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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The State of the American Veteran: The San Francisco Veterans Study

May 1, 2017

"The State of the American Veteran: The San Francisco Veterans Study" by the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) outlines the findings of a survey conducted 2016-17 of 722 veterans living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This comprehensive study of the military population represents the fourth overall—and third in the state of California. It explored numerous areas, such as transition challenges, employment and finances, housing, health and access to veteran services.Emerging as a theme across various studies is that veterans throughout the state and the nation encounter significant transition issues. The San Francisco Veterans Study highlights that separating service members are not being engaged effectively or early enough in their transition process.

Data Sharing Helps Reduce Number of Homeless Veterans

April 1, 2017

Virginia's information analysis assists in determining needs, managing resources.

Arts Deployed: An Action Guide for Community Arts & Military Programming

February 1, 2017

A collaboration between AFTA's National Initiative on Arts & Health and the Military and the Local Arts Advancement departments, Arts Deployed is a guide for arts organizations and artists interested in bringing creative arts programming to military and Veteran communities, their caregivers, and families.  The guide helps local arts organizations and artists understand their unique roles in serving the military and Veteran communities; details the expansive benefits the arts have on the health and well-being of these communities; and lays the groundwork—step-by-step, from establishing fruitful partnerships with the military and Veteran sector, through funding and promotion—for arts organizations and artists to build their own creative arts initiative for their local military and/or Veteran communities.   Arts Deployed also breaks down three current program models—The Veterans History Project, The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, and the Living History Veterans Project—so that these programs can be replicated in any community.   Rich with examples of current local arts programming throughout the U.S. —including The Oklahoma Arts and Military Initiative, California Arts Council's Veterans Initiative in the Arts, and Colorado's Fine Arts Center's Military & the Arts Program, among others—Arts Deployed also offers a directory of arts and military national touring performances, exhibitions, and writing workshops that can be brought to any community.   Arts Deployed honors the highly effective and robust arts and military programs that exist all across the country and seeks to help close a critical gap, as the demand for these services far exceeds their number. With the proper motivation, training, connection to information and resources, and access to partners in the military and Veteran communities, local arts organizations and artists can make a powerful difference.

Health & Well-being

Health of Those Who Have Served Report 2016, Executive Summary

November 1, 2016

United Health Foundation is committed to helping communities across the country understand the similarities and differences between the health of those who have served and those who have not served (hereafter referred to as "civilians" for the purposes of this document). America's Health Rankings Health of Those Who Have Served Report reflects United Health Foundation's commitment to offering data-driven insights that can stimulate dialogue and action that continues to advance the health of those who have served, and builds upon the United Health Foundation's philanthropic initiatives to support members of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans, and their families across the country.America's Health Rankings, in partnership with Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), collaborated with an advisory steering group of leading military and veterans and public health organizations to develop a holistic study of the health of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces compared with the health of civilians. The report establishes a baseline portrait of the health of those who have served, analyzing 24 health measures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)–the world's largest, annual population-based telephone survey of more than 400,000 people.

Health & Well-being

Needs Assessment: Veterans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Region

March 29, 2016

The King Foundation and a collaborative of funders commissioned the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to assess the needs of veterans in the region to assist in planning future philanthropic investment by the Foundation and its partners. This report summarizes research conducted by CNAS researchers between August 2015 and February 2016, using a mixed-methods approach that included qualitative research on regional trends; quantitative research using data made public by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and other agencies; a targeted survey of veterans in the region; and discussion groups with participants representing more than 50 organizations that serve those veterans.The following assessment attempts to answer the following research questions: What is the state of veterans in the DFW region? Where do needs exist among the DFW veteran population? How are the needs of veterans being met in the DFW region? What are the main efforts at meeting the needs of veterans? How does the coordination of existing services take place, and is there a collaborative structure in the region that guides investments, services, and the overall care?

