A New Season of Football and One Year of Impact | Bob Woodruff Foundation

A New Season of Football and One Year of Impact

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Football is back! The 2023 season is underway and we’re reflecting our NFL-BWF Salute to Service Partnership’s impact over the past year. Together, we helped impact on the lives of veterans and their families. We’ve seen 3,200 veterans experience improved mental health through evidence-based clinical care; in partnership with housing service providers, 268 veterans gained stable housing, and 194 received essential support and benefits, enhancing their overall well-being.  

There are two partners whose work made a particular mark at the beginning of last season – The Mission Continues and Volunteers of America Florida (VOAFL).  

The Mission Continues

We kicked off the 2022 NFL season with our Got Your 6 Network partner, The Mission Continues. On September 10, 2022, more than 60 volunteers, including representatives from the LA Rams, NFL-BWF grantees, and local community members, gathered to transform VFW Post 5394. Their efforts were nothing short of inspiring; we planted garden plots, renovated the computer room, and created a mural that pays tribute to the invaluable contributions of local African-American veterans. Notable NFL figures, including former LA Rams players Robert Delpino, Harold Jackson, Lucious Smith, and Marine Corps Corporal Bart Salgado, lent their support to this meaningful project. The NFL-BWF Salute to Service and The Mission Continues partnership has transformed this local VFW Post into a hub of community and veteran support, breathing new life into a cherished community space.  

Last spring, we strengthened our partnership with The Mission Continues through an NFL-BWF Salute to Service grant. This grant is aimed at improving the mental health and social connectedness of 75 platoon leaders and team members participating in The Mission Continues’ Service Platoon Program, which spans across 40+ locations in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The importance of social connectedness cannot be understated, as it plays a vital role in fostering a sense of belonging, support, and well-being, particularly for veterans transitioning to civilian life. Moreover, social connectedness is a protective factor against suicide, providing a critical support system for individuals facing mental health challenges. This investment represents both financial support and an unwavering dedication to significantly impacting veterans’ lives and communities.  

Volunteers of America Florida

A few weeks after the 2022 season kicked off, Hurricane Ian hit the Gulf Coast of Florida. Hurricane Ian, the most destructive hurricane to hit Florida since 1935, left widespread devastation, impacting thousands of veterans. Tragically, Hurricane Ian also severely damaged a Veterans of America Florida housing facility in Punta Gorda, creating a desperate need for assistance. Responding to this urgent situation, NFL-BWF Salute to Service promptly provided a Hurricane Ian relief grant to VOAFL within a week of the hurricane’s landfall. This investment facilitated the repair and restoration of the Punta Gorda housing facility, ensuring the safety and well-being of veteran residents through roofing, structural repairs, air conditioning restoration, and tree removal.   

We take pride in the significant impact on veterans’ lives this past year. Our partnership with The Mission Continues, VOAFL, and other dedicated organizations is a beacon of hope and unwavering support for veterans. Kelly Clark, chief of staff for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, emphasizes, “The NFL and BWF share a commitment to real and lasting impact for veterans and military families. We are grateful to our partners at NFL Salute to Service for shedding light on veterans’ needs in communities across the country and for standing with the community we jointly serve.” Together, we persist in our mission that our nation’s veterans, service members, and their families — those who stood for us — have stable and successful futures.   

You can learn more about the NFL-BWF Salute to Service partnership here.