Three families pledge to raise $30 million in aid for US veterans

Three affluent families have donated more than $1 million to help US veterans groups and plan to seek contributions from other wealthy people.

By , The Chronicle of Philanthropy

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    Sgt. Audrey Johnsey (left) greets Sfc. Joshua Herbig (right), who she served with in Afghanistan, during the Welcome Home Heroes Parade in St. Louis in January. Three wealthy US families have pledged to create a $30 million fund to support programs that serve military veterans.
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Three affluent families are forming a fund with the purpose of raising $30 million to support programs that serve military veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America announced today.

The families have donated more than $1 million and plan to seek contributions especially from other wealthy people, including those without personal connections to any service members.

Philip Green, president of PDG Consulting, a health-care consultancy,  and his wife, Elizabeth Cobbs, chief of geriatrics at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., joined with their friends Glenn and Laurie Garland and with the Jim Stimmel family to create the fund, Mr. Green said in an interview with The Chronicle.

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The money raised for the new Veterans Support Fund will be funneled to five nonprofits that help returning service members and their families.

In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which will operate the fund and conduct fundraising for it, the other beneficiaries include the National Military Family Association, Operation Homefront, Operation Mend, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Mr. Green and Ms. Cobb have donated $600,000 to start the fund, and the Garland and Stimmel families have each contributed $250,000.

Michelle McCarthy, a spokeswoman for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the fund will focus fundraising appeals on people who can give at least $250,000, but will accept donations of any size.

The announcement of the fund comes at a crucial time. A recent Chronicle article reported that many charities that serve veterans are desperate for money.

The impetus for the Veterans Support Fund came from Mr. Green and his wife, who said they realized how fortunate they were that their three grown children were not involved in the wars and came to believe that soldiers and their families are owed a special debt.

“The message we’re trying to communicate to these families is this is a moral obligation rather than a decision to give a charitable donation,” Mr. Green said. “This is different because you really have a moral obligation to give, you actually owe [military families] money.”

This article originally appeared online at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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