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Bob Woodruff Foundation Announces Fall Grants

NEW YORK, N.Y., Oct. 27, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Bob Woodruff Foundation today announced grants of nearly $1.1 million to nonprofits running innovative programs that meet the needs of post-9/11 injured veterans and their families. With these funds, more than $4.2 million has been awarded by the foundation in 2015.



"Our nation's injured and transitioning service members, veterans and their families each have unique needs, making the resources and services dedicated to supporting those challenges all the more necessary," said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. "We carefully analyze the gaps, trends and unmet needs to proactively find innovative solutions we can shape and fund through our charitable investments program."

Fourteen programs were awarded grants. They are projected to impact the lives of approximately 133,000 injured service members, veterans and their families in all 50 states.

The grants address a myriad of critical issues—entrepreneurship and employment at various points of recovery; legal assistance; reintegration and transition services; a national website dedicated to helping those living with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress; doctoral scholarships for nurses focused on serving post-9/11 veterans; veteran-led leadership courses for at-risk youth; and workshops to help families reconnect.

In addition to funding, grantees also enjoy access to the Bob Woodruff Foundation grantee network, which encourages collaboration and sharing of best practices.

"Much of our work is to connect the resources with those in need and ensure that programs are high impact, effective and have the support to sustainably meet those needs," said Dougherty. "We're building a collaborative network, of hundreds of organizations, to holistically meet the needs of today's veterans."
Since 2006, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has invested nearly $30 million in programs reaching more than 2 million injured service members, veterans and their families in three key areas: Education and Employment, Rehabilitation and Recovery, and Quality of Life.

Proposals to the Bob Woodruff Foundation are by invitation only, with grants awarded biannually.
Learn more about the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) at www.BobWoodruffFoundation.org.

The list of BWF grantees and programs follows:
100 Entrepreneurs Project
Operation Sustainability for Veteran Entrepreneurs
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment
100 Entrepreneurs Foundation expands the employment horizons of wounded and transitioning service members and their families. 100 Entrepreneurs holds classes in the hospital, followed by mentorship, focused on entrepreneurship, industry, and business functions. This helps participants build their own businesses or find a meaningful career in the industry of their choice. Research shows that veterans are likely to open their own businesses but for many, they do not know how. Through the Bob Woodruff Foundation grant, veterans will be exposed to over 90 different industries, giving them a glimpse of what could be possible. Over the past seven years, 1,200 veterans have completed classes and 97 have opened businesses of their own.

Augusta Warrior Project
Reintegration & Transition Advocacy Program
Location: Regional
Issue Area: Education and Employment
The Augusta Warrior Project connects service members and their families who live on or near Fort Gordon, Georgia, with resources that improve their lives. AWP develops relationships, identifies shared goals with partner organizations, and works with stakeholders within the community to develop a holistic and comprehensive approach to warrior care. The Bob Woodruff Foundation grant helps fund a Transition Success Center where advocates engage service members in the early stages of transition and help alleviate the fear and stress often associated with transitioning out of the military. The program is the first of its kind to be implemented on a military installation. Last year, more than 1,600 service members, veterans and their families received assistance, including nearly 100 unemployed veterans who gained employment.

FOCUS Marines Foundation
FOCUS Class November 2015
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life
Focus Marines Foundation (FMF) equips wounded, ill and injured post-9/11 veterans with the skills needed to successfully transition from military to civilian life. FOCUS Courses are weeklong programs designed to help at-risk veterans with their transition to civilian life. Through its grant from Bob Woodruff Foundation, expenses for 36 veterans, including lodging and transportation, will be covered for a one week course. Over 70 percent of each FOCUS session is spent addressing the issues associated with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress and other injuries. This safe, supportive environment empowers veterans to bring fellow veterans out of isolation and provides them with the motivation and tools they need to re-engage in their communities, build relationships and seek employment/educational opportunities. FMF will continue to mentor and provide support to graduates after completion of the program through contact by team leaders and staff.

Four Block
Four Block Veteran Career Development Program
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employment
The Four Block Veteran Career Development Program provides transitioning post-9/11 veterans with the essential tools needed to jumpstart civilian careers. The goal of the program is to empower veterans to obtain competitive internships and full-time positions at companies or organizations that match their interests, attributes and strengths. The Bob Woodruff Foundation grant will provide career development assistance to 250 veterans in the NYC and Seattle markets. Specifically, it will fund the salaries of their full-time NYC and Seattle program directors. Program participants meet once a week over the course of a semester and receive over thirty hours of classroom instruction, practical application and one-on-one mentorship. All classroom instruction is taught at a corporation, providing a workday type experience for the participants. All veterans are offered follow-on support and mentorship after completing the course and many veterans return to the program to mentor and support the next cohort of transitioning veterans.

Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association
Brainline Military: Building A New Life After TBI or PTS
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life
BrainLine Military is an ambitious national website serving active duty military, veterans, and family members who are living with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress. Through the Bob Woodruff Foundation grant, the site will be updated with new content that offers practical, concrete information and support for veterans dealing with the social and emotional impact of traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress. This includes articles, expert advice, and the personal stories of veterans living with TBI, and their caregivers — their struggles, successes, and the lessons they've learned. People with TBI and their families consistently say that they feel alone and isolated and that nobody around them really understands what they're going through. BrainLine Military seeks to address that isolation, to promote community and to enable users to support and encourage each other—and in the process reached more than 1.8 million visitors last year.

Jonas Center for Nursing
Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program (JVHP)
Location: National
Issue Area: Rehabilitation and Recovery
Founded in 2006, the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare improves healthcare through nursing. It provides scholarship and advances leadership and innovation; collaborates on initiatives with other leaders in the healthcare and veterans fields; and addresses the dire healthcare needs of veterans. Through this grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, scholarships will be provided to 20 Jonas Nursing Scholars whose research will focus on the "hidden injuries of war," including traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, military sexual trauma and intimacy after injury. As the largest segment of the healthcare workforce, nurses are at the center of delivering care to all Americans. This program's approach, when possible, is for veterans to help veterans—multiplying the impact of its work through direct patient care, research, policy and education. The result is a better-prepared and more sensitive healthcare workforce that truly understands the unique healthcare needs of the diverse veteran population.

Regents of The University of Michigan, M-Span Programs
National Summit on Best Practice Military and Veteran Peer Programs
Location: University of Michigan with a National reach
Issue Area: Education and Employment
M-SPAN at the University of Michigan is one of the inaugural academic medical center sites in the Welcome Back Veterans initiative. M-SPAN programs are dedicated to military and veteran mental health, and include innovative approaches to outreach, overcoming stigma, and the design and delivery of peer programs for service members and veterans, and resiliency interventions for military spouses and families. Through this grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a National Summit will provide a two-day interdisciplinary forum to stimulate discussion of the latest research on military and veteran peer programs, identify best practices for evaluation, and foster collaboration among attendees. Over 200 attendees are expected, with participation from military leadership, university and VA researchers, military and veteran-focused non-profits, veteran peers, and funders. The Summit will create a network for sharing knowledge, opportunities for ongoing dialog, and establishing evaulation standards for peer-based programs—all of which are critical to improving services for military and veteran populations and advancing the field.

Returning Heroes Home/Warrior and Family Support Fund
Wounded, Ill and Injured Warrior Rehab and Recovery Programs
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life
Returning Heroes Home, Inc. provides service and support to wounded, ill and injured service members and their families at the Warrior and Family Support Center. Through this grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation the Wounded, Ill and Injured Warrior Rehab and Recovery Program will provide weekly massage therapy. The Rehab and Recovery program services impact the lives of more than 300 service members. The program enhances rest and relaxation, stress reduction, anxiety reduction, physical therapy, and eases the effects of post-traumatic stress. The program is complementary to the multimodal, interdisciplinary pain management and rehabilitative treatments these service members receive at the San Antonio Military Medical Center and is intended to help reduce chronic pain and to potentially reduce or eliminate the reliance on conventional pain medications.

ServiceSource
Warrior Bridge Veterans Employment and Training Track
Location: Virginia State
Issue Area: Education and Employment
The mission of ServiceSource is to deliver exceptional services to individuals with disabilities through innovative and valued employment, training, habilitation, housing and support services. Through this grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Warrior Bridge-VETT will provide employment and training services, including entrepreneurship training to 50 eligible veterans with disabilities, resulting in industry-recognized credentials and jobs in high demand industries within Northern Virginia. Transition can be difficult for any veteran, and can be compounded by disability. Additional barriers to self-sufficiency and quality of life include substance abuse, legal, financial and marital problems; untreated post-traumatic stress; and homelessness. Warrior Bridge provides linkages to resources and support for these issues. The program was launched in Northern Virginia with seed funding from BWF in 2012, which was leveraged to expand the program's capacity, awareness, and recognition to grow it into an initiative serving more than 670 veterans with disabilities annually.

