2021 Fall Grants - Bob Woodruff Foundation

2021 Fall Grants

The following programs were awarded grants as part of the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s 2021 Fall Grants Portfolio.

Armed Services Arts Partnership

ASAP Community Arts Chapters 

Armed Services Arts Partnership cultivates community and improves well-being for veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers through the arts. ASAP provides art classes teaching comedy, creative writing, improvisation, acting, drawing, and storytelling. A 2018 evaluation funded by BWF found that veterans and military family members who participate in ASAP programming experience increased social support, sense of purpose, resilience, and self-esteem. In 2020, NFL-BWF funding enabled ASAP to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing virtual arts programming to veterans in 45 states and five countries, and supported ASAP’s expansion into new geographic markets in San Diego and Indianapolis. This NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community (HLCC) grant will build upon that investment by delivering evidence-based arts programming to increase social support and wellbeing for 600 veterans, service members, military family members, and caregivers in Washington, DC, Hampton Roads, San Diego, and Indianapolis. 


Citymeals on Wheels 

Meal Deliveries to Homebound, Older NYC Veterans 

Supported in partnership with

Citymeals on Wheels provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to homebound elderly individuals across New York City. Their programs ensure that elderly New Yorkers receive both a daily meal and frequent check-ins to provide opportunities for social connection. Citymeals on Wheels’ weekend meal delivery programming is an especially important tool in helping vulnerable older adults maintain food security. This grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will fund the preparation and delivery of weekend meals for homebound, elderly veterans residing in New York City. With this BWF grant, Citymeals on Wheels will deliver 37,500 weekend meals to homebound, older veterans residing in New York City. 


Combined Arms 

Striving Towards Equity in the Provisioning of Social Services for Military & Veteran Families 

Supported in partnership with

In Texas, there are 2,364 veteran service providers registered with the IRS. Despite an abundance of service providers, gaps and redundancies caused by an inefficient allocation of resources cause veterans to fail at navigating social services and to slip through the cracks. Combined Arms’ mission is to strengthen collaboration across Texas to improve outcomes for the military veteran community. Combined Arms recognized that minority veterans in Texas experience transition issues and receive resources inequitably. For example, veterans from minority racial and ethnic groups in Texas are two times more likely to live in poverty than are white veterans, have a 44% higher risk of unemployment, and are more likely to be living with mental health issues. Combined Arms’ Striving Towards Equity in the Provisioning of Social Services for Military & Veteran Families program will ensure more equitable provisioning of services to minority veterans across the state of Texas. With this BWF grant, Combined Arms will increase minority veterans’ access to services, including programs reducing food insecurity and increasing overall wellbeing, reaching at least 1,000 new clients from minority racial and ethnic groups. This investment will support intentional efforts to grow partnerships with religious and cultural communities and strengthen partnerships that ensure veterans from minority groups have a streamlined way to access social services within the Combined Arms network. 


Easter Seals of Greater Houston

Emergency Assistance & Support Services for Veterans & Their Families 

Supported in partnership with

According to the Harris County Veteran Service Office, more than 255,000 veterans and their families live in the greater Houston area, and more than 19,000 of them live in poverty. A report titled “Identifying Needs and Challenges of Veterans in the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area,” indicated that the greatest level of need among veterans is short-term financial aid for housing and utilities, assistance with employment, and mental health services. With this BWF grant, Easter Seals of Greater Houston, Inc. will improve quality of life and financial stability for at least 50 veterans and their family members by providing emergency financial assistance for critical needs (housing, food, utilities, medication) and case management, financial coaching, and other support services to help move the veteran from an emergency situation to stability. 


Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati (ESGC) 

Military & Veteran Services 

Supported in partnership with

The Greater Cincinnati metro area is home to 136,199 veterans. Of those, nearly 15 percent live in poverty and less than 50 percent are registered with the VA. Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati’s Military & Veteran Services program addresses the needs of veterans in the Greater Cincinnati region by providing emergency intervention, case management, and employment and education services for local veterans, ensuring self-sufficiency for veterans and their families. ESGC’s employment services include job readiness training, industry certifications, and job placement, as well as transitional employment opportunities for veterans exiting homelessness and for those with higher barriers to securing long-term employment. This BWF grant will reduce barriers to employment and improve self-sufficiency for 250 veterans by connecting them to community resources including housing, healthcare, transportation, food, and benefit registration. Of those, 50 veterans will secure employment, and 8 veterans exiting homelessness will receive certifications and transitional employment to prepare them for long-term, full-time employment. 



