BWF Announces Second Quarter Grantees

The Bob Woodruff Foundation is proud to announce the important work we’ve funded in the first and second quarters of 2013.  Your support makes these grants possible.  These programs will make a significant impact on the lives of our injured heroes and their families.  BWF grants are given to organizations and programs in our three primary focus areas:  Rehabilitation & Recovery, Education & Employment and Quality of Life.  You can explore some of our past grantees on our Success Stories page.
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Northeast Passage – Durham, NH
Participation in sports can help people with disabilities grow in confidence and improve their physical wellbeing. Northeast Passage – an adaptive sports and recreational therapy program at the University of New Hampshire – began working on a guide to adaptive sports certification and training programs through a previous BWF grant. The guide was envisioned as a resource for funding agencies, veterans and family members to identify certifications and training when evaluating adaptive sports programs. The research for the guide uncovered wide disparities in the quality of certification and training programs. BWF is funding a follow-on 6-month study to provide national governance boards with models of best practice and to develop a plan for improvement and or implementation of these programs. Disabled Sports USA and USOC Paralympics are collaborating with Northeast Passage on this study.  This is a result of our High Impact Collaboration last year.
Ride 2 Recovery – Calabasas, CA
Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) uses peer-to-peer therapy to combat the physical and invisible wounds of war. The R2R approach is simple yet powerful: bring injured service members together and challenge them to complete a 300-400 mile bike ride. The races create a safe environment in which to connect with peers and discuss issues, while at the same time helping them recognize their resilience and appreciate their perseverance. The Bob Woodruff Foundation will sponsor ten post-9/11 wounded injured or ill veteran riders at R2R races. The BWF sponsored riders must register for VA eBenefits or provide their contact info to Team Red White and Blue, Disabled Sports USA or a local Paralympic Club so that contact with these organizations can provide race participants with a conduit for social engagement in their communities and ease their integration into civilian life.  Both Colin and General Casey recommended this group to us, Colin did a ride with them last year.
Semper Max
Semper Max understands the ways in which socializing, sharing resources, and learning with others who can relate can empower and heal families who are surviving TBI. For the second time this year, Semper Max is adapting their successful Meeting of the Minds (MoM) conference model to host a TBI Couples Retreat with a focus on sexual health and intimacy. The retreat will provide resiliency tools to couples whose relationships have evolved through traumatic experiences and role changes, helping them to strengthen their connection with one another, and working through changes in intimacy and emotional support.
SongwritingWith: Soldiers – Austin, TX
Wounded warriors who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or who struggle with posttraumatic stress can be helped through therapy that encourages them to talk and express their feelings about the trauma they have experienced. Music has long been recognized for its healing effects and it is through music that some veterans can achieve a healing catharsis of self-expression. The SongwritingWith: Soldiers program brings professional songwriters with their artistic skills and creativity into this therapeutic arena to help veterans tell their stories. Mental health practitioners, relaxation therapists and veteran peers provide additional support during weekend retreats at locations close to US military bases. BWF is funding a second weekend retreat at the Cedarbrake Retreat Center near Fort Hood, TX.
There & Back Again – Fort Belvoir, VA
There & Back Again was founded in 2005 by combat veterans who had been living with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress for decades before finding integrative therapies as the key to processing their war experiences and managing their symptoms of PTS. They have found that teaching injured service members to integrate mind-body practices into daily life empowers them to be active participants in their healing and reintegration. It also enhances the continuity of care as they transition from active duty to veteran status; the mind-body tools they learn are portable. TABA is partnering with 6 organizations collaboratively to provide a resiliency and reintegration program serving the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Instructors will work with the multi-disciplinary treatment teams to offer sessions in yoga and meditation several times per week. The sessions will be facilitated by teachers who have received Warriors at Ease Certification, a program that certifies yoga and meditation teachers in military culture and the signature injuries of combat.  They will also offer scholarships to injured service members interested in pursing certification as yoga and mediation instructors.
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ServiceSource Warrior Bridge – Northern Virginia
ServiceSource’s Warrior Bridge Program launched in Northern Virginia in 2012 with funding support from BWF. In their first year, they removed barriers to employment and connected disabled post-9/11 veterans to a broad range of supportive services, serving 100 individuals. In their start-up year, the Warrior Bridge Program learned a great deal about the needs of the population they are serving. As a result, they will provide more comprehensive, high-touch service with the goal of creating a much greater impact in individuals’ lives in the second year. Services will include case management, access to transportation, respite care, home repair and education and training to help disabled service members become self-sufficient and ready for sustained employment.

