In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an agreement was signed in a forest outside of Paris to end hostilities between Germany and the Allies at the end of World War I. It was the beginning of the end of World War I and the start of Armistice Day, celebrated by many allied countries to honor and remember those who serve the military of their countries. In the United States it has evolved into what is now Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday set aside to honor any and all persons who have served in the armed forces.
This year, Veteran’s Day falls just three short days past Election Day for one of the most contentious presidential races in US history. So in addition to honoring our veterans, we can also celebrate the end of a rather uncomfortable time in our society and the start of the most philanthropic time of the year.
If you’re one of the people who donated to organizations serving veterans last year, then kudos to you. You are a part of a $2.5 billion dollar effort to help veterans through established charities and their services. If you’re one of the people who are contemplating it this year, then consider that there are more than 40,000 charities in the US alone with missions that focus on military service people and their families.
Need help deciding? Here are a few resources that may help:
Charity Navigator has a section on their website called “Support Veterans and Active Duty Service members,” which aims to help you find the right target for your generosity through their list of veterans charities. They even break down the list into three primary areas of focus: wounded troops services, military social services, and military family support. They also caution donors to do their homework and make sure there are no warnings or advisories. Those who have demonstrated financial responsibility, accountability, and transparency will have higher CharityNavigator ratings than organizations who have not.
CNN writers Betsy Anderson and Jacqueline Gulledge share some great ideas for getting personally involved in their article called “9 simple ways you can help veterans.” From transportation to housing, service pets to care packages, storytelling to the simple act of thanks – this great list of things that YOU can do also contains links to organization that will help you reach out.
Web article author Jason Notte researched a number of veterans organizations, looking specifically for charities that gave the overwhelming majority of their funds directly to veterans and/or their families. Check out his article called ‘7 Charities That Actually Help Veterans Beyond Veterans Day’ to read more about his recommendations on thestreet.com.
This is the time of year where we reflect most on what we’re thankful for and give back to the organizations and missions that mean the most to us. We encourage you to consider making a gift, whether of time or money, to a charity that supports the well-being of our veterans.