Coming back home after battle is never easy, but more and more funders are starting to pay attention to getting veterans back on their feet in their own communities and we've written a lot about these efforts.
U.S.VETS is a national nonprofit for homeless and at-risk veterans, but it’s now expanding a mental health program for veterans in Orange County. This expansion is made possible by a $300,000 grant from the Los Angeles-based UniHealth Foundation and $75,000 from an anonymous donor.
Almost all UniHealth grants go to healthcare services and programs, as the name suggests, but the funder sets aside part of its grantmaking budget to tend to the needs of local veterans. General Purpose Fund grants are part of a smaller fund and go to nonprofits that have at least some sort of a health angle. Grantmaking is generally restricted to San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valley, Westside and Downtown Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley, and Long Beach and Orange County.
This particular veterans program that UniHealth supported is called Outside the Wire, which provides care for veterans who suffer from psychological issues from their experiences in war. With this money, U.S.VETS will be providing individual, group, and family counseling, and really focusing in on recently-returned vets attending college. Supervised Ph.D. candidates can get some training and experience working with vets through Outside the Wire as well.
Veterans programs often have a broad national focus, making it difficult for foundations with strict geographical restrictions to support them while staying true to their mandates. This is a great example of how a national nonprofit can earn the support of locally focused funders by zeroing in on residents returning from conflicts. U.S.VETS offers Outside the Wire services at 11 college campuses in Southern California, and this expansion money will reach four additional schools in Orange County. The program is also available at the One-Stop Veteran Service Center at Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles.
Other recent UniHealth veteran-focused grants include $350,000 to New Direction for Veterans to support a continuum of care emphasizing treatment and housing for veterans involved in the criminal justice system and $20,000 to the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence to support advanced training for practicing nurses serving Los Angeles-area veterans. At the end of 2013, UniHealth reported over $289 million in assets.
Fortunately for grantseekers, the UniHealth Foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry all throughout the year. To get involved, check out Unihealth’s How to Apply page. General questions can be directed to Caroline Chung, grants manager, at 213-630-6509 or firstname.lastname@example.org.