April 2020 SitRep

By Shaun Rieley

It is a stressful and uncertain time for our country—but there are bright spots amid the crisis. As I argue in the current issue of Philanthropy magazine, veterans are too often viewed as victims in need of pity and charity, rather than as the civic resources that they are. This crisis is highlighting the ability of veterans to be assets to their communities and the country in times of need.

I recently had the opportunity to host a webinar with Jake Wood, Marine Corps veteran and CEO of Team Rubicon, an organization whose mission is to deploy veterans and supporters to respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises. We discussed the ways that Team Rubicon is activating veterans across the country to assist response efforts by authorities, and to meet needs of their fellow citizens. 

As Team Rubicon’s efforts demonstrate, veterans have much to offer—we need more philanthropic efforts that provide opportunities that employ their skills. Here’s your April situation report on the veterans and military space:

Veterans Philanthropy News

  • Dan Goldenberg of the Call of Duty Endowment—the charitable arm of the video game maker Activision Blizzard—argues in the Washington Post that easing restrictions on licensing and credentialing for veterans with military medical training can help to address the COVID-19 crisis: For those who don't have a Washington Post subscription, see Dan's recent appearance on Fox News to discuss why veterans are uniquely qualified to help during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • VA announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Team Red, White, & Blue (Team RWB), one of the premier post-9/11 philanthropy-supported veterans organizations:
  • USAA and the USAA Foundation recently announced their plan total of $2.3 million to military- and veteran-related nonprofits, as well as funding for biomedical research to aid the response to COVID-19:
  • Veteran Roasters, a veteran-owned coffee company dedicated to training veterans for jobs in the coffee industry and to philanthropic support of veterans through their charitable arm Rags of Honor 1, was recently highlighted in Military Times

Veterans Heath Care and Disability News

  • Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) are leading an effort to expand health services for veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • As of April 14th, VA hospitals have treated nearly 200 non-veteran COVID-19 patients in 10 states:

Veterans Education and Employment News

  • Congress recently approved a second emergency package to protect student veterans in the light of COVID-19:
  • CEO and U.S. Army veteran Chris Cancialosi argues that there are numerous myths about veterans in the civilian workforce that hurt veterans and cause companies to miss out on the benefits that veterans can bring:

Other Items of Interest

  • Rebecca Burgess, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute, provides an overview of veterans competing in the recent Super Tuesday primary in the run up to the 2020 general election:
  • Casey Chalk, a writer and theologian, reflects on the status of Just War theory in the 21st Century:
  • U.S. Army Infantry officer Michael Anderson argues that we can better understand King Saul, one of the Biblical kings of Israel, through the lens of combat trauma:

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