This Giving Tuesday, we’re taking a look at 10 military nonprofits that exemplify the spirit of giving.
Giving Tuesday — or #GivingTuesday, as you might see it tagged on social media — falls on every Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It’s meant to inspire people to get into the habit of giving, and celebrate the holiday season by donating.
Whether you’re donating your time, money, or other possessions, consider giving to these 10 military nonprofits that support our American Veterans:
10. Give an Hour
Give an Hour is unique among these military nonprofits in that it helps other people, too — not just military members. But it started with this mission: To offer mental health support to active duty, National Guard, Reservists, Veterans and their families. Give an Hour’s website is set up so that anyone (predominantly active military and Veterans) can use it to find mental health services in their area. They provide a range of programs to both “Get Help” and “Give Help.”
“Mental health is part of the human condition. It’s time we recognize how important our emotional well-being is for all of us.” – Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Founder and Former President of Give an Hour.
The USO is one of the nation’s leading organizations in providing support to our armed forces. They have centers around the country, focused near military installations, and run operations overseas to serve deployed service members as well. They’re best known for their services at airports — offering 24/7 hospitality to traveling military families — and their “USO tours” that bring music and entertainment to soldiers stationed around the world. It relies on public donations and volunteers to run it, and ever since it was founded 77 years ago, it’s been wildly successful in serving our service members.
Hope For The Warriors focuses on three main things: Transition, Health & Wellness, and Sports & Recreation. Their mission is simply to support service members and Veterans through these programs and peer engagement, because they recognize all that they sacrifice in their service.
“The art therapy session at the Caregiver Workshop encouraged me to focus on being good enough, not perfect, for my kids, my husband — and myself. That’s a huge stress reliever! Going to all three workshops helped me reinforce the habit of taking care of myself and sharing what I’ve learned with other caregivers.” — Military Caregiver Linsie Ojard
American Legion has been around since 1919, and will be around for many more years. It’s America’s largest organization dedicated to wartime Veterans and it boasts a variety of programs to support them. Some of them include athletic programs, like American Legion Baseball, Operation Comfort Warriors, which provides comfort items to recovering wounded warriors and their families, and college scholarship opportunities. American Legion has posts all around the country for community support among our Veterans.
Fisher House Foundation’s main function is providing free lodging to military families whose loved one is staying in a hospital. Their homes are located at VA and military centers around the world, and each of them includes up to 21 suites. They also have the Hero Miles program, which uses donated frequent flyer miles to fly family members to the side of injured service members, and the Hotel for Heroes program, which uses donated hotel points to give them somewhere to stay (if they’re not in a Fisher House). They host a grant program and scholarship opportunities for military families as well.
Operation Military Family Cares is focused on offering top-notch programs to address the health, morale and financial well-being of American military families. These programs more specifically provide both training and community support that can help you with anything from healing from trauma to improving your paycheck, and a lot of stuff in between.
“Bottom line – we help you gain your COMPETITIVE EDGE in today’s market place through world-class programs and solutions designed to improve your personal and professional health, morale, and bottom line.”
4. Decker Dogs
#4 on our list of military nonprofits is Decker Dogs, who put the focus on the heroes with four legs. Decker Dogs is part of the larger Eric and Jessie Decker Foundation, and they rescue, care and train service dogs for returning warriors who need their help. Not only do they free dogs who could be put down or live their lives in a shelter, but they give disabled Veterans a new lease on life — and a new best friend. “Free a Hero to Save a Hero.”
Blue Star Families is an organization whose primary purpose it to offer community to military families across the nation. They identified the need for connection among military families who often move every two or three years, and decided to do something about it. Their programs help military members, spouses, children and Veterans do things such as: Secure gainful employment, find caregivers, improve family life and develop a network of peer support. They also offer free museum access, books and events.
2. Run Freely
Run Freely was founded for a very specific reason: To help active military members and Veterans with limb salvage conditions — financially and otherwise. Its founder, ESPN journalist Kenny Mayne, suffered an ankle injury that caused him tremendous pain when walking or running. In 2017 he was fitted with a device that took this pain away, and inspired him to create Run Freely. This device — called IDEO — reduces pain and restores mobility to service members and Veterans with limb salvage conditions who are trying to avoid amputation. Run Freely operates a facility in Gig Harbor, WA that evaluates candidates and helps them learn how to “run freely” with the IDEO device. It also raises money for those who can’t afford this $10,000+ cost.
MVP started when it recognized the similarities between service members and athletes, and decided to combine them in a program that, at its core, offers community support. It was founded by Jay Glazer and Nate Boyer. Glazer is a man who’s spent years helping former athletes, and Boyer is a former U.S. Army Green Beret and NFL player. They match new Veterans and former pro athletes together in a training program that helps them overcome the challenges of this transition together.
“Both war fighters and football players need something to fight for once the uniform comes off, and your service to country or time on the field is over. Without real purpose for the man on your right and left, it can be easy to feel lost.” — Nate Boyer, Combat Veteran, NFL Veteran + MVP Team Member
Valor Worldwide, parent company and publisher of OurMilitary.com, has had the honor of partnering with several of these military nonprofits through our Valor Invests in Veterans initiative. We encourage you to research any nonprofit before you make a donation. Happy Giving Tuesday!