2018 Spring Grants
The following programs were awarded grants as part of the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s 2018 Spring Cycle.
EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT
The Mission Continues (TMC)
TMC Fellowship Program and Puerto Rico Service Platoon
Location: Puerto Rico/National
A 2009 Civic Enterprises study indicates 92 percent of veterans want to continue serving. Veterans who engage in community transformation improve their own reintegration experience while reinforcing the value and virtue of community and military service on a local level, strengthening our country from the ground up. BWF was the 2013 founding funder of The Mission Continues service platoons, which have expanded to 77 platoons nationally. BWF is pleased that this grant will fund a new Puerto Rico service platoon, which will engage local veterans and support long-term recovery efforts addressing the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. This grant will also fund ten TMC fellows, who receive personal development and professional growth while positively impacting a service organization of their choice. A minimum of five of these veterans will commit their fellowships to the success of the new service platoon in Puerto Rico.
Clay Hunt Fellowship Program
Team Rubicon unites military veterans and first responders, capitalizing on the mission focus and small-team ethos of these groups, to deploy effective disaster relief teams around the world. Marine veteran Clay Hunt served in the infantry alongside Team Rubicon cofounder Jake Wood in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2007, Clay was wounded in action by an enemy sniper. Following his service, Clay helped establish Team Rubicon by deploying to Haiti and Chile, before dying by suicide. The Bob Woodruff Foundation is proud to continue our investment in this program, developed in Clay Hunt’s memory, to provide meaningful opportunities to veterans seeking mission and community. This Bob Woodruff Foundation grant provides funds the fellowship and capstone projects of twelve 2018 Clay Hunt fellows, and twelve 2019 Clay Hunt fellows. This significant investment will align the BWF granting schedule with the Team Rubicon fellow selection process, and permit BWF greater interaction with future Clay Hunt fellows.
Veterans Information Technology Training Program
Location: Southern California
Working Wardrobes provides Southern California veterans with key information technology training and certification so they can secure jobs that equal or exceed their military income, access advancement opportunities, provide them with a living wage that will allow them to meet the region’s high cost of living, and build economic security for themselves and their families. This program serves the more vulnerable veterans, including those newly transitioned, the homeless, and those at risk of homelessness, and provides entry into a career field with 40 percent projected growth from 2012 to 2022, and a 6.2 percent increase in average wages in 2015 alone. The BWF investment will train, certify and facilitate IT employment for 18 post-9/11 veterans.
Warrior Scholar Project
Warrior Scholar Project
In 2017, 35 percent of all post-9/11 GI Bill tuition payments went to for-profit institutions, from which veterans attrite at high rates. WSP introduces veterans to high-level academics, ensures they are informed academic consumers, and provides them with the tools to succeed. Additionally, while 75 percent of enlisted veterans indicate an intention to pursue STEM-related careers, only 36 percent of student veterans initiate STEM coursework, with less than half completing a four-year degree. In 2018, WSP will implement their academic boot camps at seventeen universities across the country, and also expand the WSP STEM initiative from four to seven campuses. This BWF grant will provide textbooks and materials, as well as instructing and tutoring resources for 270 veterans and transitioning service members.
Student Veterans of America
Veteran Transition Through Higher Education
The multi-year grant to SVA will fund a strategic partnership between BWF and SVA to enhance and accelerate veteran enrollment, continuation, and completion at high-quality institutions of higher education. Student veterans exhibit higher GPAs and higher continuation and graduation rates than do other students, but colleges and universities tend to perceive this population inaccurately as lower-performing and needier than civilian counterparts. This partnership will enable SVA to engage with college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts, trustees, and other senior leaders to influence the allocation of resources towards veteran recruitment and enrollment efforts.
