United by a common call to serve, America’s men and women in uniform come from a diverse range of backgrounds and places to form a single all-volunteer force dedicated to protecting our nation during war and peacetime.
When members of our armed forces complete their military commitments, they transition back into communities at home and become once again our neighbors and coworkers – but for many, service doesn't stop when they return to civilian life. Alongside their families and friends, many veterans continue to actively give back to their communities long after they retire their uniforms.
"You see, for these folks, service is the air they breathe. It’s the reason they were put on this earth. And many of them don’t want to serve for just a certain number of years or a certain number of deployments — they want to make their whole life a tour of duty." – First Lady Michelle Obama at CGI’s 2010 Annual Meeting
This Veterans Day, we are highlighting veteran-led organizations that demonstrate an unwavering dedication to service. The leaders of these organizations have made CGI Commitments to Action that repurpose the skills veterans developed while serving in uniform to address some of the biggest problems facing America today.
Leading disaster response efforts
Team Rubicon is an organization that deploys military veterans who volunteer to respond to natural disasters. In January 2013, Palantir Technologies made a commitment in partnership with Team Rubicon and Direct Relief to improve disaster response efforts by providing software and analytical support to better mobilize responders and resources to natural and other disasters. Since the commitment launched, they have deployed together in response to several disasters.
Most recently, Team Rubicon, Palantir, and Direct Relief are partnering to send a rapid response team to Tacloban, the area of the Philippines hardest-hit by Typhoon Haiyan. Team Rubicon is sending a 15-person team of highly trained medics, Direct Relief is sending millions of dollars of medicines and supplies, and Palantir is providing operational technology and analysis to determine where help is needed most and provide real-time tracking of assets and personnel. Together, these efforts will provide critically needed capacity to help people in need.
To learn more about how American veterans facilitate better disaster response, visit http://get.cgilink.org/v/c/803345.
Addressing inner-city youth violence
Leave No Veteran Behind (LNVB) addresses inner-city violence and gang activity as a problem that our nation’s veterans can help to solve using their unique training and experience. At CGI America in 2012, LNVB made a commitment to implement its Educational Assurance Program, a transitional work program through which veterans help secure neighborhoods with heavy gang presence surrounding Chicago Public Schools. The involvement of veterans has significantly decreased physical altercations among students — by up to 50% at some schools — and has decreased crime overall, according to the Chicago Police Department.
To learn more about how LNVB leverages the training and experience of Chicago’s veterans, visit http://get.cgilink.org/v/c/792156.
Enhancing the capacity of nonprofits while promoting volunteerism
At CGI America 2011, The Mission Continues (TMC) committed to rapidly accelerate the growth of its Fellowship Program by placing over 200 post-9/11 veterans in community-based nonprofits. By enhancing their organizational capacity, veteran fellows provided critical support to the nonprofits in which they were placed. At the end of their fellowships, fellows enrolled in TMC’s Service Project program which trained them to lead large-scale days of service nationwide. Through the Got Your 6 Commitment to Action, TMC also led a pledge, in partnership with other veteran-service organizations, that has already resulted in 1,372,000 hours of veteran-led volunteer service.
To learn more about TMC’s 2011 Commitment to Action, visit http://get.cgilink.org/v/c/717313.
Supporting employment by establishing working farms
At the 2011 CGI America meeting, the Farmer-Veteran Coalition committed to unite the farming industry in support of veteran-owned start-ups. Several steps included launching the Agriculture Industry Employment Initiative for Veterans and making micro-loans available for farmer-veterans in coordination with the USDA and other farm credit systems. Participating veterans receive a 40-page Resource Guide for Veteran Careers in Agriculture, benefit from the Farmer Veteran Coalition’s small grants program, and can participate in a conference on Women Veterans and Agriculture.
For more information on veterans in agriculture, visit http://get.cgilink.org/v/c/732882.
Building an energy-secure America
At CGI America 2013, the Building Performance Contractors Association of New York State committed to create veteran-owned coops for deep energy retrofits. This effort will provide career pathways for veterans, many of whom have specific and relevant skills and training, while reducing energy waste in American homes. Participating veterans will receive necessary technical training, mentoring support, and operational resources for business development and skills advancement. This pilot's launch will build out an infrastructure that can be replicated and scaled in other communities across the United States.
To find out more about Building Performance Contractors Association of New York’s energy efficiency commitment, visit http://get.cgilink.org/v/c/827235.
America’s service members and their families demonstrate talent, dedication, and passion. Many are trained leaders ready to apply their skills and experiences here at home. This Veterans Day, support our veterans and military families by getting involved:
1. Support disaster response efforts. To learn more, visit Team Rubicon:http://teamrubiconusa.org/launching-operation-seabird/
2. Volunteer alongside veterans and military spouses. To learn more, visit the Corporation for National and Community Service: http://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/serving-veterans-and-military-families
3. Mentor a veteran or military spouse business owner. To learn more, visit the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation: http://www.joiningforcesmentoringplus.org/
4. Hire a veteran or military spouse. To learn more, visit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program: http://www.uschamber.com/hiringourheroes
5. Listen to a veteran’s story. To learn more, visit Got Your Six:http://www.gotyour6.org/storytellers