May & Stanley Smith Charitable Trust


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Veterans & Military Families

The Trust envisions a society where veterans and military families achieve economic self-sufficiency, community integration, and wellbeing.

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Overview

The Trust aims to strengthen programs and services that support veterans, service members, and their families in the transition to successful new lives and careers after leaving the military. Community organizations are essential components in a collaborative, holistic approach designed to achieve veteran and family well-being, self-sufficiency, and community integration.

Grantmaking in the Veterans and Military Families Program Area addresses four strategies which collectively support veterans and their families to realize economic self-sufficiency and a good quality of life: Mental and Behavioral Health and Wellness; Education, Training, and Employment; Housing Stability; and Community Integration.

Focus Population

The focus population for this program area includes personnel from the active and reserve military who have served or are currently serving and their families, regardless of discharge status and length of service, with particular focus on individuals affected by the engagements since September 2001. Acknowledging that some subpopulations experience particular challenges, the Trust’s grantmaking will include support for organizations with demonstrated competency serving veterans in one or more of the following groups:

  • People with traumatic brain injury, PTSD, or major depression
  • African American, Latino/a, Native American, Asian, and mixed-race people
  • LGBT people
  • Women
  • Survivors of military sexual trauma (MST)
  • Homeless people
  • Veterans with General or Other than Honorable Discharges
Service member in uniform facing a person in civilian clothing with sunshine in the background

The Trust recognizes veterans living with physical disabilities incurred in military action (“wounded warriors”) as a subpopulation whose needs have been rightly prioritized by federal agencies, numerous charitable institutions, and public awareness campaigns. Therefore, while the Trust supports organizations that serve all veterans regardless of disability status, requests from organizations serving wounded warriors exclusively are a lower priority in the Trust’s grantmaking.

Strategies

  • Mental Health & Wellness

    Improve the mental and behavioral health and wellness of service members, veterans, and their family members by promoting timely, affordable access to evidence-based, person-centered, culturally-appropriate care that supports individual wellness, healthy relationships, and thriving families.

    Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

    • Reduce stigma and other obstacles to mental and behavioral health treatment
    • Increase the number of culturally-competent providers offering evidence-based care
    • Support access to recreational and therapeutic programs that improve well-being
    • Help family members, caregivers, children, and others who support veterans
    • Provide access to non-VA/DoD programs for service members, veterans, and their families

  • Education & Employment

    Promote self-sufficiency by providing access to education, training, information, guidance, and other assistance to facilitate the employment of veterans and military/veteran spouses in fulfilling living wage jobs.

    Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

    • Meet uncovered expenses from education, training, or credentialing that enhance employment possibilities, particularly for junior enlisted veterans and military/veteran spouses
    • Assist active service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and veterans to translate military skills and certifications to civilian jobs
    • Educate and motivate hiring managers and human resource personnel about the benefits of employing recent veterans and their spouses
    • Assist transitioning service members and spouses with navigating the complexities of military transition and provide career advice, skills training, and job placement services to help establish them in their new career and community

  • Homelessness & Housing Stability

    End homelessness and promote housing stability among individual veterans and veterans with families, with an emphasis on populations experiencing disproportionate rates of homelessness.

    Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

    • Prevent homelessness
    • Provide rapid rehousing to reduce the duration of homelessness
    • Provide transitional housing programs for homeless and vulnerably-housed veterans
    • Provide permanent supportive housing with services for those who require long-term support to remain housed

  • Community & Family Reintegration

    Promote veteran and family well-being and community integration by supporting healthy family relationships, (re)igniting service members’ sense of purpose, and cultivating welcoming, inclusive communities.

    Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

    • Facilitate access to interventions that encourage family integration and healthy relationships
    • Recognize and help military children in school and the community
    • Increase access to benefits and services and reduce barriers to integration by providing navigation services and encouraging community collaboratives
    • Increase awareness of and access to legal services
    • Encourage veterans and family members to become engaged and familiar with their communities

Mental Health & Wellness

Improve the mental and behavioral health and wellness of service members, veterans, and their family members by promoting timely, affordable access to evidence-based, person-centered, culturally-appropriate care that supports individual wellness, healthy relationships, and thriving families.

Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

  • Reduce stigma and other obstacles to mental and behavioral health treatment
  • Increase the number of culturally-competent providers offering evidence-based care
  • Support access to recreational and therapeutic programs that improve well-being
  • Help family members, caregivers, children, and others who support veterans
  • Provide access to non-VA/DoD programs for service members, veterans, and their families

Education & Employment

Promote self-sufficiency by providing access to education, training, information, guidance, and other assistance to facilitate the employment of veterans and military/veteran spouses in fulfilling living wage jobs.

Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

  • Meet uncovered expenses from education, training, or credentialing that enhance employment possibilities, particularly for junior enlisted veterans and military/veteran spouses
  • Assist active service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and veterans to translate military skills and certifications to civilian jobs
  • Educate and motivate hiring managers and human resource personnel about the benefits of employing recent veterans and their spouses
  • Assist transitioning service members and spouses with navigating the complexities of military transition and provide career advice, skills training, and job placement services to help establish them in their new career and community

Homelessness & Housing Stability

End homelessness and promote housing stability among individual veterans and veterans with families, with an emphasis on populations experiencing disproportionate rates of homelessness.

Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

  • Prevent homelessness
  • Provide rapid rehousing to reduce the duration of homelessness
  • Provide transitional housing programs for homeless and vulnerably-housed veterans
  • Provide permanent supportive housing with services for those who require long-term support to remain housed

Community & Family Reintegration

Promote veteran and family well-being and community integration by supporting healthy family relationships, (re)igniting service members’ sense of purpose, and cultivating welcoming, inclusive communities.

Grantmaking will support programs and organizations that work to:

  • Facilitate access to interventions that encourage family integration and healthy relationships
  • Recognize and help military children in school and the community
  • Increase access to benefits and services and reduce barriers to integration by providing navigation services and encouraging community collaboratives
  • Increase awareness of and access to legal services
  • Encourage veterans and family members to become engaged and familiar with their communities

Background

Well After Service: Veteran Reintegration and American Communities, published in 2012, describes a holistic Veteran Wellness Model which the Trust encourages through its grantmaking. The report proposes that an individual experiences basic wellness when they achieve both physical and psychological well-being. Four dimensions contribute to wellness:

  • social/personal relationships
  • health
  • fulfillment of material needs
  • meaning and purpose


To inform its grantmaking in support of veterans, the Trust engaged Center for New American Security to complete a needs assessment of veterans in the western United States. The Needs Assessment: Veterans in the Western United States was completed in 2013.

The Trust does not fund:

  • Nonprofit social service providers who serve veterans as part of their general client population but that have not specifically adapted or do not plan to adapt their outreach or services to ensure they are military-friendly and accessible to veterans and military families
  • Organizations primarily providing emergency material relief, such as food, clothing, or overnight shelter
  • Organizations lacking a track record of achieving results toward at least one of the four strategies outlined above

Successful Applicant Organizations

  • Specifically address one or more of the Trust’s Veteran and Military Family strategies described above
  • Involve service members, veterans, and military family members in program planning, service delivery, and organizational leadership
  • Are culturally competent with the military community and knowledgeable about issues affecting post-9/11 service members, veterans, and their families or are actively working to gain cultural competence in order to serve these communities effectively
  • Emphasize individuals’ strengths and assets
  • Conduct activities and communicate in a nonpartisan fashion; demonstrate a willingness to work with others despite differences
  • Collaborate with and complement the work of local, regional, and national government agencies and other nonprofits serving veterans and military families
  • Demonstrate competency communicating with these populations, especially through online and social media channels
  • Understand and honor the principles of trauma-informed care

Grantseekers Start Here

Competitive applicants must also meet the eligibility and alignment criteria described in the grantseekers section.