After military service, veterans come home changed people. Some will need to address service-related health and wellness challenges they had not known before. Many more will come home with new practical skills and leadership experience that can benefit their communities.
Nearly two decades into America’s longest contiguous war, however, the veterans’ services landscape remains fragmented, complex, and often difficult to navigate. And our country lacks a cohesive plan by which servicemembers transition out of uniform and reintegrate successfully with their communities. That’s why we need an intermediary.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) Local Partner Network's mission is to increase the collaborative capacity of local communities to serve as stewards of a national ecosystem working to achieve optimal well-being for veterans and their families, wherever they are.
BWF envisions an America in which after military service, veterans are reintegrated seamlessly as recognized, productive, healthy members of civilian society. We envision an ever-growing, consistently engaged network of local communities committed to easing veteran access to services, and decreasing variability of outcomes regardless of where the service member, veteran and/or family resides.
Our programs help our Local Partners achieve the following conditions of collective impact:
- Common agenda to support mutual understanding of problems their community is grappling with, and a shared approach to solving them
- Shared measurement for gathering and reporting data and impact on veterans
- Mutually reinforcing activities between stakeholders working in the veterans space
- Continuous communication among members of local collaboratives and across the national ecosystem
- Backbone support to build adaptive leadership and strong community-based organizations that can steward cross-sector collaboration
We also aim to realize these aspirations shared by the veteran community at large:
- Democratized data that guides decision-makers and policy experts
- “Warm handoff” best practices, strategies and capabilities that ease service members' transition out of uniform and into civilian community live
There are lots of organizations working to improve the capacity of communities to serve veterans. Here’s how we stand out:
- We offer our programming at no cost to our partners. Our Local Partners invest substantial time and attention for the benefit of their communities. We are committed to facilitating access to tools and resources they need to collaborate effectively.
- We are by far the nation’s largest network of communities collaborating for impact in the lives of veterans.
- Our network yields the nation’s largest and most robust set of data about the capacity of communities to collaborate for impact in the lives of veterans.
- We find, fund, and facilitate a robust portfolio of educational resources for the communities in our network, singularly focused on increasing their capacity to collaborate for impact.
- We promote shared learning by leveraging the expertise of recognized SMEs for stakeholder benefit.
- We embrace all collaborative frameworks—from VA-inspired Community Veteran Engagement Boards to veteran collaboratives anchored at community foundations, mayors’ offices, and chambers of commerce—and actively encourage and provide resources that facilitate the inclusion of non-veteran stakeholders, as critical to success in this work.
- We continuously assess the capacity-building and learning needs of our Local Partner collaboratives, and help design, fund, and coordinate delivery of tailored technical assistance based on their unique needs.
- We advocate for the engagement of grantmakers as stakeholders in veteran wellbeing.