Mission Recovery Program 

People with substance use disorders (SUD) are more likely than those without SUD to experience co-occurring mental health disorders (COD) such as major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Both the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the current events in Afghanistan, have caused increased stress and isolation, exacerbating the conditions in which addiction thrives. Untreated SUD presents a barrier to veterans’ mental health treatment. Patients may revert to substance use to cope with the stress of intensive clinical treatment, which can prevent them from developing healthy coping mechanisms. Additionally, patients taking prescribed medications for mental health disorders may be disqualified from traditional peer recovery groups that require abstinence from all drugs. The Mission Recovery Program (MRP) seeks to address gaps in behavioral health services by increasing Endeavors’ capacity to offer integrated, evidence-based treatment to veterans presenting with COD and/or SUD. This funding will provide 45 veterans with evidence-based treatment for substance use and co-occurring disorders to reduce mental health symptoms and promote skills that reduce the reliance on substances to cope with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and current world events. Endeavors will provide sober living vouchers to 20 of those veterans to help them access stable, sober housing to support their recovery. 


Family Houston

Returning Home  

Supported in partnership with

More than 255,000 veterans and their families live in the greater Houston area, and approximately 19,000 of them live in poverty. A pre-pandemic report “Identifying Needs and Challenges of Veterans in the Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area,” identified short-term financial aid for housing and utilities, assistance with employment, and mental health services as the greatest needs amongst the veteran population. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, local organizations are witnessing an even more overwhelming need for financial relief for rent, mortgage, and utilities. Family Houston’s Returning Home program connects veterans with the resources necessary to establish and maintain stable housing. Family Houston will use the BWF investment to provide financial assistance (rent, mortgage, utilities, childcare, furniture, and grocery gift cards) and case management for 97 veterans and their families affected by COVID-19.  


Food Outreach, Inc.  

Veteran Diabetes Pilot Project 

Supported in partnership with

Diabetes affects nearly 25 percent of the VA’s patient population. Food insecurity is linked to diabetes; food insecurity is more prevalent among households with a person living with diabetes, and diabetes is more prevalent among food-insecure households. Food insecurity interferes with patients’ ability to adhere to medical recommendations for managing diabetes, presenting both nutritional and financial challenges. Many food-insecure diabetics have to choose between paying for healthy food, diabetes medications, and other living expenses. Food Outreach, Inc. has traditionally provided medically tailored meals and nutrition education and counseling to enhance the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS and cancer. This BWF grant will support a new 12-month diabetes program conducted in partnership with the VA hospital system in St. Louis. Specifically, this funding will provide home-delivered medically tailored meals and medical nutrition therapy to reduce food insecurity and improve health outcomes for 30 veterans with uncontrolled diabetes. 


Inner City Law Center 

Homeless Veterans Project Medical-Legal Partnership 

For over 23 years, Inner City Law Center’s Homeless Veterans Project has helped homeless veterans who have service-connected disabilities secure the benefits, healthcare, and housing to which they are entitled because of their service but have been denied because of an injustice. Inner City Law Center has expertise in tackling legal issues and built two successful medical-legal partnerships (MLP) with Los Angeles area Veterans Administration (VA) medical centers. MLP, a unique service model that integrates lawyers into health care settings to address patients’ civil-legal issues concurrently with their healthcare, is especially effective when addressing health disparities related to housing and addressing complex legal issues to improve mental health outcomes. This investment from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will be used to support costs associated with Inner City Law Center’s Homeless Veterans Project MLP with the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration’s Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT). Inner City Law Center will use BWF funding to provide civil legal aid for at least 40 veterans served by the West LA VAMC’s H-PACT to address social determinants of health and decrease barriers to secure housing. 


Lone Star Legal Aid

Military and Veterans Unit 

Supported in partnership with

There are over 520,000 veterans who have been impacted by the economic impact of disasters including the COVID-19 pandemic and storms across East Texas. Lone Star Legal Aid (LSLA) serves this region, which includes the urban center of Houston as well as the largely rural, diverse, and low-income 72-county region. Many of the local veterans suffer hardships stemming from civil legal issues related to re-entry to civilian life, long-term effects of war and access to veteran benefits, eviction, uninhabitable housing, income instability, difficulty maintaining independence while aging, and employment barriers. Veteran households experiencing civil legal troubles face food insecurity, barriers to public benefits eligibility, inability to pay rent and mortgages, rising domestic violence, and are at-risk of homelessness and suicide. This BWF grant will support LSLAs legal services to remove barriers to wellbeing and improve quality of life for at least 100 veteran households in East Texas. 