Veterans Worklife Transition Program
Houston is home to one of the largest post-9/11 veteran populations in the country. The Bob Woodruff Foundation has been a long-term funder of The Worklife Institute, which administers the Veterans Worklife Transition Program to help veterans find employment through a portfolio of integrated services that includes career training, job hunting skills, personal transition counseling, trauma and family counseling, legal and financial advice, family life workshops, and information on veterans benefits. After five great years of partnering with the Worklife Institute, and because we prioritize a diverse portfolio, we are providing a transition grant to Worklife Institute, which will support the Worklife career, education, and training services.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing
National Fly Rod Building Program and Competition; National Fly Fishing Casting Competition
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) provides support, socialization, and camaraderie to wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans. Activities such as casting, rod building and fly tying help participants improve their hand-eye coordination, adaptive muscle memory, and balance, all while improving cognitive focus and helping participants cope with stress-related issues brought on by Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress. PHWFF offers a community where individuals with similar experiences and disabilities can engage with one another, building lifelong relationships, all the while undergoing therapeutic recreational therapy. This grant is made possible through a partnership between the National Football League and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) grant will provide 950 veterans with mental and physical health benefits from building rods and competing for national artistic honors. This HLCC grant will also fund the Inaugural National Casting Competition, including local, regional, and national competition. This opportunity encourages disabled service members and veterans, both new and expert at fly fishing, to persist in the physical and rehabilitative activity of casting. The 24 regional casting winners will compete in the national casting finals in Boise, Idaho during the Fly Fishers International (FFI) Fair, Aug. 8-11, 2018.
Our Military Kids
Our Military Kids supports wounded, ill, and injured veterans by funding extracurricular activities and tutoring programs for their children. The BWF grant will help fulfill 232 children’s extracurricular aspirations, focus their time and energy on an activity of importance to them, and decrease financial strain and emotional stress of the veteran parent and the entire family. This support for children’s extracurricular activities is an important complement to BWF’s other investments in the families of wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans, and underscores BWF’s intent to address the well-being of the entire caregiving family.
Team Red, White & Blue
Eagle Leadership Development Program and Chapter and Community Program
Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB) supports veterans experiencing a challenging reintegration by providing them with personal, meaningful interaction, and by connecting them to their communities through exercise and social activities. Team RWB encourages a healthy lifestyle and authentic interactions within local communities across the nation through its Chapter and Community Program (CCP), which facilitates local engagement to address the military/civilian divide. This grant is made possible through a partnership between the National Football League and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Through this Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) grant, Team RWB will expand the content and capacity of the Eagle Leadership Development Program (ELDP) to develop and strengthen the CCP leadership. This grant is an important investment in the network of leaders who will ensure the effective implementation of the Team RWB mission. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was an early partner with Team RWB, which has grown from 12 communities to 204; this grant is an investment in strong leadership to ensure responsible growth.
The PATH Program – Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) 1 Expansion
Location: New England
The rural countryside often features fewer social opportunities and support services for veterans. Northeast Passage developed the Promoting Access, Transition, and Health Program (PATH) to serve rural veterans living with disabilities and invisible wounds. PATH’s local Certified Therapeutic Recreational Therapists travel to and engage veterans in their homes, and improve their health by involving them in recreation and community activities. BWF previously funded PATH to increase their capacity within New Hampshire. The program’s success has prompted such interest from the VA, that Northeast Passage is now a Veterans Choice provider. This BWF grant will train and supervise recreational therapists to provide reimbursable PATH care to 117 veterans across VISN 1.
Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving
Operation Family Caregiver Washington: Ensuring a Future
Operation Family Caregiver, a skill-building support program, helps caregivers manage the challenges inherent in their role. Caregiver coaches provide in-home, online and telephone consults tailored to the specific circumstances of an individual family, and work with caregivers to develop detailed notebooks with essential information that will be used long after the initial training sessions have ended. This grant fulfills the final year of a three-year BWF commitment to fund the implementation of Operation Family Caregiver in the state of Washington, which has a significant population of wounded, ill, and injured veterans. This effort partners with and complements the VA Caregiver Support Program as they provide coaching to 15 to 20 caregivers throughout Washington. This BWF grant will also fund interactions with the VA to identify longer-term collaboration and synergy.
