Whether you’re a veteran, have a loved one who is a veteran, or you’re just interested in finding a veterans’ charity organization you can trust, there are lots of great nonprofit groups available. Veterans’ organizations can be a place to seek refuge, help, and support for family members.
When you give to a charity, or if you’re seeking help from one, it’s important to find an organization that puts the majority of their funds into helping veterans, and there are a few well-known names out there that simply don’t follow through with that promise. The following is a list of trusted veterans’ organizations who put veterans and their families first.
There are three categories of nonprofit organizations, according to the IRS. These include posts and organizations, charitable organizations, and non-charitable nonprofits.
Posts and organizations, including the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, can be found in every state and provide a multitude of services to veterans and their families. They are active social organizations that provide a sense of community and belonging while helping local veterans. They are also a local resource for military history and a place to seek help in recovering lost Army medals and other awards.
Charitable organizations work in four areas of focus, and the majority usually receive a maximum of $50,000 a year in grants and contributions. They provide benefits to the veteran community and services without monetary gains.
Non-charitable nonprofits usually provide services for a specific cause, whether that be political, labor or business-related. Some non-charitable nonprofits include public libraries, social clubs and chambers of commerce. These nonprofits do not pay income taxes, but they can accept tax-deductible charitable donations.
1.) AMVETS National Service Foundation
AMVETS is not a charity, but it is a vital service for veterans transitioning into civilian life. AMVETS helps veterans with the paperwork they must navigate to receive their benefits, which is an especially important resource for disabled veterans and their families. AMVETS’ mission is to “provide Veterans, their families, and survivors world-class counsel and representation before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.”
They also help veterans and their dependents with scholarships for pursuing higher education. They also run thrift stores nationwide, which raises money for AMVETS programs, including their charities and legal work. They also have volunteers who work at VA hospitals and facilities with veterans and their families.
2.) The Fisher House Foundation
One of the most well-known and well-regarded organizations for veterans is the Fisher House Foundation, which donates over 90 percent of its contributions and expenses back to the programs and services it provides to veterans and their families. The Fisher House Foundation runs 84 houses around the world, located near VA hospitals and military installations. These houses are used to alleviate the out-of-pocket costs of families of veterans and wounded soldiers who are receiving treatment at medical facilities.
The first two Fisher Houses opened in 1991, and since then they have helped military families save over $451 million in lodging and transportation expenses while their loved ones are in military and VA medical centers. Each house contains suites, with common areas for dining, laundry, and kitchens.
The Fisher House Foundation has partnerships with many corporate entities which allow donations to be made while you shop. People can also donate their Frequent Flyer Miles, hotel points rewards and even their cars to help military families get to their loved one’s bedside.
3.) Operation Homefront
Based in San Antonio, Texas, Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and their families with financial assistance and transportation. Unfortunately, returning wounded veterans may have to wait to begin receiving their benefits, which can take a toll on their finances and bring them and their families into poverty. Operation Homefront offers emergency assistance and transitional housing for veterans who are in immediate need.
Other services of Operation Homefront include car repairs, holiday toy drives, home maintenance and retreats and support groups for veterans and their families. Caregivers of wounded soldiers find immense benefit and support in these groups while returning veterans benefit from these resources while navigating the complexities of PTSD.
Operation Homefront’s mission and values are all about working on the front lines of the difficulties and complexities of returning veterans and their families. Their mission is to “be the provider of choice for short-term and Critical Financial Assistance, long-term stability, and recurring support programs to military families.”
4.) The American Legion
The American Legion has several posts in every state across the country and provides services and support for the local community of veterans and their families. While many veterans recognize the bond with fellow soldiers in war, the American Legion seeks to continue fostering that bond, even after soldiers return home.
The American Legion is also an important resource for returning veterans who are beginning to transition back into civilian life. Their facilities usually have a wealth of information about nonprofit and charity organizations which are set up to help disabled, homeless, wounded and returning veterans find housing and navigate the complexities of the VA. Profits from activities raised at the posts go towards funding college scholarships and financial assistance for veterans and their families.
Family members of veterans, both alive and deceased, can also join their local American Legion under the Sons of the American Legion or the Ladies’ Auxiliary groups. This fosters a sense of connectedness as each group raises funds and participates in activities that benefit the community and local veterans. They also help raise awareness by selling veteran gear, which helps fund their activities.
5.) Hope for the Warriors
Hope for the Warriors is a charitable veterans organization focused on post-9/11 returning service members and their families. They pride themselves on providing a “full-cycle of care to restore self, family, and hope to post-9/11 service members, their families, and families of the fallen.” Hope for the Warriors operates on a holistic approach to helping veterans and their families transition back to civilian life. They offer health and wellness services, support career and education goals and support sports, hobbies and equipment for wounded soldiers to return to these healing activities.
Hope for the Warriors also provides connections to local community resources for veterans and their families and provides events where service members and families can receive guidance and support from their peers. The Warrior Hope and Care Centers provide vital services, including counseling, medical care and physical conditioning for Sailors and Marines.