June 2020 SitRep

By Shaun Rieley

As the country reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, penned an op-ed discussing the need to provide veterans with opportunities to continue their service after leaving the military. With the country reeling from challenges posed by the pandemic and racial tensions, promoting opportunities for veterans to continue their service by helping to heal and unite our country has rarely been more crucial. 

In previous generations, veterans considered it a matter of course that their organizations would seek to promote patriotism, unity, and better understanding of our American institutions. Over time, however, these important missions have been overshadowed by other pursuits, especially advocating for expanded benefits. Recapturing this vision for American veterans is important both to give veterans a renewed sense of purpose, as well as to help the country overcome its divisions and revitalize its institutions. 

One way the philanthropic community can help accomplish this is by thinking carefully about the connection between military service, civic virtue, and civic education and supporting innovative programs to employ veterans in this important work.

Here’s your June Situation Report on the veterans and military space:

Veterans Philanthropy News

  • Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) has partnered with VA, pledging $4.5 million for the development of teleoncology platforms at VA in line with BMS’s strategic shift toward focusing on cancer treatment and research:
  • Illinois Joining Forces, a nonprofit organization partnered with the McCormick Foundation which helps veterans navigate resources, has begun offering free wellness checks for veterans and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Dan Goldenberg, executive director of the Call of Duty Endowment, discusses the steps they are taking to mitigate the increase in veterans unemployment in the wake of COVID-19 with The Washington Post:
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) has put out a call for applications for research grants aimed at supporting research into spinal cord injury and disease: 
Veterans Healthcare and Disability News

  • COVID-19 has caused a backlog for veterans disability claims processing:
  • John M. Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for The Business of Government, argues that the Veterans Benefits Administration may be having its best year ever:
  • Amy Palmer, president and CEO of Soldiers’ Angels, a “national nonprofit providing aid, comfort, and resources to the military, veterans, and their families,” details how COVID-19 has shifted the way they do their work: 
Veterans Education and Employment News

  • The Washington Times reports on the ways that converting veterans’ military training into civilian jobs is often hindered by regulations and red tape:
  • Veteran unemployment dropped slightly in May, but long term trends remain troubling, Military Times reports: 
Other Items of Interest

  • D-Day celebrations in Normandy, France were canceled this year for the first time since 1945, in the wake of COVID-19:
  • Tommy Meyerson, Marine Corps veteran and son of Philanthropy Roundtable President Emeritus Adam Meyerson, offers some reflections on Memorial Day, and argues that we can best honor our fallen by understanding their missions across the world:
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs joined forces with the Boy Scouts of America to ensure that all of America’s fallen were honored this Memorial Day:
  • The protests that rocked Washington, D.C., along with numerous other major cities across the nation, led to damage and vandalism to the headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as war memorials across the city:
  • The last American still receiving a pension as the dependent of a Civil War veteran has died at the age of 90: 

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