2020 has been an extremely stressful year for all of us, but for military families around the globe, they have endured all of this stress on top of deployments, moves, or temporary duty assignments. Though many have suffered job losses or income reductions this year, if you're able to donate to any of these important, worthwhile organizations, there are military families around the globe that would be immensely thankful.
As Giving Tuesday draws near, we thought it would be fun to share a list of military-focused nonprofit organizations that we have seen in action or have made a direct impact on our lives. If you’re considering giving to a nonprofit on Giving Tuesday and just aren’t sure how to narrow it down, we hope this helps.
- The United Service Organizations (USO). Though this huge organization may seem like they wouldn’t be able to put your donation to use, trust us, they will! We can’t count how many USO’s we’ve taken advantage of while traveling and how many of their programs have impacted us over the years. I still remember my children’s faces when they go to see the Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families show when we were stationed in Germany, and how excited they always were to receive a book and video of their dad reading to them from halfway around the world, thanks to the USO’s United Through Reading program. A donation to the USO will have a large ripple effect.
- The Fisher House Foundation. Fisher Houses around the world provide no-cost lodging for military families who are being treated at military medical facilities, often for wounds caused from battle. They provide meals, laundry facilities, and a comfortable place to rest during what is undoubtedly a stressful time. I spent time delivering food donated by my daughter’s preschool in Germany to the Landstuhl Fisher House for a couple of years. They were extremely grateful for each donation they received. Beyond monetary giving, the Fisher House Foundation offers a wide variety of ways to donate to their effort.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The TAPS program is known throughout the military to provide compassionate programs and support to those who have lost a loved one who was serving in the military. Every year in May, TAPS holds Good Grief Camp which brings together Gold Star children with military service members who have volunteered their time to take on the role of mentor and encourager to these special children. The support survivors receive from TAPS, including an always-available support hotline, local programming offered around the world, and special workshops for surviving family members, is immeasurable. A donation to this organization will have a lasting impact on Gold Star families.
- Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF), Syracuse University. The IVMF holds a special place in my heart, as I have benefited from their generous programming as a graduate of their V-WISE program. IVMF is committed to providing veterans and military family members with the encouragement and resources necessary to pursue their entrepreneur dreams. The IVMF team is continually developing innovative programming and curriculum that specifically addresses the needs of today’s military-connected community. A donation to the IVMF will be paid forward to veterans and military family members who will play an integral role as small business owners in our nation’s economy.
- Hiring Our Heroes (HOH). The HOH – Military Spouse Professional Network program is something our team feels very passionate about. We are involved in our local networks and we’ve seen this program work first-hand. Connecting military spouses to the local business leaders at a new duty station opens doors for military spouses. While we currently see military spouse unemployment in the 18-24% range, we know that with continued efforts from the HOH – MSPN, we can begin to put a dent in that number, leading to improved retention and recruitment rates for our nation’s military. Donating to the HOH is a way to support the entire military family.
- Wreaths Across America. This inspiring programs seeks to educate, remember, and honor by allowing community members the opportunity to place wreaths on the graves of our nation's veterans during the holiday season. These events take place at over 2,100 veterans cemeteries around the country.
- Pets for Vets. This nonprofit seeks to match our nation's veterans with shelter dogs who need a permanent home, giving both a new "leash on life." The organization sees the positive outcomes when shelter dogs are welcomed into a loving home. These dogs provide Veterans with unconditional love and support helping to ease stress, depression, loneliness, and anxiety - all common feelings when returning to civilian life.
- National Military Family Association. For over five decades, the NMFA is the voice of military families and the "go-to" source for government officials who want to better understand the critical issues surrounding today's military families. They proudly support a scholarship program for military spouses and carry out an annual summer camp program for military kids dealing with deployment.
This is a busy, stressful time of year and we know budgets can be stretched thin. We personally work with a few nonprofits so we know that generous donations make a big difference regarding the work they’re able to do in communities around the country. Thank you for considering a gift on Giving Tuesday!