Veterans Day is Sunday, November 11, and for some of us, Monday, November 12, is a public holiday. In observation of this day honoring the many veterans in the United States—who have served in the military here in the United States and/or in another country and have protected the United States from harm—I thought I would mention some of the funders that are assisting these courageous folks. Their needs are so great from what I have read and heard.
Please note that this is not a comprehensive listing—just some examples! .
“Green House Homes” Open for Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Defense are moving toward revolutionizing delivery of skilled-nursing care for aging veterans in three locations this autumn. How? The VA is offering vets the opportunity to live in a Green House home.
So, what is a Green House home, anyway? It houses a small number of people—up to ten—and is designed “to look and feel like a real home,” according to an October press release. Each resident in a Green House home has a private bedroom and bath in this setting, which is less institutional than a typical nursing home is. Residents dine on home-cooked meals and socialize in a common area.
Another good thing is that the Green House model meets “all state and federal regulatory and reimbursement criteria for skilled-nursing facilities,” according to the release.
A small group of trained caregivers who have been cross-trained in various roles can meet most of the needs of the veterans living in a Green House home. This care model has the potential to help not only elderly veterans (and there are many) but also younger veterans with severe disabilities who qualify for skilled-nursing care.
“By radically departing from the traditional long-term care model, Green House homes will help support the Veterans Administration’s goal to provide veterans with the greatest needs [some] new choices in their desire to lead more independent, healthier lives,” Robert Jenkens, who directs the Green House Project, commented in the press release.
The Green House Project receives major funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and is overseen by NCB Capital Impact.
Two certified Green House homes for veterans opened in North Chicago, Illinois, in October, and one opened in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on November 1. The first Green House home for this population opened in Danville, Illinois, in 2010.
Of course, Green House homes serving seniors of all abilities and income levels have been around a number of years—at this point, 135 of them exist, in twenty-one states around the country, and another 100 homes are in development.
Read more about Green House homes in my GrantWatch column in the June 2012 issue of Health Affairs journal.
Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program Focuses on Nurses
The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence, which was established with funding from the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund in 2006, formally launched this new program for veterans in September (2012). The program aims to improve veterans’ health by supporting doctoral-level nursing candidates who are committed to improving care for vets. This academic training program awarded scholarships to fifty-four candidates in twenty-one states this year.
According to a press release, the scholars “will pursue research focused on veterans’ health needs identified by the White House and the Veterans Administration including mental health, multiple trauma, traumatic brain injury, aging, and women’s health.”
William T. Bester, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general and former chief of the Army Nurse Corps, is adviser to the program. (As an aside, I see that in 2005, he was asked to be director of nursing for a health care team organized by Project HOPE— publisher of Health Affairs and my employer—who was assisting victims of the tsunami in Indonesia. But I digress!)
Bester explained in the release, “There is a critical shortage of medical professionals, especially nurses, trained in the specialized field of veterans’ healthcare.” The VA has committed itself to filling the gap, but federal budget problems make “meeting this need an enormous challenge.” He adds, “Philanthropy must play a crucial role.”
Donald B. Jonas, co-founder of the Jonas Center, noted in the release that millions of dollars in funding are being raised to provide jobs for veterans, but when a veteran is “sick, wounded, and discouraged,” he or she first “needs the best healthcare possible to get back on [his or her] feet” before going back to work. He added that money is being raised for clinics, but trained staff are needed, now, to provide services.
The Jonas Family Fund, along with support from private donors and other foundations, are supporting the programs of the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence. (To donate, go to www.jonascenter.org/donate.)
Foundation-Supported Report on Uninsured Veterans and Their Families
The RWJF funded a May 2012 report titled “Uninsured Veterans and Family Members: Who Are They and Where Do They Live? Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues” by Jennifer Haley and Genevieve M. Kenney of the Urban Institute. The report is the first ever to provide estimates of uninsurance among veterans and their families—both at national and state levels, and to assess the potential of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to reduce rates of uninsurance in these populations, says the foundation’s June 2012 Advances newsletter.
One in ten nonelderly veterans in the United States reported neither having health insurance nor using VA care, according to the 2010 American Community Survey. (“Some veterans do not use VA health care services,” the authors note in the report’s executive summary.) Read the report to find out how uninsurance among veterans varies across states and how the federal health reform law could help veterans. The authors point out that the Affordable Care Act “does not change the VA or other military health care systems” and is not specifically focused on veterans.
The New York City Veterans Fund
The New York Community Trust, a large community foundation, and the New York State Health Foundation, co-chair this fund. The fund was established by the New York Community Trust, which awarded a grant of $150,000 to it, to “increase private funding for the needs of veterans (and their families) returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” according to a description on its website. Support for the many returning veterans “cuts across traditional philanthropic funding silos,” the article notes. With veterans’ broad range of needs, “every philanthropic organization can find a place to help,” the article maintains.
To date, the United Hospital Fund is the only other grantmaker that has financially contributed to the veterans fund.
Out of the New York City Veterans Fund’s six focus areas, GrantWatch readers perhaps would be most interested in the third: “strengthening the capacity of mainstream agencies to provide health, mental health, and social services to veterans.”
In September 2012, for example, the veterans fund awarded $75,000 to the Greater New York Hospital Foundation to help non-military hospitals in New York City improve services for veterans and their families.
The website notes that proposals to the veterans fund are by invitation only.
Read this June 2012 New York Community Trust report on the veterans fund. Titled A Call to Action: How Philanthropy Can Support Veterans Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the report suggests that the New York City Veterans Fund could be a model for other community foundations across the United States to use in spearheading efforts to help veterans in their local areas.
Questions? Contact Irfan Hasan at the trust by e-mail: email@example.com.
Foundation Staffer Is Guest Blogger on a NYT Blog; Recent Foundation Grant Awarded
Veterans’ Health is one of the New York State Health Foundation’s focus areas. The foundation’s senior fellow for veterans affairs, James McDonough Jr., wrote a post titled “When the Transition Out of the Service is Less than Smooth” for the New York Times’ At War: Notes from the Front Lines blog. McDonough is a retired U.S. Army colonel. In his post published on October 31, he comments that men and women in the miliary need help preparing for life after serving in the armed forces; he adds, “Contrary to popular perception, the two terms—solider and veteran—are not synonymous.”
Also, read about the New York State Health Foundation’s recent grant to Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The Veterans’ Outreach Center also is working on this effort. Syracuse founded this institute in 2011 “as the result of a historic partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co.,” said a press release. The New York City Veterans Fund (described earlier in this blog post) helped shape this project, a foundation spokesperson told me.
“In Veterans’ Aid, Growth Pains,” James Dao, New York Times, November 8. This excellent article in the newspaper’s Giving section notes the plethora of nonprofits trying to help veterans, their families, and current military troops. Nancy Berglass, director of the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund, commented in the article, “More cooperation and better research to identify effective programs would make limited resources go much further.” The article mentions the Foundation Center, New York Community Trust, Lincoln Community Foundation (in Nebraska), Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and the New York State Health Foundation, among other organizations.