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

Needs Assessment: Veterans in Southwest Pennsylvania

November 17, 2015

This assessment by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) finds that Southwest Pennsylvania veterans are struggling with issues pertaining to education, access to benefits and economic security immediately after leaving military service. It also finds that the region's 235,000 veterans differ dramatically in how they feel about veterans benefits and their own well-being depending on whether they served before 9/11 or after. This mixed methods study provides a comprehensive portrait of veterans in Southwest Pennsylvania, one of the nation's largest and densest veterans communities. CNAS researchers used cutting-edge analytical tools from the Veterans Data Project to better understand the population, leveraging public data sets made available by DoD, VA, and the Census Bureau to understand macro-level trends in the area. In addition to this data, the CNAS team conducted interviews and working group discussions with individuals representing more than 50 public, private and nonprofit sector organizations serving veterans in the region, and conducted surveys of area veterans as well.

Education & Employment; Health & Well-being

Fixing Veterans Health Care: A Bipartisan Policy Taskforce

February 23, 2015

The Concerned Veterans for America convened the Fixing Veterans Health Care Taskforce with the mission of isolating existing challenges to veterans' health care, identifying systemic solutions, and proposing concrete reforms that would improve health care delivery for our nation's veterans. It is the hope of CVA that the recommendations made in this report will dramatically improve health care access, timeliness, and outcomes for eligible veterans

Health & Well-being

Michigan Veterans Community Action Teams: Report On The Survey Of Veterans Service Providers

September 10, 2014

The Michigan Veterans Community Action Teams (MIVCAT) project is a collaborative community model created by the Altarum to enhance the delivery of services from public, private, and nonprofit organizations to Veterans and their family members. The MIVCAT project was introduced in Michigan by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) in August 2013, with pilots in two of Michigan's ten Prosperity Regions – Detroit Metro Region 10, comprising Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties; and West Michigan Region 4, consisting of Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, and Ottawa counties.To better discern the needs of Veterans and the services available to them, Altarum gathered information through several channels. Altarum conducted a community assessment that included interviews with key regional leaders, focus groups with Veterans, a survey of Veterans, and a survey of service providers working with Veterans. This report summarizes the survey of service providers.This survey was conducted between February and April 2014 using a web-based survey instrument. In both regions combined, 189 service providers (116 in Detroit Metro and 73 in West Michigan) from 151 organizations (93 in Detroit Metro and 58 in West Michigan) responded to the survey. Following are the key findings.

Michigan Veterans Community Action Teams: Detroit Metro Veteran Focus Groups Report

September 10, 2014

The Michigan Veterans Community Action Teams (MIVCAT) project is a collaborative community model created by the Altarum to enhance the delivery of services from public, private, and nonprofit organizations to Veterans and their family members. The MIVCAT project was introduced in Michigan by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) in August 2013, with pilots in two of Michigan's ten Prosperity Regions – Detroit Metro Region 10, comprising Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties; and West Michigan Region 4, consisting of Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, and Ottawa counties.To discern the needs of Veterans and the services available to them, Altarum gathered information through several channels. Altarum conducted a community assessment that included interviews with key regional leaders, focus groups with Veterans, a survey of Veterans, and a survey of service providers. The focus groups with Veterans in Detroit Metro, reported here, collected information on: how Veterans find out about resources, services, and benefits; the best ways to reach Veterans; Veterans' experiences with seeking services; sources of support for Veterans; and recommendations for improving the Veteran service system.Altarum conducted six focus groups as part of a community assessment for the MIVCAT project in the Detroit Metro Prosperity Region. There were two focus groups of primarily Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans, two groups of primarily Vietnam-era Veterans, and two groups of women Veterans from multiple eras. Planning and recruiting for the focus groups was led by Altarum staff with support from regional coalition leaders. Four of the focus groups were held in Taylor, one in downtown Detroit, and one in Redford. Forty-two Veterans participated in the focus groups and all of these Veterans completed a survey that included questions about their background and characteristics.Following are the key findings from the focus groups. Note that italicized text are direct quotes taken from transcripts of the focus groups. The words in brackets help clarify the meaning of the quotation by substituting a person's position or organization for their name or adding information that was discerned from other parts of the interview or the tone used by the focus group participant.

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