Mental Health America Los Angeles (MHALA)

Veterans Living Healthier Independent Lives 

Supported by

Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA) is dedicated to meeting the needs of Los Angeles County Veterans who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or were recently housed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Within Los Angeles County, a combination of factors including housing costs and a limited housing supply make obtaining housing difficult, particularly for those with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. MHALA provides a range of support, including VA Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) to veteran families. This BWF investment will complement MHALA’s VA funding and enable MHALA to purchase grocery store gift cards for at least 167 veteran/military households transitioning out of homelessness. This support will ensure veterans have the resources to prepare and eat healthy meals at home and improve their overall quality of life. 


Military Spouse Corporate Career Network Inc 

Women’s Workforce Re-entry Program: Meeting Employment Needs of Military Spouses and Female Veterans Affected by COVID-19 

Supported in partnership with

COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on women in the workforce. Since February of 2020, more than 2.3 million women have left the workforce, putting the women’s labor force participation rate at 57% — the lowest it has been since 1988. As many as 40% of military spouses, who are predominantly women, lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN) is seeing a significant increase in requests for immediate assistance for workforce recovery and re-entry services. This demand is coming from some of the hardest hit members of the military/veteran community who experience financial strain and food insecurity at a higher rate than other members of the community: spouses of junior enlisted service members, spouses in the Guard and Reserve communities, spouses of veterans, and female veterans who are single parents. With this BWF grant, MSCCN will provide essential and professional industry skills and certifications at least 275 female veterans, military spouses, and military family members to be competitive in high-growth career opportunities. 


National Ability Center

Project SERVE 

The National Ability Center (NAC) empowers individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence, and lifetime skills through sport, recreation, and social & educational programming. NAC’s vision is to inspire individual achievement, community inclusion, and global impact for persons of all abilities, including active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. Project SERVE: Sports, Education, & Recreation for Veteran Empowerment (SERVE) provides a broad spectrum of adaptive sport activities that serve veterans, disabled members of the Armed Forces and their families, as well as Gold Star Families who are living with physical, cognitive, and mental health disabilities. Along with the benefits of being outdoors and physically active, this BWF grant will help NAC bring veterans, service members, and their families together to build a sense of community that helps decrease the feelings of social isolation. 


National Veterans Foundation

Homeless Veteran Outreach 

Supported in partnership with

In 2020, Los Angeles was home to 18% of all unsheltered veterans.  Over 2,800 veterans are homeless and unsheltered on a given night in Los Angeles County. The National Veterans Foundation (NVF) provides critical services in Los Angeles, CA through homeless veteran outreach, connecting veterans to transitional housing, medical care, food, bottled water, hygiene kits, clothing, and other supplies. The NVF Outreach team scouts for veterans who are MIA, “Missing in America.” They find veterans under freeway bridges and overpasses, and along dry riverbeds and freeway corridors. NVF goes to communities of veterans living in tents, old RVs, and trailers on city streets and abandoned parking lots to provide services where veterans live. This BWF investment will provide a new van for outreach services. The van will allow NVF to connect at least 700 street homeless veterans to resources to improve their wellbeing. 


NextOp, Inc. 

Military to Career Internship Program   

NextOp recruits, trains, and places high-performing middle-enlisted post-9/11 military leaders into industry careers. Many veterans end up unemployed or underemployed because they have a difficult time with key transition skills such as resume building and interviewing, a mismatch of expectations for their next career; or because companies have a difficult time understanding the value of the military experience to their workplace. NextOp’s programing is intentionally designed to address barriers to civilian employment.  NextOp works with companies in their local markets to demonstrate the value of hiring middle-enlisted veterans and places transitioning service members into apprentice and internship openings. NextOp teaches transitioning service members and veterans resume writing, provides interview preparation, and sets expectations to create career plans. With this NFL-BWF grant, NextOp will identify corporate participants for SkillBridge, connect at least 60 transitioning service members to those SkillBridge internships and apprenticeship opportunities, and provide employment assistance services that increase job readiness and successful placements in industry careers. 


Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN)

Operation Commissary 

Supported in partnership with

Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN) provides and connects veterans and their families with comprehensive resources focused on transition, employment, housing, benefits, peer engagement, food, and connection to the community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, OSDTN opened a veteran food pantry to meet the increased need for food they saw in their community. However, this physical food pantry was not accessible to some veterans due to distance, medical conditions, and other factors limiting travel. To meet the food-related needs in their community fully, OSDTN’s “Operation Commissary” program leverages partnerships to deliver food boxes to veterans in 10 Middle Tennessee counties. This program is designed to eliminate the barriers to engagement by increasing access to food and using food deliveries to connect veterans to other services. With this BWF grant, Operation Commissary will decrease hunger in their community by delivering food to 400 veteran/military households throughout Middle Tennessee. 


