First Lady Michelle Obama announced pledges of more than $160 million from various organizations, charities, corporations, and foundations. The money will go to veterans and their families, curbing financial troubles and easing transitions back into civilian life, she continued.
“The first lady highlighted the launch of the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge, under which more than 30 organizations are making commitments to provide a range of services over the next five years, including $62 million in existing commitments and $102 million in new pledges over the next five years,” The Huffington Post reported Wednesday. The funding will help address key issues among vets, including homelessness, unemployment, education, training, and community integration.
“I think this is a great initiative, and I’m glad to see the White House focusing on getting the private sector to help veterans, in addition to what Government already does,” says Matthew Hill, Veterans Attorney at Hill and Ponton.
Founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Rieckhoff, hopes some of generous pledges and donations will go directly to wanting mental health programs. At The Red Cross event, Reickhoff affirmed the need, stating “the Fort Hood shootings and military suicide numbers underscore the need for a sustained, national effort to help veterans,” according to The Washington Post.
Veterans in a Washington Post poll agree. Fifty-two percent admit that their mental health was significantly worse after military service. Another 46% describe transitions back into civilian life as notably difficult. Critical delays in healthcare at VA hospitals are also a recent — and top — concern. With some careful planning, the funding can address all of these problems.
“We cannot allow ourselves to forget their service to their country,” the first lady said. “We have to get moving right now. We have to show that their country is here for them not just while they’re in uniform but for the long haul.”