While honoring our nation’s veterans during Military Appreciation Month is wonderful, ensuring the economic well-being of veterans is paramount. The most impactful action we can take to support veterans, especially now, is to help them find employment. If we can be successful in getting veterans back to work, so many of the other challenges exacerbated by the pandemic will be ameliorated, such as accessing quality medical care.

The veteran community has experienced the brunt of COVID-19. According to the Veterans Administration, nearly 250,000 have contracted the virus and over 11,000 have died from it. Recent data from the The Veterans Metrics Initiative Study has 61% of vets identifying as under-employed. While the economic impacts of the pandemic are still emerging, we know that 500,000 veterans live in the 15 cities across the country hardest hit by the financial ramifications of the shutdowns. This and other interesting data about veterans in the pandemic comes from the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

The pressures of the pandemic hit those who are underemployed first, often losing their already limited hours or underpaid roles.  That makes our work at the Call of Duty Endowment even more imperative.  We scour the landscape of over 68,000 veterans organizations to find those that are absolutely the best at getting vets back to work.  And when we find them, we fund them and help them grow. As the largest private funder of veteran employment in the U.S., our ambitious goal is to get 100,000 veterans back to work by 2024, and we’re nearly there. Our mission succeeds because our work is based on the rigorously consistent vetting of our Seal of Distinction program.  This approach surfaces nonprofits that demonstrate the highest level of impact and integrity in placing veterans in quality careers.  Across 2020, the organizations selected through the Seal of Distinction program proved their value. At the same time, we learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t in a pandemic. Here are a few of those lessons.

  • Adaptation is critical.
  • Face-to-face services are irreplaceable; the key is to innovate around them.
  • Establishing rigorous screening procedures will prove invaluable during an emergency.

Read the full article about helping veterans by Dan Goldenberg at Charity Navigator.