Settling into its new home in midtown Manhattan, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has strengthened its network in New York City and increased its collaboration and support from Wall Street. In a new partnership this year with Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS), a confederation of the world’s most influential economic institutions, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has brought the power of this financial epicenter to fund innovative grassroots programs. Together with the generous support of founding sponsor GFI Group INC. and loyal donors like VOWS, Helen Persson, the Paul E. Singer Foundation, Axonic Capital LLC, Google, JWT and Havas PR, the foundation transcends politics to rally around one cause: supporting injured service members, veterans and their families as they transition into civilian life.
In partnership with the New York Comedy Festival, the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s annual Stand Up for Heroes event this November featured a star-studded lineup of comedians and musicians including Bill Cosby, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Roger Waters with special guests the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band. The foundation also hosted more than 120 injured service members, veterans and their families from all across the country as the evenings’ honored guests.
This year, Stand Up for Heroes raised an unprecedented $5 million. In its seventh year, the event doubled in size and moved from the Beacon Theatre to the Theater at Madison Square Garden to accommodate a sold-out audience of 5,500 guests. The performances were captured for fans beyond the venue, courtesy of Google+ Hangout, the sharing and communications platform that brings real-world interactions online. The Google+ Hangout also facilitated an interactive discussion between musicians on location, celebrities and veterans.
The funds raised at Stand Up For Heroes directly benefit diverse programs in communities across the country that fulfill the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s mission to ensure that post-9/11 injured service members, veterans and their families thrive long after they return home.
In 2013 the Bob Woodruff Foundation invested $4 million in programs, awarding 31 new grants this year. To date, the foundation has invested $19.9 million in more than 90 local and national programs and solutions and has reached more than 1 million service members, veterans and their families. Grants are focused in three areas: education and employment, rehabilitation and recovery, and quality of life. A sampling of this year’s recipients’ include:
- 100 Entrepreneurs offers post-9/11 injured service members entrepreneurial classes during their recovery, to aid in the transition toward sustainable occupations in the civilian world.
- SongwritingWith: Soldiers acknowledges that music has long been recognized for its healing effects. The SongwritingWith: Soldiers program brings professional songwriters with their artistic skills and creativity as well as mental-health practitioners, relaxation therapists and peers into this therapeutic arena to help veterans tell their stories. BWF is funding a weekend retreat to help injured veterans achieve a healing catharsis of self-expression through music.
- There & Back Again offers a resiliency and reintegration program for combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS). This program integrates mind-body practices like yoga and meditation into injured service member’s daily routines to manage symptoms of PTS and empower active participation in their healing and reintegration into civilian life.
- The Urban Justice Center: Veteran Advocacy Project Campus Outreach provides free legal services and preventive outreach to post-9/11 student veterans on New York City college campuses who are struggling with PTS, traumatic brain injury and substance abuse.
- The Mission Continues aims to help veterans readjust to civilian life by finding a new mission while building a new network on the homefront through high-impact service. BWF is funding a new Mission Continues model, the Service Platoons Pilot, where teams of 30 or more veterans will work together to achieve a major service goal in their community over time through a series of short-term community service projects.
“In 2014, we are looking forward to strengthening our roots in New York City and engaging our networks for further collaboration to find, fund and shape innovative programs and solutions nationwide to meet the growing needs of injured service members, veterans and their families,” says Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “The foundation will continue to strive to diversify its support and create more opportunities for a broader base of donors to bolster the breadth and targeted reach of its investments.”
About the Bob Woodruff Foundation
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) is the nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring injured service members and their families are thriving long after they return home. A national organization with grassroots reach, the Bob Woodruff Foundation complements the work of the federal government—diligently navigating the maze of more than 40,000 nonprofits providing services to veterans—finds, funds and shapes innovative programs, and holds them accountable for results. To date, BWF has invested more than $19 million in public education and solutions, reaching more than a million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by award-winning anchor Bob Woodruff and his family, whose own experiences inspired them to help make sure the nation’s heroes have access to the highest level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it. For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org.