Supporting Veterans in the Woodruff Family’s Hometown of Detroit
This fall, through the NFL-BWF Salute to Service partnership, we awarded a Healthy Lifestyles and Creating Community grant to Volunteers of America Michigan (VOAMI). With the funding, VOAMI will improve the lives of hundred of low-income veteran and military households. VOAMI will provide case management, healthcare guidance and support, food, and assistance in finding permanent housing.
Dave Woodruff, Bob Woodruff Foundation’s co-founder and chief development officer, and Cheyanne Gordon, the Foundation’s communications specialist, discuss the Foundation’s collaboration with Volunteers of America Michigan to support veterans in Michigan.
Cheyanne Gordon: Dave, what should we know about the veteran community in Michigan?
Dave Woodruff: Michigan is home to over 500,000 veterans. Many of them are thriving; this is a great place to live! Go Lions! Unfortunately, many of our local veterans are also facing challenges: mental and physical health and financial stability, including homelessness and food insecurity.
CG: Tell us more about how Volunteers of America Michigan supports veterans in the area.
DW: Volunteers of America Michigan plays a vital role in the veteran support structure in Michigan, especially in my hometown of Detroit. They are one of the largest private providers of services to veterans in the state. They assist people experiencing homelessness, including shelter access, nutritious food, employment support, housing solutions for low-income seniors, and more.
CG: How do the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Volunteers of America Michigan make a difference in veterans’ lives?
DW: We work together on two levels. At the Foundation level, we are proud to financially support Volunteers of America Michigan through our grant program. I also enjoy working with them as a BWF representative in Detroit. The Foundation has about 25 full-time staff members, and two of us are in Detroit. Here and everywhere else we’re located across the country, our team connects with and gives back to local veterans organizations.
CG: In your opinion, what makes Volunteers of America Michigan special?
DW: Volunteers of America Michigan stands out because of their dedication and effectiveness in addressing veteran homelessness. They combine a range of different services to fully address veterans’ barriers to stability. This is especially true of their programs serving veterans who are currently or at risk of experiencing homelessness by empowering them to regain stability in their lives. Also, the commitment and passion of the volunteers make all the difference.
CG: Could you share more about your personal connection to Detroit? Why is the Foundation’s support of Volunteers of America Michigan particularly meaningful to you?
DW: As a Detroit native, seeing the impact of organizations like Volunteers of America Michigan hits close to home. Detroit faces unique challenges. Supporting efforts to reduce veteran homelessness in Detroit is a cause that’s deeply meaningful to me and our Foundation.
Learn more about the NFL-BWF Salute to Service partnership.