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10 Military-Focused Nonprofits Making a Difference

The month of November is typically thought of as a month of gratitude and giving back. Maybe you’ve already maxed out your 2020 charitable giving, but if you happen to be looking for a place to give, consider one of these top ten military-focused nonprofit organizations making a difference. 

According to Charity Navigator, annually, over 40,000 charities give upwards of $2.5 billion to organizations with military-related missions. While their curated lists of trustworthy charities runs the gamut of groups who “lift troops’ morale, to offering financial assistance for food, rent, utilities, and medical expenses,” each of these organizations “demonstrate financial responsibility and a commitment to accountability, transparency, and best practices.” 

This list (and Charity Navigator), organizes these top charities within three main categories: wounded troops services, military social services, and military family support. The following groups garner the highest, four-star rating within the ranking system as well as each site’s own stated mission.

Wounded Troops Services: 

These organizations address the unique difficulties of those who are injured in combat.

  1. Adaptive Sports Center: “The Adaptive Sports Center (ASC) was founded in 1987 when President and Mrs. Carter joined a group of local residents to form the Physically Challenged Ski Program of Crested Butte. Since then, the program has evolved into the year-round, nationally recognized Adaptive Sports Center.”
  2. DAV: Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust: “The DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Charitable Service Trust supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs that provide direct service to ill, injured, or wounded veterans. Programs supported by the Trust target several groups of physically and psychologically injured veterans.”
  3. Spirit of America: “Spirit of America’s mission is to support the safety and success of Americans serving abroad and the local people and partners they seek to help. Spirit of America is the only nonprofit organization that directly supports the safety and success of deployed US personnel.”

Military Social Services:   

These charities provide programs that address the needs of both active service members and veterans. 

  1. Hire Heroes USA: “Hire Heroes USA empowers U.S. military members, veterans, and spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce. Our team of former military and business professionals effectively trains veterans in the skills of self-marketing, then supports their career search until they find good jobs with great companies.”
  2. Operation Gratitude: “Founded in 2003, Operation Gratitude seeks to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide.”
  3. The Mission Continues: “The Mission Continues is a national veterans organization dedicated to the empowerment of veterans as community-based leaders. We invest in veterans and under-resourced communities, developing new skill sets and equipping a growing veteran volunteer movement with the tools to drive positive change.”

Military Family Support: 

These charities assist military personnel and their families through financial support, scholarships, housing, and more.

  1. Army Emergency Relief: “Army Emergency Relief (AER) is the Army’s own nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating financial distress on the force. Since 1942, AER has provided nearly $2 billion in assistance to over 3.7 million Soldiers, Retired Soldiers, and their Families.” 
  2. Fisher House Foundation: “Fisher House Foundation is best known for its network of 87 comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital it serves.”
  3. H.E.R.O.E.S. Care: “H.E.R.O.E.S. Care is a collaborative effort among well established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) designed to provide complete and proactive support for members of all branches of the military and their families through pre-deployment, deployment, family reintegration, and post-deployment.”
  4. Project Sanctuary: “Believing that when one person serves the whole family serves, Project Sanctuary takes a human-centered, solution-based approach to helping military families heal and move forward in life. Through innovative long-term programming focused on connectedness, we restore hope and empower families to recover and thrive.”