Many civilians, former military members, and military family members strongly wish to give back to those who serve our nation by contributing to military and veteran charities.
However, it can be difficult to select a charity that is truly reputable and trustworthy, ensuring that the money donated to the organization goes to the cause it claims to support and promote.
Thankfully, there are many philanthropic organizations whose members devote their time and effort to support veterans and military members in a way that is transparent, accountable, and genuine.
Here are the 12 best charities for military veterans and service members.
The United Service Organizations (USO) is a nonprofit that is chartered by Congress.
However, the USO is not part of the federal government.
Beginning in 1941, the USO has provided care packages, entertainment, and recreational activities to service members and their families.
This organization operates over 135 centers across the world, including 10 mobile canteens in the U.S. and overseas.
Some of the services provide by the USO include:
- Free internet and email access
- Housing assistance
- Family crisis counseling
- Support groups
- Game rooms
- Nursery facilities
Most people associate the USO with bringing live shows and famous entertainers to the front lines to boost morale and let service members know that they are not forgotten.
Among the many notable entertainers who have performed for the USO are Robin Williams, Bob Hope, Bill Nye, Marilyn Monroe, Chris Rock, and more.
Therefore, donating to this charity helps maintain the connection between troops, military families, and their home.
In addition, the USO often gives memories of a lifetime to veterans.
Visit their website here: www.USO.org
2. The Fisher House Foundation
The Fisher House Foundation was started in 1990.
Their goal has been to support veterans who require healthcare and need to travel to receive it by eliminating housing worries.
Therefore, this charity provides access to lodging and logistics for veterans and their families near military and VA health centers across the globe.
Fisher House offers a network of comfort homes where families of military members and veterans can stay at no cost while their loved one receives treatment.
These homes are close to major military healthcare facilities and VA medical centers.
This allows for convenience and alleviates the many stressors that would otherwise befall these families.
In addition, the foundation offers Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs which provide airline miles and accommodations for traveling servicemembers and veterans.
Fisher House has served over 220,000 families since its inception and accommodates up to 832 families per day, nationwide.
Visit their website here: www.FisherHouse.org
3. Wounded Warriors Family Support
Wounded Warriors Family Support was started in 2003 by Retired Colonel John Folsom of the U.S. Marine Corps.
This philanthropic organization’s goal is to help families of men and women who have been wounded, injured, or killed during combat operations.
Wounded Warriors Family Support focuses on the military family as a whole.
Therefore, they provide free retreats in low-stress settings where wounded veterans, spouses, and children can reconnect as well as other helpful services.
Here are just some of the services offered by this organization:
- Caregiver respite: provides respite and supplemental services to caregivers and families of wounded veterans
- Veteran training: offers six-233k welding training program, in partnership with UAW-Ford, to assist veterans with meaningful careers
- Family retreats: provides memorable vacations to wounded veterans and their families to strengthen bonds
- Mobility is Freedom: offers custom vehicles and grants to enhance the lives of wounded veterans and provide freedom and independence
This charity supports families in helping them heal emotional and psychological trauma inflicted by combat and war.
Visit their website here: www.WWFS.org
4. K9s For Warriors
K9s for Warriors partners dogs with veterans who suffer from various mental health issues, like PTSD, that may be due to military service.
Several of the canines that enter this program are rescued from high-kill shelters.
Therefore, the dogs are offered a second, fulfilling life as service animals, working for people who need their comfort and support.
In turn, the dogs become part of the veterans’ lives as they gain independence and healing in the civilian world.
Visit their website here: www.K9sForWarriors.org
5. Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust
This organization supports programs that provide direct service to ill, injured, or wounded veterans through physical and/or psychological rehabilitation.
Here are just some of the programs that the Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust funds and supports:
- Treatment for post-service mental health services
- Driver’s rehabilitation services for veterans with traumatic brain injury
- Access to food, shelter, and other necessary items for homeless or at-risk veterans and their families
Donations are tax deductible and improve the quality of life for veterans and their families.
Visit their website here: www.DAV.org
6. Homes For Our Troops (HFOT)
Homes for Our Troops was started in 2004 as a charity for disabled veterans.
HFOT’s goal is to provide veterans with severe injuries from post-9/11 wars with homes that are custom built to accommodate their specific disabilities.
This organization builds mortgage-free and specially adapted houses for veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In particular, this charity focuses on amputees and those with traumatic brain injuries.
In addition, HFOT adapts existing homes to make them handicap accessible.
This charity has provided over 300 custom homes to veterans, nationwide, at no cost to them.
Donations to HFOT helps severely injured service members rebuild their lives and improve their quality of life.
Visit their website here: www.HFOTUSA.org
7. Gary Sinise Foundation
The Gary Sinise foundation is considered one of the top charities for veterans, providing help to this population in several ways.
Gary Sinise is an American actor, musician, and humanitarian.
He is perhaps best known for his role as Lieutenant Dan in the movie adaptation of the 1994 movie Forrest Gump in addition to numerous other film and television roles.
Sinise’s foundation features the R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program.
R.I.S.E. provides mortgage-free housing to veterans across the nation.
In addition, the foundation has a Relief and Resiliency program to help veterans overcome hardships that can arise due to military service.
The foundation also offers a Community Outreach and Education program designed to build relationships between military and civilian communities.
Visit their website here: www.GarySiniseFoundation.org
8. Hope For The Warriors
Hope for the Warriors was founded in 2006 by military wives to help alleviate the effects of war, combat, and deployment on military spouses and families.
The mission of the organization is to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members who have been physically and/or psychologically wounded in the line of duty.
Making the transition from a military lifestyle to that of a civilian can pose several challenges and difficulties.
Therefore, Hope for the Warriors is an organization committed to supporting this process.
Some of the services provided by Hope for the Warriors are:
- Career transition program
- Education program
- Health and wellness counseling
- Sports and recreation
- Community building initiatives
These helpful services are designed to assist military families with their transition to civilian life.
Visit their website here: www.HopeForTheWarriors.org
9. Midwest Shelter For Homeless Veterans (MSHV)
The Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a non-profit organization and considered one of the best charities in support of homeless veterans.
The MSHV’s mission is to provide tools for veterans to regain their self-sufficiency through providing employment.
Their goals are to eliminate homelessness and address issues based in poverty as well as mental health that afflict many veterans of the Armed Forces.
Visit their website here: www.HelpAVeteran.org
10. Iraq And Afghanistan Veterans Of America (IAVA)
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America organization has been active for more than 10 years.
Its mission is to serve the millions of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from their return home through the rest of their lives.
IAVA was founded by Paul Rieckoff, an American writer, activist, social entrepreneur, and Iraq War veteran.
This organization provides veterans with support in health, education, and employment.
In addition, IAVA provides encouragement and methods for veterans to connect with others in their area.
Visit their website here: www.IAVA.org
11. Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS)
This phone line is available 24/7 for veterans who have experienced loss due to death.
TAPS is available to anyone for support, and is especially helpful to veterans and others who have suffered loss related to the military.
This organization provides resources and programs, including specialized survivor support for men, women, young adults, children, and more.
Visit their website here: www.Taps.org
12. Semper Fi And America’s Fund
Many veterans face extremely difficult situations and challenges due to injury, and their families often struggle as well.
These injuries frequently take physical and emotional tolls on veterans and their loved ones who are helping them navigate recovery.
Semper Fi and America’s Fund is an organization that provides guidance and personalized support for veterans as they go through medical and emotional recovery.
Visit their website here: www.TheFund.org
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