Issue Backgrounder for Veteran-serving Community Organizations

Use this template for preparing presentations and other outreach materials to share with your governor and his/her staff, members of Congress, representatives of veterans affairs agencies, and officers and members of veteran-serving community organizations to enlist their support. Customize this list to include data and contacts specific to your Commission and state.

  • AmeriCorps and its partners provide a range of community services.
    [If the contact/prospect is unfamiliar with AmeriCorps] AmeriCorps is a network of partnerships with national and local nonprofits, government agencies, and faith-based organizations working to improve the lives of citizens in our state and country. Every year, more than 75,000 American adults of all ages and backgrounds give anywhere from a few months to a full year working to alleviate poverty and address many unmet human needs. Here in [state], last year over [number] AmeriCorps members working with [number] agencies dedicated [number] hours of service to improving education, the economy, the environment, and the quality of life of our citizens. Just to name a few examples, [name examples of AmeriCorps programs in your state and what they do and/or have accomplished; you can also give them the URL for your Commission and/or direct them to access the site’s section on service in your state for additional reading].

  • Veterans and military families are a priority.
    We are making a special effort to better serve veterans and military families in our state. Our servicemen and servicewomen and their families have made heroic sacrifices to protect our freedoms and way of life, and we owe our veterans all the support we can muster as they rotate home or transition back to civilian life. We are particularly concerned about those veterans and their loved ones who will suffer hardship as a result of war-related physical and mental disabilities, psychological stresses, and the challenging job market. We know that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night and nearly 400,000 will experience homelessness during the course of a year. We also know veterans are at higher risk of committing suicide, and many need treatment for depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. We know that many military spouses wish they had better employment opportunities, and that long deployments can be stressful for children in military families. [Add similar statistics for vets in your own state, if available.]

  • We’re already serving veterans and military families ...
    [If applicable, describe any initiatives or programs you or your grantees already have in place in your state to serve veterans and military families.]

  • The veterans initiative can work in two ways.
    To help address these and other issues for veterans and military families in our state, we want to grow the number of veteran-focused national service programs and service opportunities here in [state]. That means both recruiting veterans themselves to serve as AmeriCorps members, as well as finding and funding organizations to start or expand AmeriCorps programs serving veterans and their families.
  • The resources are there.
    Federal money is available for organizations that want to add programming that serves veterans and military families, and we will work with and coach them through the grant application and startup phases. We have over [number] years of experience identifying and supporting these types of partnerships.
  • Here’s what you can do.
    We want your help in identifying people and organizations who can work with us as partners, grantees, service sites, or recruitment resources. To that end, we’re hoping you can:
    [Select and/or add to/adapt the following based on your audience and your needs]
    • Sign a proclamation we can help draft declaring a “Veterans and Military Families Service Day” that honors the work of organizations helping veterans and military families, as well as veterans and members of military families who volunteer in their communities.
    • Put us in touch with the appropriate staff in the state National Guard and veterans affairs offices in charge of veteran welfare and transitions we can talk to about our initiative.
    • Consider applying for, hosting, contributing in-kind support, or otherwise supporting a veteran-focused AmeriCorps program, and/or help us think of other organizations that might be interested.
    • Help us spread the word about our initiative and service opportunities, and/or help us think of people, organizations, and media who should be part of our outreach efforts.
    • Help us better understand the specific needs and issues facing veterans and their families in our state and the types of resources that would best help them.
    • Help us identify the appropriate personnel and offices at [military base] that might help us publicize our initiative and service opportunities.
  • Keep in touch.
    Thank you very much for your time, and if you want to get back in touch with us, or if you think of something else you’d like to share after our meeting, please don’t hesitate to call us at [phone number], e-mail us at [e-mail address], or look us up on the web at [web address].

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