Shepherd Center
SHARE Military Initiative
Location: National
Issue Area: Rehabilitation and Recovery
Shepherd Center's mission is to help people with a temporary or permanent disability caused by injury or disease, rebuild their lives with hope, independence and dignity, advocating for their full inclusion in all aspects of community life while promoting safety and injury prevention. The SHARE Military Initiative provides a comprehensive continuum of rehabilitative care for service members who have sustained traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress. Through its grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the SHARE Military Initiative will add a life coach to its program, helping clients to maintain and build upon the progress that they have made while at Shepherd Center as they transition to their home communities. SHARE's life coach helps to hardwire the strategies and goals learned in treatment and implement them into daily living for 40-50 clients per year. Shepherd Center is one of only a few civilian rehabilitation facilities in the nation to develop a dedicated and separate military patient program. The SHARE Military Initiative provides a comprehensive continuum of care, specifically tailored to meet the needs of each client, including complimentary housing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vocational therapy, speech therapy, therapeutic recreation and legal, financial and psychological counseling, among many other programs.

The COMMIT Foundation
Supporting Post 9-11 Veterans Through Transition Services and Corporate Education
Location: National
Issue Area: Education and Employmen
The COMMIT Foundation creates personally tailored transition solutions for top veteran talent and is reaching veterans across the nation through workshops, transition assistance, and corporate education. As a result of the Bob Woodruff Foundation grant, 30 post-911 veterans will receive one-on-one transition assistance, including individualized attention through skills identification, executive coaching, mentoring, professional development, and networking opportunities that often result in job placement. Additionally, a BWF grant will support a Corporate Education Initiative to be piloted with two partners. COMMIT will create a toolkit and suite of services for corporations to attract, retain, and support veteran talent. COMMIT focuses on one veteran at a time. Solutions are built around individuals, and therefore veterans are able to fill the gaps they face and ultimately transition to successful and rewarding roles in their companies and communities.

The Station Foundation
The Homecoming Project
Location: National
Issue Area: Quality of Life
The Station Foundation addresses the impacts of combat through complementary transitional and restorative services for the warriors and families of special operations forces (SOF). Support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation will sponsor workshops that provide wilderness survival training for service members and their children that restore critical bonds impacted over 13 years of sustained combat, and bonding experiences for entire SOF families. As conventional forces return home from war, the pace and risk of SOF missions are increasing, and their families continue to suffer as they place their relationships, personal goals and hopes for balance to the side. The Homecoming Project stands as a dedicated solution to alleviate these burdens and empower participants to live with meaning and purpose beyond combat.

Travis Manion Foundation
Character Does Matter Program
Location: New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington, D.C.
Issue Area: Quality of Life
The Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) assists our nation's veterans and families of the fallen, and looks to help create the next generation of leaders. Character Does Matter is TMF's premier youth character development program. With support from Bob Woodruff Foundation, TMF will deliver: one veteran-facilitated 10 week leadership course for high school students in Philadelphia; and 10 veteran-youth mentorship events in Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. The program addresses needs both in the civilian youth population, where high school age students are given insufficient opportunities for meaningful character and leadership development; as well as in the veteran population, where former service members are searching for impactful ways to reconnect with their communities and one another, during their transition to civilian life—bringing meaning and impact to a veteran's transition process.

Urban Justice Center
Veteran Advocacy Project
Location: New York, NY
Issue Area: Quality of Life

Veteran Advocacy Project provides free legal services to low-income veterans, with a focus on those living with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse issues. Members of the military leave service with one of six discharge statuses that will determine access to benefits and possibly brand them for life. With support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, VAP trains attorneys to provide the best representation possible before Department of Defense review boards. Looking at the total number of veterans represented in review boards last year, and assuming similar numbers this year, the BWF grant will support 12.4 percent of all veterans with representation. the same time, its team fights for veterans' positive Veterans Affairs Character of Discharge determinations and works to remove barriers to recovery. VAP is the only comprehensive legal services program for veterans in New York, providing representation for veterans in civil matters, VA claims, and before the Department of Defense review boards.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation:

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) is the nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring injured service members and their families are thriving long after they return home. A national organization with grassroots reach, the Bob Woodruff Foundation complements the work of the federal government —diligently navigating the maze of more than 46,000 nonprofits providing services to veterans—finds, funds and shapes innovative programs, and holds them accountable for results. To date, BWF has invested nearly $30 million in public education and solutions, reaching more than 2 million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by award-winning anchor Bob Woodruff and his family, whose own experiences inspired them to help make sure the nation's heroes have access to the high level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it. For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on social media @Stand4Heroes.

A photo accompanying this release is available at:
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=37162

CONTACT: Sam Kille (646) 257-5490, office (646) 678-1615, cell sam.kille@bobwoodrufffoundation.org

Source:Bob Woodruff Foundation