If you’re looking for reputable, veteran-focused charities to support, a great starting place is an online watchdog organization like Charitywatch.org. This site audits charities from a wide range of interests and causes, then rates them based on criteria such as the percentage of funds raised going directly to charity, transparency of records, governance benchmarks, and more.
Among the hundreds of charities listed on the site, 10 veterans’ organizations are highlighted as receiving a B+ to A rating. As Charitywatch.org points out, its rating system should not be the sole factor for making the decision on what organizations to support; however the criteria it evaluates can help you make a more informed decision.
Among the site’s top-ranking veteran-focused charities are:
Operation Homefront: Offering “Relief, Recovery, and Recognition,” Operation Homefront seeks to support every member of the military family. Its umbrella of programs includes support programs for military families facing financial hardship, online communities and resources for wounded warriors and their caregivers, help in veterans purchasing a home, and even national recognition for outstanding military children.
Armed Services YMCA: Focusing on junior enlisted military and their families, the ASYMCA strives to make military life easier by offering programs on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. A member association of the YMCA, the organization offers childcare, hospital assistance, spouse support services, deployment support, emergency support, computer training classes, counseling, wounded family support, and more, all tailored to the specific needs of the military community on the local level.
Homes for Our Troops: This organization helps the most severely injured service members hurt in theater of combat since 9/11 by building mortgage-free homes featuring 40+ adaptions to make life easier for the injured servicemen. The charity builds four-bedroom, two-bath, modified, energy-efficient homes of approximately 2,650 square feet, and believes that by building these homes, they are helping rebuild lives.
Fisher House Foundation: With more than 65 locations, this charity provides military families with housing close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury. It also funds a scholarship program for military families, and also provides military personnel and their families with free air travel and hotel rooms. The public can donate frequent flyer miles and hotel reward points to military families through Fisher House Foundation, which has saved military families more than $282,000,000 since 1990.
Guide Dog Foundation/America’s Vet Dogs: This organization assists blind and disabled veterans as well as active military personnel by helping them utilize guide dogs to increase their independence. Programs include training the dogs (Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Standard Poodles) and also giving the blind service member a chance to practice living life with the help of a guide dog., all at no cost to the veteran.
Bob Woodruff Foundation: While reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces on Jan. 29, 2006, ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff suffered a traumatic brain injury when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq. During his miraculous 13-month recovery, Woodruff developed a vision to help injured heroes access the high level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it. The foundation today focuses on education and employment, quality of life, and rehabilitation and recovery for service members and has, to date, raised nearly $30 million and helped more than 2 million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families.
Written by: Megan Hammons