These findings were based on data from BWF’s Local Partnership Self-Assessment Tool, part of an initiative to use community-based solutions to address veteran challenges that was made possible by a nearly $5M gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies
When veterans transition out of military service and face new challenges, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution waiting to greet them. The communities they come home to play a major role in ensuring that our veterans and military families have access to the resources and services they need to thrive. To best address the current and emerging needs of veterans and their families, the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) surveyed our network of more than 100 veteran-focused collaboratives and published Community Collaboration For America’s Veterans: Insights From The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Local Partner Self-Assessment Tool, an original research paper based on the results of that assessment.
This paper offers the first data-driven view of how organizations are collaborating to serve veterans and their families in communities across America. The responses we received point to important ways in which those organizations, in collaboration with BWF, can increase their capacity to support America’s veterans.
These findings were developed using BWF’s Local Partner Self-Assessment Tool (LPSAT). Made possible by a $4.85 million gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the LPSAT gathers data about the needs of veterans—and about communities’ ability to meet those needs—from BWF’s large, engaged, and diverse network of over 100 Local Partner collaboratives, representing more than 3,000 organizations across 45 states.
“We’re managing the largest national nongovernmental network of stakeholders in veterans’ wellness, and we’re listening to what they’re telling us. We’ve leveraged this proprietary data to gain unique-in-the-nation insights, so we have the clearest possible picture of the current needs of veterans and military families across the country,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Now, these insights are perhaps more important than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic puts extra pressure on local services and exacerbates existing challenges for these communities.”
This paper offers valuable information for community organizers, service providers, funders, researchers, and policymakers interested in improving the well-being of veteran and military-affiliated populations—not only during this time of increased need but also over the long term.
The findings in this report affirm that community-based collaboratives play a key role in the lives of veterans, whose service-connected and integration needs are often too numerous, complex, and individualized to be addressed adequately by large federal agencies or a single organization.
Through their responses to the LPSAT, BWF learned that community-based collaboratives serve a large and diverse population and address, to some extent, almost every need presented by veterans. Physical and mental health, employment, and career training are the most common needs, but the capacity to meet those needs varies.
From collaboratives based in rural areas that face limited transportation resources, to urban areas that struggle with a shortage of affordable housing, the unique characteristics of a given community inform its ability to serve its veterans. Local Partners play a key role in community wellness—despite, in many cases, lacking the resources or capacity to do so adequately. This role is perhaps more important than ever right now—insights show that collaborative structures are essential in communities’ response to the effects of the pandemic on veterans and military families.
“Our veterans and their families sacrifice so much for us through their service,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and Bob Woodruff Foundation Board Member. “The Bob Woodruff Foundation’s research is a great example of how data is a tool that can be used to help veterans thrive when they return home to our communities across the country.”
Guided by the findings outlined in the paper, BWF will continue to raise funds actively to support veterans and their families. BWF has already expanded its grantmaking efforts in 2020 with over $4 million invested in programs serving veterans nationwide, including a $340,000 investment in Local Partner stimulus funding.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation previously published a report using LPSAT data in April 2020, entitled Veterans and COVID-19: Projecting the Economic, Social, and Mental Health Needs of America’s Veterans.
ABOUT THE BOB WOODRUFF FOUNDATION
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $70 million to find, fund and shape programs that have empowered impacted veterans and service members, and their families, across the nation. For more information, please visit https://bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.