The following programs were awarded grants as part of the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s 2019 Spring Portfolio.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Building Better Days for Dependents
Building Better Days will deliver building toys to military children who receive treatment in the pediatric inpatient and outpatient units at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Pediatric patients and their families face uncertain, frightening, and stressful times while children undergo treatment. Research shows that receiving a new toy before a procedure reduces anxiety and stress for the child, enables children to make social connections with their caregivers and other children in the hospital ward, and helps children focus on fine motor skills.
Post-Harvey Data Visualization
This will be an important grant to ensure that veterans with continuing post-Harvey needs receive necessary services to address needs that may change over time. Combined Arms (CA) will quantify trends in over 7,500 unique service requests from at least 4 public and private data sets from veterans post-Harvey, and identify where the gaps exist so that additional resources can be devoted to the programs providing those services to the over 175,000 veterans residing in Harris County. For example, if local veterans are able to find programs to rebuild their homes but are not able to replace the household furniture they lost to storm damage, or can identify mental healthcare services, but lack transportation to those appointments, CA will recognize that systemic need and onboard local partners to build capacity within their network and ensure that individual veterans receive the support they need. CA will partner with city, county, state, federal, and nonprofits to aggregate their data to share across stakeholders serving the veteran community, providing insight into the downstream effects of veterans affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Lone Star Legal Aid
Disaster Legal Services for Veterans
Lower-income veterans face a tough road in the recovery process from Hurricane Harvey. They’ve lost homes, cars, food supplies, their sense of community, and a lifetime’s worth of personal belongings. In many cases, they have also lost their employment because of storm damage suffered by small businesses. These veterans have few resources to address their losses. Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA) covers twenty-five of the forty-one federally declared Harvey disaster counties in Texas. Since the storm, they have been supporting veterans with legal issues to include those related to rebuilding such as filing insurance and FEMA appeals, title clearing issues, evictions, and fallout from repair scams; as well as persisting or exacerbated issues impacting family security such as mounting debt, unemployment claims, title loan problems, home foreclosures, access to healthcare and education, and family law concerns. This BWF grant will increase the capacity of Lone Star Legal Aid to provide necessary disaster legal services to low-income veterans across Harvey-affected counties of east Texas.
Saint Bernard Project
Serving Harvey-Impacted Veterans in Rural Communities
Saint Bernard Project (SBP) is a nationally-recognized disaster resilience and recovery organization that has been working in storm-impacted communities since Katrina. In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused widespread wind damage and historic flooding throughout the Texas Gulf Coast region, damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, and caused an estimated $75 billion in losses. The recovery in rural communities is especially challenging, given limited recovery resources. Veterans often fail to self-advocate and thus experience an even larger disadvantage than their rural neighbors. This will ensure veterans living in rural communities affected by Harvey and requiring home repair/rebuild services have access to resources and support.
The Mission Continues
Operation Charm City Charge and the Puerto Rico Service Platoon
In 2018, BWF proudly partnered with TMC to found a new Puerto Rico service platoon, which engaged local veterans and supported long-term recovery efforts addressing the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria on the island. The platoon focused its projects on recovery efforts to ensure that the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Maria become stronger than they were before the storm. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community grant will increase the number of projects serving Puerto Rico to 15; increase platoon membership significantly; and provide two additional platoon leaders for recruitment, community development, and civic participation on the island. Additionally, NFL-BWF is proud to provide title sponsorship to TMC’s 2019 mass deployment to improve inner-city Baltimore, Maryland. “Operation Charm City Charge” (OC3) will bring 75 motivated veterans from TMC platoons nationwide to Baltimore for a week of physical exertion, personal growth, connectedness, and community impact.
Team Red, White & Blue
Eagle Leadership Development 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. This National Football League-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) grant invests in the network and quality of Team RWB leadership by training empathetic, authentic, genuine, loyal, and effective chapter leaders to improve outcomes for participating veterans nationwide. 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.
REHABILITATION AND RECOVERY
Emory University Prolonged Exposure Consultant Training Program
There is a national shortage of community-based mental health care providers trained in evidence-based treatments (EBT) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One contributing factor to this shortage is the lack of clinicians qualified to oversee providers as they learn to implement EBT. The Emory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP) is dedicated to reducing the shortage of expert clinicians qualified to supervise community mental health providers implementing Prolonged Exposure (PE), one evidence-based treatment for PTSD. This grant will expand the network of professionals who are trained to supervise and mentor clinicians, increase the number of clinicians trained to provide PE in their community practice, and also provide clinical care to veterans during the grant. Emory’s PE Consultant Training Team will train approximately 18 expert PE clinicians to oversee up to 40 mental health care providers as they administer Prolonged Exposure (PE) to as many as 80 patients during this grant period. This BWF investment will increase the availability of EBTs for PTSD accessible to veterans long after the conclusion of this grant.
EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT
Warrior Scholar Project
Academic Boot Camps and Community College Outreach Initiative
Veterans emerge from the military as highly adaptable team-leaders with technical skills, and problem-solving capabilities accustomed to making decisions under stressful conditions. The right educational supports and access to top-tier universities, can help ensure they become the next generation of civic and business leaders. However, one-third of veterans are first-generation college students who lack the confidence and savvy to navigate higher education with informed choices. Instead, approximately 40 percent of GI Bill tuition payments go to for-profit institutions, and the top eight recipients of GI Bill taxpayer dollars are for-profit colleges. WSP introduces veterans to esteemed higher-level academics, ensures they are informed academic consumers, and provides them with academic skills critical for confidence and success. In 2019, WSP academic boot camps will inform veterans at eighteen universities across the country, and also expand the Community College Outreach Initiative (CCOI) from a pilot to seven community colleges in 2019 and early 2020. This BWF grant will support academic tutors and mentors during the boot camps, and support seven CCOI events.
Workshops for Warriors
Advanced Manufacturing Training for Young Veterans
Workshops for Warriors (WFW) provides veterans and transitioning service members with industry-leading manufacturing skills and job placement. Advanced manufacturing is a rapidly growing industry that provides excellent compensation, but is experiencing a significant national shortage of trained professionals. W4W trains, certifies, and places veterans into living wage jobs in the manufacturing industry within four to eight months. Veterans who graduate the program will begin careers as welders, machinists, mill and lathe operators, parts designers, and programmers. This grant will initiate industrial careers of at least 150 veterans who graduate from the Advanced Manufacturing Training for Young Veterans program.