Philanthropic Leaders Pledge $170 Million to Support Veterans and Military Families

Philanthropic and Nonprofit Leaders Come Together with the White House's Joining Forces Initiative to launch the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge

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| Source: Council on Foundations

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, over 30 philanthropic organizations and corporations announced pledges totaling more than $170 million over the next five years to support veterans and military families. The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge was announced today by Joining Forces and a coalition of leading foundations at an event hosted by the American Red Cross, Council on Foundations, and the White Oak Summit Steering Committee. The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge - initiated by Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the Lincoln Community Foundation, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation - creates a community of funders and builds momentum for programs that will support service members, veterans and their families, in local communities as the country draws down from twelve years of war.

"Today, 30 foundations and institutions, along with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, pledged their support for our service members, veterans, and their families. As our men and women in uniform come home, philanthropy stands beside them to help them carry their mission forward into their hometowns," said Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations. "The foundations who made pledges today have funded programs that create affordable housing, provide new health interventions, address domestic violence, and expand economic opportunities for veterans and military families. With the proper support and a united community behind them, our veterans will continue to strengthen and advance our nation."

The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge commitments come at a vital time as the country adjusts to a post-war period. Our service members, veterans, and their families are true assets to our country, communities, and economy. Our country benefits from their dedication, skills, and experience. The philanthropic and nonprofit communities believe that supporting service members' successful transition back to civilian life sustains their good work and shows our appreciation for their sacrifices.

Each organization's commitment will be designated over five years to their selected causes. Pledges announced at today's event include commitments from: JPMorgan Chase & Co., Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust, The Patterson Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, American Bar Association, Got Your 6, Call of Duty Endowment, First Command Financial Services, Inc., Capital One Corporation, The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, The Heinz Endowments, CJM Foundation/Foundation Sweet Success, Agility DGS, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Justin Verlander's Wins for Warriors, San Antonio Area Foundation, Lincoln Community Foundation, The Tecovas Foundation, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, VNA Foundation, and Community Foundation for Northern Virginia. Organizations committing to the pledge, but pending approval on specific amounts include: Alcoa Foundation, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, The Community Foundation of South Alabama, The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, McClure Foundation, San Diego Grantmakers, and Target Corporation.

Today's event featured remarks from First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, General George Casey (ret.), former Chief of Staff of the Army, US Teen Poet Laureate and military child Michaela Coplen, and representatives from the American Red Cross, Council on Foundations, Blue Shield of California Foundation, San Diego Grantmakers, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Points of Light, Bank of America, and Blue Star Families.

The Council on Foundations also announced its commitment to veterans and their families through its new digital platform, the Veterans Philanthropy Exchange. This is a clearinghouse for philanthropic funders to share best practices, resources and potentially provide a collaborative investing platform for foundations to align investments with other public and private partners for greater collective impact on services for veterans and their families.

The pledges are the result of the leadership of the pledge initiators (Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Lincoln Community Foundation, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation) the Council on Foundations Veteran's Advisory Group members, and participants from the annual White Oak Conference hosted by Blue Star Families, which brings together the public and private sector to foster and create partnerships to address the ever-changing challenges of military family life.

Nonprofits participating in today's event were members of the White Oak Steering Committee, including leaders from American Red Cross, Armed Forces Services Corporation, Blue Star Families, Hiring Our Heroes of the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Military Child Education Coalition, Military Officers Association of America, Points of Light Institute, and the USO.

About the Council on Foundations

The Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include nearly 1,600 independent, operating, community, public and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council's mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Calvin Harris
Council on Foundations
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