of the fighting and support services deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are members of the National Guard and Reserve Forces who often return to civilian communities that are ill-prepared to accommodate their reintegration needs. This brief describes the Reintegration Partnership Project, which explored the transition process for California National Guard members and their families after Reintegration Skills Training (RST), an evidence-based problem-solving practice aimed at easing the challenges associated with transition from combat to civilian life. It also reports findings of a follow-up assessment of the reintegration experience for California National Guard members.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Collective Impact for Washington State Veterans and Military Families

October 1, 2013

Military families in the United States are facing enormous challenges. Since 2001, more than 2.6 million troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and now face rates of suicide, depression, and unemployment that have sounded the alarm for action. Though there is wide community support for veterans and their families, the system is fragmented. There are a multitude of services available to the nation's veterans, but the disjointed nature of how they are provided by federal agencies, and a wide variety of state and community-based organizations makes it difficult for veterans and their families to navigate the systemand receive the services they need.The federally funded programs fluctuate based on presidential and congressional priorities and national emergencies. The landscape is dotted with nonprofit organizations, corporations, educational institutions, volunteer groups, public agencies and private foundations. Each provides an array of services or programs designed to meet specific needs of the United States' approximately 22 million veterans.A collaborative that builds on the strengths of the community can be the most effective solution to this fragmentation by combining resources, identifying promising programs and strategizing for collective impact. Innovation will not be made by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alone. Nonprofits and community-based organizations have limited resources and focused scopes. Each operates in isolation. A model of public-private partnerships that brings together a diverse cross-sector of stakeholders has the potential to effect large-scale change.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Enhancing the Well-Being of America's Veterans and Their Families: A Call to Action for a National Veterans Policy

June 1, 2013

This meeting was convened by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Social Work Policy Institute (SWPI) in collaboration with supporting partner, the University of Southern California School of Social Work (USC) and its Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families. This symposium was convened on June 12-13, 2013 as a catalyst for improving both policies and practices, and to explore the feasibility of promoting a national veterans policy. The more than 50 participants represented national organizations, government agencies, community service providers, foundations and universities. The participants had expertise in health, behavioral health and human service delivery systems and a large number of the participants were veterans, family members of veterans, or both.The symposium participants' diverse perspectives and experiences in agencies, organizations and universities helped to stimulate thinking about the policies that support our nation's veterans, and to look at how we can leverage what we already have, identify what changes are needed, and suggest how we can best balance federal, state and community roles, responsibilities and resources to enhance the well-being of our nation's veterans and their families.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation; Health & Well-being

2013 Military Family Lifestyle Survey: Comprehensive Report

May 1, 2013

Despite the drawdown of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the United States will continue to rely on an all-volunteermilitary for global stability and security for the foreseeable future. The Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey takes a proactive look at the current needs and priorities of military families and service members and what can be done to support them. The goal of the survey is to provide concrete data and information about prominent aspects of the military lifestyle so that decisionmakers can make informed choices on their behalf. After all, the first step in recognizing the unique and substantial contributions military families make to this nation's security and collective strength, is to understand their perspective and experiences while serving.Each year, Blue Star Families collects data and disseminates the results so that stakeholders can address military families with a timely and relevant perspective. In doing so, decision-makers may be able to target efforts for better reception, applicability, and successful outreach to military families in communities across the nation and around the world. This report details the results and analysis of the fourth annual Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey.The survey, which was conducted online in November 2012 with more than 5,100 military family respondents, was designed to reveal key trends in today's military families by examining, among other things, feelings of stress, financialreadiness, spouse employment, effects of deployment, levels of communication, behavioral and mental health, wellbeing, and civic engagement. !e results provide clear insight into the unique lifestyles of modern-day military families after more than a decade of continuous war.

Family & Community Reintegration; Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

Providing for the Casualties of War: The American Experience Since WWII

April 25, 2013

War has always been a dangerous business, bringing injury, wounds, and death, and -- until recently -- often disease. What has changed over time, most dramatically in the last 150 or so years, is the care these casualties receive and who provides it. Medical services have become highly organized and are state sponsored. Diseases are now prevented through vaccination and good sanitation. Sedation now ameliorates pain, and antibiotics combat infection. Wounds that once meant amputation or death no longer do so. Transfers from the field to more-capable hospitals are now as swift as aircraft can make them. The mental consequences of war are now seen as genuine illnesses and treated accordingly, rather than punished to the extreme. Likewise, treatment of those disabled by war and of veterans generally has changed markedly -- along with who supplies these and other benefits. This book looks at the history of how humanity has cared for its war casualties, from ancient times through the aftermath of World War II. For each historical period, the author examines the care the sick and wounded received in the field and in hospitals, the care given to the disabled veteran and his dependents, and who provided that care and how. He shows how the lessons of history have informed the American experience over time. Finally, the author sums up this history thematically, focusing on changes in the nature and treatment of injuries, organization of services on and off the battlefield, the role of the state in providing care, and the invisible wounds of war.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation

A National Veterans Strategy: The Economic, Social and Security Imperative

February 19, 2013

This publication details the foundational logic supporting a call to action, related to a broad-based effort to articulate and institutionalize a National Veterans Strategy. We argue that coordinated, "whole-of-government" action toward this end is essential to meet the nation's most important economic, social, and security obligations. Furthermore, we contend that the second Obama administration, working in close collaboration with executive agencies, Congress, and the private sector, is well-positioned to act on what we perceive to be a historic opportunity -- capitalizing on both the foundations of veteran-focused policy and progress enacted over the past decade and the overwhelming public support for returning veterans and military families -- to craft and institutionalize a National Veterans Strategy.Our purpose is to provide a researched and logically-developed case for action that is grounded in this nation's social and cultural traditions and attuned to the practical realities of our contemporary economic and political climate.

Funding, Strategy, & Evaluation