While some Post 9-11 veterans are successful, many have unique issues that make transition into civilian life difficult.
- Veterans experience disproportionate unemployment
- Significant mental health concerns related to their service
- Family stress caused by multiple deployments
Communities are challenged to provide seamless reintegration
- Stigma associated with accessing traditional services
- Lack of cultural competence among service providers
- Lack of partnership between nonprofits and government/veteran serving organizations
- Lack of access to services due to geography
- Lack of knowledge about eligibility
- Poor collaboration between service providers
- Poor economy with fewer jobs
- Build stronger relationships between the local military and veteran institutions and community based providers
- Create a new coordinated system for referrals from community, military partners and military families, including peer navigation.
- Develop a resource map and training forums so the community will be better coordinated to identify, refer and assist military families in finding and accessing appropriate resources.
- Engage community, military and veteran stakeholders in identifying gaps in services and jointly advocate for changes to enhance support for military families.
- Ultimate ensure that military families are more stable and healthy in the community via the new coordinated system and a peer support network.
- Empower veterans so that they can be utilized as strategic assets in their communities.
Theory of Change
If we support programs working toward better system coordination, improved access and quality services, then veterans will have a more successful transition to civilian life.
Defining Successful Integration
The McCormick Foundation Veterans Program seeks to successfully integrate veterans into their communities. While gainful employment, housing, education and access to promised benefits are critical components of integration, they only form the platform for success. The true sign of success for all veterans is their ability to contribute to and be viewed as strategic assets in their communities.
Our ability to shape the dialogue about veterans as strategic assets is just as important as our ability to apply long-term resources to the organizations that support them. Creating foundational tools and formalizing an advocacy agenda will enable the Foundation to continue to positively shape the environment for veterans long after the grant cycle ends.
- Through grants, the veterans program supports organizations that employ high quality, culturally competent services in addressing the needs of veterans, service members and their families.
- It convenes stakeholders including nonprofits, foundation partners, government organizations, veterans serving organizations, corporate partners to align goals and strategies and adopt best practices.
- By advocating for the needs of veterans and their families through policy prescriptions, conferences, and symposiums that highlight the issues and offer opportunities of committment to the issues of veterans.
- The veterans program continually seeks to bring all stakeholders to bear on the issues of veterans. Currently, we have dedicated cross-sector affinity groups that educate and inform our mission.
- Robert R. McCormick's legacy as a citizen soldier and the foundation's rich history of military involvement uniquely positions the veterans program to bring military, government, nonprofit and veteran serving organizations to the table.
The Veterans Program seeks opportunities to compliment other available resources whenever possible, preferring to take advantage of gaps in public sources (the VA, DOD, public benefits) as well as collaborations with other foundations, corporate sponsors and community partnerships.
Exporting Models of Success
The Veterans Program is seeding new projects and new collaborations among public and private organizations that have the potential to be replicated and act as models for community responses to the needs of veterans.
The Veterans Program is actively involved in creating learning communities made up of our grantees, expert advisors and government partners to provide a continuous learning environment to better reach our goals.
Empowering Veterans as Strategic Assets
The Veterans Program highlights the continued impact that our returning veterans are making in their local and national communities. Like Col. McCormick, whose service in WWI became a catalyst for his continued service to our nation, the Veterans Program challenges our veterans to find continued opportunities to leverage their experiences and skills to lead and strengthen the fabric of our nation. Communities need to be challenged to see our nation's veterans as returning assets that can be used to solve our nation's most pressing issues.