In December 2010, the Council on Foundations and the Philanthropy Roundtable co-sponsored the program “Philanthropic Strategies for Helping America’s Veterans” held in Washington, D.C. The presentations were remarkable—informative, heartwarming, and inspiring. One presentation on Warriors and Quiet Waters—a community-based group in Bozeman, Montana, that employs the therapeutic qualities of fly fishing to help heal traumatically wounded warriors—was particularly stirring.
While there are inspiring programs around the country, the sad truth we discovered was that we as a nation are not all pulling in the same direction.
The need for an inspiring guide for philanthropic efforts has never been greater. Over 1.9 million service members have deployed since 2007. Many have had multiple combat tours. An estimated 300,000 have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ten percent of all personnel deployed to Iraq were wounded or hospitalized.
While our veterans' needs are great, Americans have never been more willing to help. According to a Pentagon white paper, there are over 400,000 registered websites for donors and organizations supporting our service men and women. “This is more than a poll of do-gooders—it is a Sea of Goodwill,” the paper concludes. “Our nation needs a method to navigate this sea.”
Many groups do not know how to reach veterans and their families, what they need most, or how to best deliver assistance. This urgent need inspired Esprit de Corps and ColdWater Media to make the documentary film “Veteran Nation: The Mission at Home has Just Begun.” The purpose of the film and the call to action is simple: Taking care of veterans is the responsibility of all Americans.
The documentary has a great story to tell. Few Americans know the triumphs and tragedies of how the nation has treated its veterans. Additionally, the film tells the story of contemporary veterans through the eyes of combat veterans who are fighting to heal the wounds of war while preparing for a lifetime of service.