Philanthropic Leaders Converge on Capitol Hill to Shine Spotlight on Veterans Health Issues
The Council on Foundations’ Veterans Philanthropy Exchange hosted a congressional briefing to highlight work underway in veterans’ healthcare and mental health services for transitioning veterans. The briefing, which included leaders from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundationand The New York State Health Foundation, was the latest outreach from foundations and corporate funders who have invested millions to address veterans’ issues over the last four years.
“The immediate and long-term nature of the challenges facing veterans requires critical partnerships among funders–particularly between the public and private sectors,” said Council on Foundations President and CEO Vikki Spruill. “In-person engagements like this briefing are important as funders’ ability to effect long-term change is directly linked to staying engaged and active with policymakers.”
The briefing comes as federal leaders are considering a number of proposals to improve the government’s health care system for veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs operates more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics around the country, treating about nine million veterans.
The three participating funders are leaders in the area of veterans’ health funding, developing innovative programming that has helped inform research and efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Some of the programming successes highlighted for Congress included:
Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Veterans' Mental Health & Well-Being initiative focuses on community-based solutions to aid in the much-needed response to the mental health and community reintegration needs of veterans, military service members, their families, and the families of the fallen. The Foundation also partners with employees in Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Veterans Community Network (VCN) to facilitate employee engagement with the veteran community.
The New York State Health Foundation’s work around veterans’ health seeks to underscore that the health and mental health issues returning veterans and their families face are not solely military issues, but public and community health issues that should be addressed by local and national government agencies, community-based organizations, and health funders.
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation recognizes that, as a country, we need to respond and provide support to veterans and their families. The foundation’s investments focus both on organizations that are providing direct services to our veterans and families, as well as organizations that are innovatively building systems and strengthening networks to help veterans succeed. The true sign of success for all veterans is their ability to contribute to and be viewed as assets in our communities.
Over the last four years, funders throughout the country have invested nearly $282 million towards veterans’ issues. The Council serves as the convener of the Veterans Philanthropy Exchange, a community of funders focused on veterans’ issues.
About the Council on Foundations
An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.