2023 Got Your 6 Summit Hosts San Antonio Leaders
Over 350 public, private, and nonprofit leaders gathered on February 14 for the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s 2023 Got Your 6 Summit in San Antonio, TX. There, they discussed the challenges San Antonio military families and veterans face, and how to solve these challenges. The Foundation partnered with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County to host the Summit; Craig Newmark Philanthropies provided support.
Speakers, panelists and participants identified the need to simplify access to the myriad resources in San Antonio. This need is consistent with the Center for New American Security’s (CNAS) findings in it Greater San Antonio Military & Veteran Family Needs Assessment; the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County commissioned the Assessment.
In addition to strengthening collaboration within San Antonio, the Summit was about sharing best practices nationwide. “San Antonio is the best example of a thriving American city due to its intertwining with the military community. The Bob Woodruff Foundation will share lessons from the 2023 Got Your 6 Summit with our national network of veteran service organizations. These organizations are dedicated to helping veterans, service members, their families, and caregivers,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO.
Speakers and Panelists
Leaders across sectors joined us for the day. Speakers and panelists included:
- Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio
- Brig. Gen. Russell Driggers, Commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio
- Lindsey O’Neill, Chief Communications and Corporate Responsibility Officer at USAA
- Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO of the Bob Woodruff Foundation
- Chris Martin, President and CEO of United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
- Gen. Ed Rice, Jr., USAF (Ret.), Community Impact Committee Chair of United Way of San Antonio
- Katherine Kuzminski, Director of Military, Veterans and Society Programs at Center for New American Security
- Kathy Roth-Douquet, President and CEO of Blue Star Families
- Mia Garcia, Executive Director of Texas Veteran Network at Combined Arms
- Delia Johnson, VP of Operations for Military Family Advisory Network
- Meg Harrell, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Bob Woodruff Foundation
Summit Focus Areas
The CNAS Assessment highlighted the apparent contrast between Military City USA’s successes and the military and veteran populations’ challenges. According to the Assessment, San Antonio’s significant population growth in the past decade has presented military families with opportunities. At the same time, this growth has intensified difficulties in accessing affordable housing, medical care, food, and childcare.
During breakout sessions, the 2023 Got Your 6 Summit participants addressed topics that impact our military and veteran community. Topics ranged from supporting service members and caregivers, to addressing basic needs including food security and housing. Attendees also discussed how to improve military cultural competency in education and healthcare, and address challenges related to employment, mental health services, childcare, and access to benefits.
2023 Got Your 6 Summit Impact
The Foundation hosted the Summit in San Antonio because of the United Way’s role as a hub for stakeholders that are committed to supporting military and veteran families. Military City USA’s proximity to active-duty military was equally important. Dave Woodruff, a Bob Woodruff Foundation co-founder, confirmed San Antonio was the right choice. “I’ve learned so much from the veterans and the organizations that are here. We’re committed to this market; we’re here to help veterans, family members, allies in San Antonio. We want to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Woodruff, a Foundation co-founder.
As proof of that commitment, the Bob Woodruff Foundation invested more than $70k in veteran and military nonprofits in San Antonio the week following the Summit.
Funding is important but the impact doesn’t stop there. In survey feedback from participants after the Summit, 83% of of respondents indicated that, through the Summit, the increased their knowledge of local resources available to military-connected individuals. Survey respondents expressed a willingness to continue meeting and networking, building on the knowledge and relationships from the Summit.
The 2023 Got Your 6 Summit was an important platform for diverse stakeholders to come together. Attendees exchanged ideas and collaborated on innovative strategies to improve local military and veteran communities. It was a poignant reminder of the unceasing need to support those who have honorably served our country and their families. When events like this are combined with sustained efforts to support veterans and their families, we can strive to ensure our veterans have access to the necessary resources and support to lead fulfilling and prosperous lives.
For more about the Summit, visit Texas Public Radio‘s, KSAT’s, and the San Antonio Report‘s coverage.
If you missed the 2023 Summit, watch for our announcement later this year about our 2024 Summit.