Here at Veteran Energy, we work with some of the best charitable veteran and military member groups around. And we love to hear about the great things they’re able to do to Support Our Heroes.
This week, we caught up with Beth C., of Texas VFW Foundation, one of our five major Affinity Partners. She told us a little about what the foundation was able to do in 2018.
So, tell us about the last year, Beth. Was it a good one for Texas VFW Foundation?
2018 was a good year. We were able to expand our staff, implement an automated process we had been working on for over a year, and we received renewal and subsequent grants from the same entities as last year. While the economy has been turning and twisting, our donors have not allowed that to affect our revenue stream. For that, we are grateful.
How much money was given to veterans in need in Texas in 2018?
The foundation was able to give back about $350,000 in direct financial assistance.
What about scholarships?
The Foundation gives out awards for the Patriot’s Pen, a scholarship essay contest for middle schoolers. The program is a VFW program, but we support that program through the donation of those awards. This year, the total was $5,600 for 24 that were judged at the state level. The first-place award will be $2,000, second place will be $1,000, and third place will be $500. All others who made it to state level received $100 each.
We also awarded $8,000 for the 2nd place Voice of Democracy Scholarship, which is an essay contest sponsored by the VFW for high school students.
What kind of challenges did the foundation face for the year? Any new programs or initiatives set in motion?
Our biggest challenge this year was automating our application process and reducing paper files and the need for storage space of those files. We worked with Survey Monkey Apply to create an application veterans and their families can use from their smartphone, tablet or desktop.
Tech-savvy veterans and their families really appreciate this approach. And we still offer the option to apply through traditional means because there are those who have no experience with technology and some who don’t want to use it.
Anything new or unusual planned for 2019?
Our fiscal year ends in June, so most changes we’re planning are set to occur in late 2019 and early 2020. One such change is the addition of all forms of assistance to the automated process. This means disaster assistance, which is separate from the financial assistance offered through the Veterans Assistance Program, would have applications available through the same automated process.
We’ve also recently been asked to serve in an advisory capacity to the University of Texas Veterans Leadership Task Force. We’ve accepted, and we’re looking forward to helping the university reach the needs of our student veterans.