The ongoing conflict in Southwest Asia is changing the thrust of many charities that support warfighters and their families. As patterns of need have emerged over time, charities are shifting their focus toward specific activities that address those needs.
The charities are not abandoning their original purposes. Instead, they are taking on new roles that are increasing in importance. And despite the slow economy, people are responding to charities’ appeals on behalf of men and women in the armed forces.
However, the public is taking a closer look at military support charities. The American Institute of Philanthropy recently gave a sizeable number of veterans and military charities failing grades, and an additional number are cited for managing their funds poorly.
But among the military charities that received the institute’s highest rating, an A+, is the Fisher House Foundation. The foundation is raising funds for a new generation of houses that reflect the new reality of caring for the wounded. A total of 38 Fisher houses, which provide lodging for the families of wounded warfighters during treatment, are in operation, mostly around U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force bases. Five new houses are under construction, nine are in planning or design, and six are slated for a 2009 start.
Jim Weiskopf, executive vice president for communications, explains that Fisher House’s current and future construction plans represent a major shift in focus. Four of the five houses currently under construction are at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, and all six of the planned 2009 houses are at VA facilities.