The Urban Justice Center: Veteran Advocacy Project – New York City
The Veteran Advocacy Project has spent the last few years establishing a presence and a trust among New York City’s veterans groups. They have a track record of meeting veterans where they are in NYC – in schools, in shelters, in rehabilitation facilities, at the VA seeking treatment, and in peer-run organizations – and they have shown that they understand and can address some of the unique challenges they face. Through VAP’s work they have identified a growing need for legal services among the new generation of OIF/OEF veterans on college campuses in New York City. Student veterans, many of whom are struggling with PTS, TBI and other combat-related injuries, are also struggling with consumer debt, red tape surrounding their benefits, long lines in welfare centers, and eviction notices on their doors. Following a successful pilot campus outreach project on New York City campuses, they were overwhelmed by the demand for legal assistance, and have had to shut down their intake line because they don’t have the staff to support it. Funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will make it possible for them to hire a staff member to deliver completely free legal services and preventative outreach to post-9/11 veterans on New York City college campuses with a focus on those living with PTS, TBI, substance abuse and mental illness.

Worklife Institute – Houston, Texas
The Worklife Institute has already been recognized for their success in moving large numbers of veterans into sustainable and upwardly mobile, satisfying employment. BWF is granting funding for a second year continuation and expansion of their OEF/OIF Reentry and Worklife Transition Program in Houston and 10 surrounding counties, serving post-9/11 injured service members and their families. The major elements of the program include career assistance, training, supportive counseling services, legal and financial advisement, professional and personal development workshops, outreach, and partnerships with other community veteran service providers.

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Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana (Fuller NWLA)
Fuller Center NWLA provides well constructed homes to low-income families, and in the process helps to revitalize neighborhoods and create stronger communities. All recipients of Fuller Center homes must invest “sweat” equity in the construction of their homes and participate in financial education and counseling to increase the probability that they will be successful home owners. Through a partnership with Roger Waters, BWF is funding construction of four homes for veterans in a Shreveport neighborhood located less than a mile from the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center.
Team Red White and Blue
Team Rubicon and Team Red White and Blue (Team RWB) launched their partnership at the “Run as One,” a multi-city race on May 18th, Armed Forces Day. Together, both organizations provide a spectrum of opportunities for Veterans to experience the camaraderie, purpose and pride that they shared in the military by participating in physical and social activities at the local level. The Run as One event took place in approximately 40 chapter cities across the country, calling attention to the programs offered by both organizations and driving home the power of collaboration. Additionally, the Veterans Administration (VA) offered all Run as One participants the opportunity to register for VA E-benefits at the races. Team RWB requested $25,000 to provide 2500 specially designed co-branded running shirts to be worn by participants the day of the race and long after. The shirt design includes the Team RWB logo, the Team Rubicon logo, the Bob Woodruff Foundation logo, and the American flag. The shirts displays our Foundation’s support of both organizations and demonstrate the commitment that these organizations have made to one another.
Veterans Airlift Command
Commercial air travel can pose a host of challenges for combat-injured service members — challenges that often preclude them from being able to attend important events and/or receive needed services in a timely manner.  Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) provides free air transportation to post-9/11 military wounded and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. With private aircraft, military wounded and their families are able to travel in comfort without having to contend with long lines, TSA hassles or crowds as they navigate through large public airport terminals. BWF funding will support the VAC flight coordination function,  which matches private pilots and and aircraft with veterans in need of transport.