7 Ways You Can Help Veterans Right Now
Life after their military service is over can be tough for many veterans. Tasks like finding a place to live, getting a job, or connecting with a community can seem out of reach. As one veteran put it, transitioning back to civilian life was “the hardest part of my military career.”
The good news is that there are plenty of organizations stepping up to provide training, healing, and mentoring. These seven organizations are reaching out to veterans and their families, providing services from helping them train for good-paying jobs in the tech field to teaching them the skills to start their own businesses. They all need your help, whether it’s donating money or lending your skills as a mentor.
1. Veterans in Residence
After launching in Denver earlier in the year, WeWork’s Veterans in Residence program is rolling out in 10 cities this Veterans Day. A partnership with Bunker Labs, the program provides veterans with a fully sponsored work space in specially designed offices complete with dedicated lounges and meeting rooms. The program will directly serve 1,000 veterans over the next five years.
Each city’s members will meet weekly as a team, work together on planning and executing their business plans, and support each other in their day-to-day growth. They’ll also attend citywide social and networking events that will bring them together with veterans who have started their own companies and leaders in the local business community.
According to WeWork Cofounder Adam Neumann, the Veterans in Residence program aims to “support our military veterans with the space, skills, and community they need to find their tribe, and create their life’s work.”
Along with Denver, the program is open in Austin, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. Anyone can help by hosting an event, offering veterans jobs, or sharing their superpowers at a lunch-and-learn event, panel discussion, or workshop. Go to we.co/veterans to get involved.
2. Bunker Labs
A partner in WeWork’s Veterans in Residence program, Bunker Labs is one of the leading organizations empowering veterans who want to start and grow their own companies. The nonprofit provides educational programming, access to resources, and a local network to help military veterans and their spouses become entrepreneurs.
“Veterans Day is always a reminder for individuals and businesses to reach out to support the veteran community,” says Becca Keaty of Bunker Labs. “Our fall season is very busy because of that.”
After winning in the Scale category at the Detroit Creator Awards, the group ramped up its efforts to “guide the next generation” of veteran entrepreneurs. The group needs donations to expand its educational programming.
3. Victor App
Former Marine Gregory Jumes says that after leaving the military, “no one really teaches you how to be a regular person again.” His personal experiences — including battles with addiction and homelessness —were the inspiration behind the veteran-focused Victor App. The platform works to address potential issues by connecting veterans to resources before and after they leave active duty.
How to help? Jumes, another winner at the Creator Awards, says he encourages people to spread the word about the organization. His team wants to reach the 250,000 troops who enter civilian life every year, many of whom need help finding a home, a community, or a career. And those who want to contribute can do so through the organization’s ongoing Indiegogo campaign.
4. Chamberlain Advisors
Headquartered in Chicago, Chamberlain Advisors is run by several veterans, including Founder and CEO Matthew Schachman. He proudly lists of some of the staffing company’s accomplishments over their first year in operation, including being named one of LinkedIn’s Top 25 Most Socially Engaged Companies. That’s because it focuses on veteran job placement, highlighting the technical and leadership skills unique to that group. “Mission first, people always,” Schachman says.
The job board includes positions at all types of companies, from newly minted startups to Fortune 500 powerhouses. Schachman says those interested in hiring veterans should post a job listing on the website.
5. Pink Berets
At the Pink Berets, the focus is on women who have served in the military. The nonprofit group, a finalist at the Austin Creator Awards, provides free services that address service-related traumas encountered by female veterans, active-duty personnel, and first responders.
The Texas-based organization’s flagship program brings together female veterans and horses. “We employ our horses to provide clients with experiential opportunities for healing,” says Chief Strategy Officer Alex Cisneros. “These animals are honest and able to mirror what human body language is telling them. One of the most significant lessons learned in our equine-facilitated learning program is if clients change themselves, the horses respond differently.”
To keep programming like this free, the Pink Berets depends on donations. It’s also looking for volunteers to work on everything from fundraising to office work. You can check out the group’s website for more information.
6. Patriot Boot Camp
Joshua Anderson, chief operating officer of Patriot Boot Camp, noticed there were already many nonprofit groups aimed at veterans. “I was convinced that the last thing the world needed was another veterans program,” he says. “Most of them are cripplingly under resourced and they’re all competing for the same scarce funding.”
But when he joined Patriot Boot Camp, he saw that the was working with a new kind of organization. Its three-day entrepreneur bootcamps have brought together hundreds of people wanting to start their own tech companies. Since 2012, the group has helped 550 veterans and their spouses.
To keep its overhead low, the group is looking for financial contributions. The money will go to fund all of its educational services.
7. Vets Advocacy
Based in WeWork Constellation, Vets Advocacy was born out of a legal case calling for more support for Los Angeles’ homeless veterans, who number more than 5,000. Armed with this mandate, the privately funded nonprofit pursues projects such as securing funding for rental subsidies for veterans.
This Veteran’s Day, the organization is asking everyone to “take the pledge” to help end veteran homelessness.