Armed Services Arts Partnership
Comedy Boot Camp
Location: Virginia and Metropolitan DC area
Comedy Boot Camp (CB) is the first stand-up comedy class for veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers. The seven-week course curriculum is informed by research into humor’s beneficial effects. This Bob Woodruff Foundation grant will provide CB to 96 military-connected individuals, developing their comedic skills through instruction and workshops to implement original comedic material; and providing stress relief, social support, skill-building, and long-term connections with others. This grant will also measure the impact of ASAP’s interventions on veterans’ skill development, well-being, and resilience.
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International
Baseline Definition Guidance Resource for Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies for Veterans
Equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for veterans have developed from decentralized grassroots interest, commitment, and efforts, without a coherent shared language. Given this origin, EAAT programs and providers commonly use different words to describe the same activities. The lack of a shared language negatively impacts research, limits the development of a rigorous evidence base regarding EAAT and veterans, and complicates contracts, VA funding, and even Medicaid reimbursement for services. The Professional Association Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International is the leading accrediting organization in this community. The BWF grant to PATH Int’l builds upon the lessons from the 2017 BWF convening addressing EAAT for the veteran community. With this grant, PATH Int’l will collaborate with other EAAT leaders and service providers to develop a baseline definition guidance resource for use throughout the EAAT community.
New York Legal Assistance Group
Veterans Medical-Legal Partnership Program
Location: New York City
Medical-legal partnerships (MLP) are an innovative solution that introduce outside legal advocates into social work and mental health interventions to address legal determinants of health. With a 2018 BWF grant, New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) will build upon their successes working with veterans in their nationally recognized Women Veterans Legal Clinics MLP, and expand to provide targeted legal services to post-9/11 veterans receiving care in their current partner hospitals, the Bronx and Manhattan VA Medical Centers (VAMC). This project will support a full-time staff attorney to provide legal assistance to female veterans and post-9/11 veterans regarding housing, benefits, and family law; and discharge upgrades. Additionally, the project attorney will conduct trainings for VA staff on legal challenges faced by female veterans and post-9/11 veterans, and will also organize legal stand downs for these populations. This program will impact approximately 200 veterans with 300 legal cases.
REHABILITATION & RECOVERY
Trustees of Boston University
Strength at Home National Implementation
Individuals suffering from PTSD have three times higher the risk for domestic violence, and approximately one-third of veterans seeking treatment for PTSD report that they have engaged in physical IPV in the previous year. Strength at Home, launched with Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs backing, reduces domestic violence in military families. Strength at Home intervenes to address conditions specific to veterans, provide tools to maintain a healthy relationship and mitigate challenges before family interactions become criminal offenses, which both hurt family members and can eliminate eligibility for VA benefits. Strength at Home employs a cognitive behavioral intervention and is the first evidence-based program to reduce both physical and psychological intimate partner violence. Bob Woodruff Foundation funding has been fundamental to implementing this program, which is now integrating into the VA. This 2018 grant will permit further expansion of the Strength at Home program by training and providing monthly consult to 10 Regional Trainers who will train dozens of clinicians at 10 new geographically interspersed VA implementation sites.
University of Utah
R & R Program, National Center for Veterans Studies
The R&R program is an innovative and intensive, two-week treatment program of the University of Utah, in partnership with the National Ability Center (NAC), during which veterans meet with clinicians for individual morning sessions of evidence-based clinical mental health care and then engage in afternoon family-oriented seasonal activities including hiking, mountain biking, swimming, horseback riding, and skiing. The program’s condensed format provides accessibility to service members and veterans who are unable to schedule appointments on a weekly or biweekly basis, and allows for veterans to be accompanied by family members, who support treatment progress. The physical setting at the NAC also ensures that veterans and family members of all ability levels and special needs are able to participate in activities. And their renowned expertise in military suicide risk intervention enables them to offer care to higher-risk veterans who are commonly excluded from PTSD treatments. The BWF investment is expected to reduce severity of PTSD symptoms, reduce suicidal thinking, and improve relationship and family functioning for 43 veterans.