Since its inception in 2006, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has called for people to support the emerging and long-term needs of Veterans, including mental health, caregiver support, food insecurity and service-connected fertility issues. The initiative, founded after reporter Bob Woodruff was wounded in a roadside bombing in Iraq, has invested more than $85 million in programs that have empowered Veterans, active-duty military and their family members. This has reinforced the message that the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) has “Got Your Six.”
Today, BWF’s “Got Your 6 Network” of grant recipients and local community partners—totaling more than 3,000 organizations in 50 states—addresses the needs of Veterans who require additional support. The network includes community-based partnerships made up of businesses, community Veteran engagement boards (CVEBs), government agencies, service providers, donors and others committed to helping Veterans.
During its spring funding cycle, BWF provided $600,000 to its community partners supporting Veterans and their families at the local level. This funding helped 74 communities combat food insecurity, meet essential needs and promote upstream solutions. Thank you to Craig Newmark Philanthropies for making this possible!
The East Texas Veterans Community Council used Bob Woodruff Foundation funding to provide broad emergency financial aid to Veterans and military families in East Texas.
Here are three examples of how community Veteran engagement boards have used the foundation’s funding.
East Carolina Veterans Coalition
When the East Carolina Veterans Coalition (ECVC) received a grant from BWF, no time was wasted in putting it to use. The money was distributed to Veterans across four different metro areas in North Carolina.
A major portion of the funding was used to tackle one of the most difficult and prevailing issues facing Veterans and military families: food insecurity. To help ease the impact on local Veterans, ECVC partnered with a local supermarket chain to provide grocery gift cards for Veterans and their families in Greenville, New Bern, Wilson and Goldsboro. These four North Carolina communities have large Veteran, active-duty and military family populations.
The funding was also used to bolster local programs offering specialized assistance to Veterans. The Veterans Employment Base Camp and Organic Garden in New Bern received a portion of the grant money. This non-profit uses a special method of rehabilitation for transitioning, homeless, unemployed and underemployed Veterans: horticulture training. Providing Veterans with the chance to learn how to grow organic produce serves as a peaceful and productive outlet. Gardening also helps Veterans gain life skills, improve mental health and reenter a work setting. This can be impactful for those who experienced violent or stressful situations during their service.
East Texas Veterans Community Council
Food insecurity is a complex nationwide issue that requires a combination of funding and plans of action to address. In the Lone Star State, the East Texas Veterans Community Council invested BWF funding to create strong solutions to address food insecurity. The organization used a large percentage of the funding to help Veterans cover living expenses and food mainly in the form of emergency food cards.
Just as food prices have risen, so, too, has the price of fuel. Some areas have seen a rise in fuel costs of up to 50% compared to last year. To ease this burden, the community council bought gas voucher cards for Veterans and military families and provided city bus passes to others who rely on public transportation.
To address the overall rising cost of living, the council used BWF funding to provide broad emergency financial aid to Veterans and military families in East Texas. Families could cover emergency bills, including overdue rent and utility bills; mortgage payments; vehicle repairs; and general living expenses.
Bay Pines/Pinellas County
Food insecurity and financial uncertainty are difficult situations to experience and can lead to unhealthy lifestyles. When people have limited financial resources, they may opt to spend on less-nutritious, cheaper options due to the higher cost of healthier fresh food. Financial uncertainty can lead to unhealthy eating habits over time, which, in turn, can cause serious health problems.
In Florida, the Bay Pines/Pinellas County engagement board stepped in to address this issue by applying BWF grant money to help the non-profit food bank Feeding Tampa Bay, and to continue its partnership with the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. The funding was applied toward serving Veterans and active-duty personnel through Feeding Tampa Bay’s FoodRx program. A collaborative program that operates with local hospitals and clinics, FoodRx provides clients nutritious foods and healthy lifestyle training, all free of charge.
Veteran patients are also given access to Feeding Tampa Bay’s Groceries on the Go mobile grocery store. Groceries on the Go sells discounted groceries from its delivery trucks to underprivileged neighborhoods in the Tampa area. Hundreds of Veterans have benefitted from the combination of the FoodRx 12-week program and Groceries on the Go’s free, healthy food choices.
Click on the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s website to become a BWF local partner.
The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on the part of VA. Veterans should verify the information with the organization offering.