On an annual basis, American citizens donate over $2.5 billion to military-related charities. If you’re looking to donate in support of the country’s brave veterans and service members, the sheer amount of charities to donate to can be overwhelming – there are over 40,000 of them! If you’re unsure of where to start, consult the guide below on the top 10 organizations that are making a difference in the lives of American veterans.
Freedom Service Dogs of America
This organizations slogan is “Free a Hero to Save a Hero!”. They work a bit differently than similar organizations in that their dogs are rescued rather than bred. Freedom Service places dogs in the homes of veterans and those in active duty, as well as children and adults with special needs. The dogs aid those with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and PTSD, among others. Because the dogs are rescued, they are often more eager to create a second life for themselves and please their owners. A dog in a veteran’s life often offers them a second chance too, especially at independence.
Give an Hour
Give an Hour is a national organization that seeks to provide help with a number of illnesses that affect the American population by creating a network of experienced, trained, and knowledgeable volunteers. Since 2005, the group has been offering free mental health counseling to veterans. They are accessible, with volunteers all over the country, and effective.
The Semper Fi Fund
Acting quick and providing lifetime financial support, the Semper Fi Fund is truly one of a kind in its support of wounded veterans. Furthermore, the assistance extends to veterans’ families and is applied to all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. They also provide transition support that provides veterans with tools and services that allow them to live healthy, happy, and more independent lives after an injury.
The Pat Tillman Foundation
Created by the family of Pat Tillman, a former NFL athlete who lost his life while serving in the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, this foundation provides educational scholarships and resources to veterans, former service members, and their spouses. It seeks to serve those who choose to put their lives on the line and serve a greater cause, much like the foundation’s namesake.
Operation Support Our Troops – America
This organization’s mission is to create more cohesion between American civilians and service members, both former and current, and their families. Operation Support works with schools, churches, companies, and individuals all over the country to provide care packages, holiday cards, and letters of support to the troops. Their work helps veterans feel the support of loved ones and their country while hundreds of miles away.
Hire Heroes USA
The name says it all! Hire Heroes USA works with veterans, who are often struggling with re-entering civilian life, to succeed with life and careers outside of the Armed Forces. Their team of former military and business professionals teach veterans the skills they need to be successful in business and then assists them in a securing a job at a good company. Hire Heroes USA sets each veteran up with an experienced mentor and provides access to a network of veteran-friendly companies.
Bob Woodruff Family Foundation
In 2006, journalist Bob Woodruff was critically injured while reporting for “World News Tonight” on ABC. While hospitalized with a Traumatic Brain Injury, Woodruff’s wife was introduced to a number of military families whose loved ones were hospitalized for similar injuries. Bob was fortunate to recover. Since then, he and his family created their foundation and have donated millions to programs and nonprofits, research, and services aimed at helping those with Traumatic Brain Injuries and PTSD.
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation
Though not directly helping veterans, this organization looks after children who have lost a parent in the line of duty. Children of Fallen Patriots not only provides college scholarships to these children, but offers counseling to both the children and spouses of fallen service members.
Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House, a national non-profit, provides free housing to families who have loved ones receiving medical care at one of the nation’s major military and VA hospitals. Since its start in 1990, the foundation has helped military families save more than $360 million in housing and transportation.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Thanks to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the children of special operations personnel who lost their lives in duty receive full financial support for their educational endeavors. They also provide financial assistance to special operations personnel who have been critically injured in combat. More than 90% of the children in their programs attend college and 94% earn degrees or vocational training.
As all of these organizations and foundations prove, the smallest donation or act of kindness can make a monumental impact in the quality of life of the country’s veterans. Consider donating to or participating as a volunteer at any one of these charities and start making a difference today.