Editor's Note: This article by MOAA's staff is part of the MOAA Charities 2020 Impact Report, a version of which first appeared in the November 2020 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.
As the first grant program funded by The MOAA Foundation, the Community Outreach Grant program continues to offer funds to qualifying MOAA councils or chapters that provide assistance to military members and their families within their local communities.
This outreach is possible by way of partnerships with local organizations and aims at assisting in one or more areas of critical military and veteran family need: housing, food assistance, employment, health (including behavioral health), family support, community reintegration, financial assistance, legal assistance, and transportation.
[RELATED: MOAA Community Outreach Grant Application]
MOAA councils and chapters are solely responsible for ensuring all foundation grant funds are disbursed in support of programs and services within one or more of the nine critical areas of need listed above.
- Since its launch in 2017, the program has awarded 70 grants worth a total of $264,232.
- In 2018, the Community Outreach Grant program saw a 222% jump in applications from the year before.
- As of 2020, almost 50% of the chapters and councils that applied received a grant.
- 2019 saw the largest increase in number of grants awarded, up 13 from the prior year.
What a Difference Four Years Make
Much has changed for the Community Outreach Grant program since its inception in 2017. Although still in its infancy, every passing year has brought in a higher number of applications, grant recipients, and total money disbursed. Due to finite resources, the selection process has become more competitive, with chapters justifying how they plan to use resources in their communities.
Our chapters are putting their funds to good use in their communities. In April 2020, the Arizona Chapter received a $3,750 Community Outreach Grant. Due to the pandemic, the project that originally involved four nonprofit organizations was split into three smaller projects. The first took place between Youth for Troops, Veterans First Ltd., and the Arizona Chapter.
With the assistance of students from Youth for Troops, five members from the Arizona Chapter filled 40 backpacks, which were then delivered to the Veterans First Ltd. office, where they will be given to children of single parents.
U.S. Vets Phoenix provides for a successful transition of military veterans and their families through the provision of housing, counseling, career development, and comprehensive support. The Arizona Chapter delivered eight baskets and eight laundry bags full of cleaning supplies, condiments, personal hygiene items, and towels to their offices.
The James Walton Home is part of Project Veterans Pride that provides transitional housing and resources to homeless veterans so that they can get back their honor, dignity, and pride. Chapter members delivered a significant amount of much-needed kitchen/bathroom products, cleaning supplies, and bathroom cloth towels directly to the home. Their support provides immediate impact to help the 20 homeless and disabled veterans at the home get back on their feet.
And Then Came COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MOAA chapters saw an increased financial need for those struggling in the military and veteran community, inspiring the COVID-19 Chapter Grants.
[RELATED: How MOAA Helps in a Time of Need]
The Relief Fund assisted 11 of the 2020 MOAA Community Outreach Grant recipients with additional $5,000 grants. These COVID-19 Chapter Grant recipients are located in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
As chapter grant recipients conduct their outreach programs, they send the foundation updates on how they’re helping veterans in their local communities.
The Falcons Landing (Va.) Chapter. When a 75-year-old Vietnam-era Navy veteran needed help paying his bills but was reluctant to ask for help, The Falcons Landing Chapter stepped in and worked with Loudoun Veterans and Family Support to pay his outstanding bills.
The Luke (Ariz.) Chapter. Helping a local veteran by covering his rent, car payment, and a mechanic’s fee to diagnose a problem with his car was one of the ways the Luke Chapter helped the community with grant money from The MOAA Foundation.
COVID-19 Chapter Grant Recipients
- Greater Dallas & North Texas Chapter
- South Central Florida Chapter
- Grand Strand Chapter
- Indian River Chapter
- Luke Chapter
- Grand Canyon Chapter
- Historic Mayport Chapter
- Keystone Capital Chapter
- Falcons Landing Chapter
- New River Chapter
- Sandhills Chapter