Research Foundation of the City University of New York on behalf of Hunter College

Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education (PROVE) 

Supported in partnership with

PROVE ensures student veterans on City University of New York (CUNY) campuses have a successful educational journey by aiding them in their transition from the military to a college community. PROVE’s social work interns and experienced field instructors provide high-touch social and emotional support for student veterans. The interns also provide short-term crisis intervention, mental health counseling, and well-vetted referrals. Concurrently, the PROVE program trains those social work interns in the specific needs and concerns of the modern-day student veteran, thus increasing the military cultural competency of the next generation of social worker professionals. PROVE’s intervention is especially important in the context of COVID-19, as many student veterans have experienced increased stress levels related to their education, loss of income, challenges accessing technology and internet, and increased feelings of social isolation, all of which can lead to higher rates of financial instability and food insecurity. This BWF grant will fund the critical operations of the PROVE program at nine NYC campuses, allowing PROVE’s social work interns and field instructors to foster a supportive community for student veterans throughout the NYC area. 


Rutgers University Foundation


Supported in partnership with

Vets4Warriors provides critical “upstream support” to veterans and their families, allowing them to receive necessary services (emergency financial aid, connection to mental healthcare, peer support, etc.) before they reach the point of crisis. Every call, text, and email from a veteran is answered by Vets4Warriors peers, who are all veterans, military family members, or caregivers. The shared experience of military service allows peers to deepen the trust and to bond with veteran participants. Peers help callers with immediate crises, and work with participants to identify and make progress toward achieving life goals, such as pursuing education, improving family dynamics, and accessing mental health services. This BWF grant will support Vets4Warriors’ peers’ salaries so they can continue to provide essential support to veterans and their families, especially those who have been impacted by COVID-19 or are struggling with current world events. 


The Honor Foundation 

Fort Bragg Program 

About 550 Special Operations Forces personnel at Fort Bragg transition into civilian life each year. Veterans from the Special Operations Forces have a difficult time transitioning. Many suffer from loss of identity, purpose, and trust, loss of camaraderie. These veterans are often unsure of where they might “fit in” to the civilian world, and especially question their next career and income source. The Honor Foundation (THF) program at Fort Bragg offers transition instruction and tailored guidance to help Special Operations Forces members determine their post-service mission, and help them prepare them for their next career. Supported by an NFL-BWF grant, THF will provide transition assistance training and education for at least 120 transitioning members of the Special Operations Forces at Fort Bragg to improve their confidence transitioning into new communities and careers. 


Trustees of Boston University

Women Veterans Network (WoVeN) 

Many female veterans grew personally and professionally from their military service, but experienced significant difficulties transitioning to civilian life. The Women Veterans Network (WoVeN) is a peer support network designed to target the unique needs of female veterans. WoVeN offers an evidence-based, eight-session program led by vetted and trained peer leaders that improves the mental health, social support, and well-being of female veterans. WoVen’s programming provides a place for more female veterans to enjoy a sense of belonging and community amongst peers. Especially in the context of COVID-19, these peer groups provide vital support to female veterans across the United States, increase optimism, social support, and community engagement. Female veterans’ interest in WoVeN has increased rapidly, and the demand for additional programming has outpaced the availability of in-person groups. With this NFL-BWF Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community grant, WoVeN will meet the increased demand by expanding the availability of online and in-person WoVeN groups, providing six national trainings, rolling out new Alumni Groups, and enhancing program delivery. 


Tuesday’s Children

Youth Mentoring for Post 9/11 Military Families of the Fallen 

Tuesday’s Children’s addresses the needs of military families in all stages of recovery following the loss of a family member. The cornerstone of Tuesday’s Children’s programs, Youth Mentoring, encourages and supports mutually beneficial, longstanding relationships between adult role models and children ages 8-18. These mentorships enable children to grow both emotionally and socially, to build resilience, and to develop coping skills while making healthy choices. Studies show that youth mentoring from a consistent, stable, and supportive adult role model reduces risky behavior and fills an unmet need for children impacted by traumatic loss. Tuesday’s Children’s Career Resource Center enhances life skills through leadership development, college preparation, and career guidance. With a focus on education, support, and guidance, Tuesday’s Children’s Career Resource Center meets the needs of Gold Star children and family members who are beginning to envision their careers, struggling to apply to college, seeking their first internship or job, or trying to return to the workforce following an absence. With this NFL-BWF grant, Tuesday’s Children will improve the emotional, academic, and behavioral outcomes of Gold Star children, siblings, and surviving family members nationwide through a combination of Youth Mentoring and Career Resource Center programming. These programs provide vital connections, particularly during the ongoing pandemic, when there is greater risk of isolation in children and young adults, especially those who have already experienced traumatic loss. 

