In light of Veterans Day coming up, we wanted to compile a list of the organizations that help veterans (and military personnel in general) and explain what they do to improve the lives of veterans.
Hope for the Warriors
If you’re looking for organizations that help veterans and service members who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty (post 9/11), Hope for Warriors is your new best friend. It was founded in 2006 by military wives, and includes services like career transition, education programs, health and wellness counseling and community building initiatives. It helps military families as their loved ones transition back into their normal lives. According to their website, they “remain grounded in family values”, helping not only veterans, but also their families and the families of fallen soldiers.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Over the span of ten years, this organization has served over 2.4 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Founded by an Iraq veteran, the group seeks to provide new veterans with employment support, education and resolving heath issues. They even offer services to connect veterans with others in their area. With their RRRP (Rapid Response Referral Program), they match veterans with a one-on-one case management and referral service program. Through this assistance program, they’ve helped over 7,900 veterans and family members get set up to pursue an education, find doctors and legal support, and receive financial assistance. They can also help veterans access emergency housing. Their advocacy campaigns cover everything from combatting suicide to helping female vets to ending veteran homelessness.
United Service Organizations
The USO was chartered by Congress in 1941 to provide packages, entertainment and recreation-type services to military members and their families. Spanning 135 countries (including Germany, Iraq, and South Korea), these organizations provide free internet and email access, libraries, housing assistance, family crisis counseling, support groups, nursing facilities and game rooms to vets and military personnel. Their Transition Services help service members transition out of the military, focusing on both young singles and careerists with families. They offer a Caregivers Seminar that helps families access programming and community support as well.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
As far as organizations that help veterans goes, this is one of the oldest. They’ve provided financial assistance and education to U.S. Navy and Marine Corps for over a century. They also provide assistance to eligible family members, widows and survivors. They’ve provided over $48 million in interest-free loans and grants to over 100,000 people around the world. If a sailor or marine is severely injured or ill, they can provide interest-free loans to make it possible for loved ones to travel to their location (and vice versa).
The Wounded Warriors Family Support
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel John Folsom began this organization in 2003 to provide assistance to the families of those who have been wounded, injured or killed in combat. They work primarily with providing retreats for families of wounded veterans. This gives them a stress-free time to reconnect. They also offer welding programs in conjunction with Ford to give veterans the opportunity to pursue a career in welding. This six-week program requires an application and gives veterans 1G through 4G welding certification. Once training is completed, they’ll be able to find jobs in entry-level positions or apprenticeships. Since welding is applicable to so many industries (automotive, ship building, construction, etc.), it’s a great field to be certified in. The training takes place in Lincoln Park near Detroit, and the program will cover the veteran’s lodging and per diem for food.
Puppies Behind Bars
This organization trains prison inmates to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans. The puppies begin training at 8 weeks old and live with their inmate for the next 24 months. This is a great opportunity to teach inmates how to contribute to society as well as provide an invaluable service for those who have served. After training is complete, the dogs are given to a returning veteran from Iraq or Afghanistan (free of charge). These dogs are even taught how to handle PTSD issues that may arise with veterans. The organization has already paired 66 service dogs with wounded veterans since 2008.
Homes for Our Troops
Geared toward helping the severely injured military personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, this organization builds homes that accommodate injuries. Whether the veteran is a multiple amputee or suffers from traumatic brain injuries, they build mortgage-free homes that allow them to live with ease. In addition to building homes, they can also alter existing homes for handicap accessibility. Since their founding in 2004, they’ve built nearly 240 homes. Check out these stories to learn more about how they’re changing lives.
Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust
The DAV Charitable Service Trust specializes in physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for ill, injured or wounded veterans. They began in 1986 when the leaders of the Disabled American Veterans National Organization came together to advance initiatives that weren’t being provided by the VA, state veteran’s programs or the veteran’s service organizations. If you’ve undergone traumatic brain injuries, for example, they can provide driver’s rehabilitation services. They also fund programs that supply food and shelter to homeless or at-risk veterans and their families. You can check these stories to see how the funds are used.
This organization is dedicated to providing vocational school, need-based college and technical scholarships to the children and spouses of active duty U.S. military members. Since 2006, they’ve awarded 4,000 scholarships adding up to $12 million.
Fisher House Foundation
This is one of the more well-known organizations that help veterans. If your veteran is receiving treatment, this organization provides a comfort home where you and your family can stay at no cost. You’ll be able to find these homes at major military and VA medical centers across the country, typically located near a medical center or hospital they serve. Over the span of their program, they’ve served over 220,000 families. They’ve been in the business for 25 years, during which time they’ve created 65 Fisher Houses on 24 military installations and 24 VA facilities across the country. These houses have up to 21 suites, including private bedrooms and baths. Common kitchens, laundry facilities, dining rooms and living rooms are shared by families. Using donated rewards points, they also provide hotel rooms and flights (Hero Miles Program). On top of all that, they also give scholarships to veterans’ family members. In fact, 11,000 students have received $18,000,000 in scholarship awards. They make it easy for people to donate by offering a simple box to check on their credit card reward site. With donations, the Fisher House Foundation has been able to save an estimated $360 million in out-of-pocket costs for transportation and lodging.
AMVETS National Service Foundation
This foundation helps veterans re-acclimate to civilian life and take advantage of benefits offered to them, and they’ve been doing it since 1948. In addition to helping veterans find benefits they qualify for, they run thrift stores to serve veterans and offer scholarships to veterans wanting to further their education. Plus, they work in VA hospitals and health care facilities. These services are all free-of-charge to veterans, making AMVETS National Service Foundation one of the best organizations that help veterans.
Hire Heroes ensures veterans receive jobs by allowing active military, veterans and their spouses to receive training on perfecting a resume, interviewing and self-marketing. Ex-military staff are assigned to each veteran, and the organization shares connections they have with veteran-friendly companies. Their job board is constantly updated with new openings, and veterans can choose between one-on-one sessions or workshops to achieve their goals. Since their inception, Hire Heroes has confirmed more than 19,000 veterans and military spouses hired into careers.
This organization gives food assistance, auto and home repair, vision care, transportation, moving assistance, home goods and financial assistance to military families who are in need. In addition, they create support groups for those caring for wounded veterans with PTSD. Wounded veterans are provided with transitional housing during the time it takes for VA benefits to be applied.
Give an Hour
While this organization is dedicated to helping active service members rather than veterans, it’s still worth mentioning as part of organizations that help veterans. Geared toward those suffering from psychological trauma, this program is a non-profit that encourages mental health professionals to give an hour each week to help service members who may not be able to afford mental health treatment. Founded in 2005, they work with troops and families affected by the post 9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They can set up counseling for individuals, couples and families, or children. On top of those currently serving in the military and their families, they also work with those affected by natural disasters and those who have experienced gun violence (launching soon). In addition, they have a Military Spouse Mental Health Profession Network that combines the efforts of Give an Hour, the United Health Foundation, and the National Military Family Association to help military spouses who are entering the behavioral health profession. Due to frequent moves, it can be difficult for these spouses to complete the requirements necessary for a degree or license in the mental health field. They help by assigning mentors and supervisors that can assist with requirements.
You can use this Charity Navigator page to get a full list (with ratings) of other organizations that help veterans, or check out militaryveteranproject.org for even more information. As one of the organization that help veterans, we would appreciate any donations you can make. We use donations to help veterans currently living in the Cameron Veterans home enjoy their stay with planned activities. Check out our Goals page to learn more about what our donations are used for.