Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund Report
By Keith King, President, VVAF
As the President of the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund
(VVAF) and having been involved with Vietnam Veterans of
America (VVA) for over 25 years, I have met many very talented
members. However, it seems that no one ever took inventory
of the talents of our members. The VVAF Board would like
to know what you do as a profession or as a hobby.
talked to a VVA member who travels a lot for his business.
He told us he had over a million traveler miles that he
would donate to VVAF. We have been trying for months to
contact the airlines to get us added to a charity list
so we can use those miles. The point is: We’re not
just looking for what you do, but who you know. The Chairman
and CEO of HBO is a Vietnam veteran. It was through one of
our members who contacted him that HBO got involved in Broadway
to Baghdad. That event succeeded because he was willing to
network with his contacts to help us.
Well, it seems to us
that we should be networking with ourselves. Right now,
VVAF is launching the largest fund-raising effort in its
history. We want to expand the VVA service officer program. “Expand” might
be the wrong word; we want to recreate it in conjunction
with VVA. We are looking to provide funding for two VVA
service officers and an assistant in every state. It will
take millions to do it. However, it appears to us that
it should be easy to raise the money if we just ask for
The problem, as we see it, is that we just haven’t
asked the right people. We need to train our people and younger
veterans to make sure they receive their health care and
benefits from the VA. We have veterans dying because they
don’t know or were refused help from the VA. So, who
do you know? What do you do that you think can help us? Don’t
be modest or shy. We don’t know what we need until
we see it.
Here is what we need from you:
- Your time. It is the most valuable asset you have
and we know it, but if you’re not willing or able
to give us some of your time, we would just as soon not
know about your talent.
- Your talent, and what you can do. We need everything,
so if you’re really good at something, let us know
- Who do you know, and are you willing to reach out
to that person and ask for the help we need?
- Your willingness to allow us to put your name and
contact information in a database for us to start matching
needs to talents is critical to the success of this effort.
We will keep the database secure and will protect it, but
if we need to build a team to complete the job, we have
to know who and where everyone is.
- Your money. Okay, we’re asking for your money
because we know many business owners and members who simply
don’t or won’t give us their time or contacts
but they have money, a lot of money. Send us $1,000 or
$5,000 or $1,000,000, and we will name a program after
Excel spread sheet and email the file to firstname.lastname@example.org or
fill out this form and mail to: Inventory of Talent 8605
Cameron St., Ste. 400, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3710.
the math on the service officer program: For two VVA Service
officers and an assistant, we figured the VVAF should budget
$80,000 a year. That times 50 states equals $4 million. We
have a whole new generation of veterans who need our help.
We believe we have the best program in the country, and who
better to train them than us?
VVAF owns and operates three
transitional houses and two permanent supportive housing
homes in Connecticut for veterans in need. To upgrade the
homes, pay for staff, and give us an opportunity to expand
our services to the other states, we need a $2 million endowment.
We know that we have members and associates who are grant
writers. How about helping us with HUD and the VA to get
grants for homeless veterans or veterans in need of a place
to stay while they get their lives together? We already are
seeing homeless Iraq veterans, and we know that drugs and
alcohol problems are affecting them.
Veterans Against Drugs
is one of the best programs VVA has, and it’s the most
under-funded. VVAF estimated that we need $10,000 per state
for printing leave- behind materials, travel expenses, and
per diem for the volunteers who present this program to school-age
children. The total is $500,000 to run one of the most effective
anti-drug programs ever developed. We could use the grant
writers and community activists and school board members
and the PTA to help us on funding this. We have elected officials
in our membership who could use their contacts to help us
get federal, state, or local anti-drug grants. Consider this
a request for your help.
The VVAF also funds other great programs.
Such as the bush pilots in Alaska who go get veterans and
take them to a VA hospital and the horse-riding events for
disabled veterans and, of course, many Stand-downs. There
were many programs that we wanted to support but we ran out
of funds this year. This funding cycle, we had requests for
almost $400,000, and we had a little over half of that amount
to grant. If we round the additional programs up to $500,000,
it will make our target an even $7 million.
time to take inventory. Please step up and be counted.
VVAF Board: Keith King, President;
Fred Elliott, Secretary; John Miterko, Treasurer;
Jim Grissom, Member; Ezell Ware, Member;
Ira Cooperman, Member; Joe Sternburg, Executive Director.