The goal of this grant is to improve the emotional, academic, and behavioral outcomes of at least 4,000 Gold Star children, siblings, and surviving family members nationwide through a combination of Youth Mentoring and Career Resource Center programming. 


University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 

STRONG STAR Training Initiative 

The South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience (STRONG STAR) is a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research consortium that develops and evaluates the most effective early interventions for the detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions. The STRONG STAR Training Initiative trains veteran-serving community mental health providers in evidence-based treatments for PTSD and related mental health problems to increase access to high-quality care. STRONG STAR trains providers in the use of evidence-based therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, insomnia, and nightmares. As more community mental health providers are trained to competency in these therapies, veterans will benefit from increased local access to leading treatments that will help them maintain or resume healthy, productive lives. The Training Initiative will conduct Learning Communities in EBTs for PTSD winter, spring and fall 2022. Mental health providers enrolled in a Learning Community will receive follow-up expert consultation, organizational consultation, and advanced training for 12 months after the initial training. With this BWF grant, STRONG STAR will provide training and consultation in Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy to 125 veteran-serving, community-based mental health providers across the nation.  



Housing and Employment Case Management and Meals for Homeless and At-Risk Veterans 

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that while only 7 percent of the general U.S. population are veterans, nearly 13 percent of the homeless adult population are veterans. According to the 2020 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, western states reported the highest percentages of people experiencing homelessness in unsheltered locations, including California (70%), Nevada (61%), Hawaii (57%), and Arizona (50%). U.S.VETS addresses this issue by providing permanent and transitional housing, counseling, career development, and comprehensive support to military veterans and their families. Through their residential service centers, U.S.VETS addresses inequities in communities that lead to disproportionate rates of homelessness and unemployment among veterans. This NFL-BWF grant will provide housing and employment case management to 2,500 veterans at seven residential sites in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada, and will supplement federal funding to feed residents healthy meals. This support will ensure that veterans transitioning out of homelessness have their immediate needs met, as well as the resources to achieve long-term housing stability. 


Veterans Community Project

Veterans Outreach Center 

Supported in partnership with

Veteran Community Project (VCP) is an innovative tiny home community that fills an important transitional housing gap for veterans experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, Missouri. VCP’s model provides temporary shelter and a Veterans Outreach Center that brings public and private services into the community to accelerate veterans transition into permanent housing solutions. VCPs goal is to cut through barriers to housing, employment, health, and food services for all veterans struggling to obtain or maintain housing. With BWFs support, VCP will expand the capacity of case management capabilities at the Veterans Outreach Center to support an increased demand from veterans outside their tiny home community and will develop partnerships with additional social service organizations to increase available services at the center. With this BWF grant, VCP will decrease barriers to access housing, employment, health care, and food for 750 veterans. 


Veterans Empowerment Organization of Georgia

Help for Our Heroes 

The Veterans Empowerment Organization of Georgia (VEO) empowers veterans experiencing homelessness and at-risk of homelessness along their journey to self-sufficiency. A government report found that key barriers that hinder veterans from seeking mental services include stigma, logistical challenges to accessing care, and lack of awareness of potential benefits. Mental health is essential to stability in housing, personal well-being, family and interpersonal relationships, and the ability to contribute to community or society, yet veterans with other-than-honorable discharges are not eligible for mental health and substance abuse treatment through many publicly funded funding for veterans. VEO utilizes evidence-based treatments (EBT) to improve mental health and substance use disorder outcomes to ensure veterans living in their transitional housing units effectively thrive once they secure permanent housing. With a BWF grant, VEO will provide transitional housing for at least 140 veterans experiencing homelessness and at-risk of homelessness while they receive supportive services prior to obtaining permanent housing. 


Volunteers of America Florida, Inc. 

Emergency Support for Vulnerable Veterans Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic  

There are over 106,000 veterans living below the federal poverty level in Florida, many of whom are experiencing homelessness and other barriers to a stable, secure life. Volunteers of America of Florida helps veterans and their families find safe and affordable housing, and provides them with the vital support services they need to stabilize. Volunteers of America Florida serves major cities like Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Ocala, Gainesville, Cocoa, Lake City, Sebring, Tampa, Miami, and Key West. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant effect on the vulnerable veterans they serve, especially impacting their financial and housing security. This NFL-BWF Salute to Service grant will enable Volunteers of America Florida to address the negative effects of COVID-19 on veterans and their families by providing a combination of emergency financial assistance, food, housing, and behavioral health services to over 700 veterans.