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Serving Those Who Served Our Country: Being Militant about Quality Support

May 13, 2013 by Catherine Freeman

One of the major goals of the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative is to convene, spotlight and further inspire non-profit organizations that support veterans and their families.  Given the personal sacrifices that veterans have made for our country, this endeavor is obviously easy for all citizens to embrace.  But for those at the Bush Institute wanting to ensure quality services and others (like me) who are involved in evaluating outcomes, the challenges are much greater than first meet the eye.  The vast majority of non-profit organizations that work with veterans fully intend to use their resources (funds and services) productively and helpfully.  But, unfortunately, not all are adequately equipped in their business operations, expertise, and capacity to succeed.  Given this reality, the following areas emerge as priorities for our work:

  • Identifying which organizations have the strongest potential to deliver effective support
  • Identifying which organizations are most successful in providing support
  • Determining which types of support and practices are most viable with regard to cost effectiveness and impacts on veterans
  • Designing and implementing a systemic process for selecting the organizations best able to succeed, helping them to continually improve, and evaluating outcomes to determine what works best for whom

To address these priorities, we will be developing support, communication, and evaluation materials for working with participating organizations.  The materials will include clear goals, high expectations, timelines, guidelines, and clear performance measures.  Clearly, military members and their families are deserving of services that are meaningful, useful, and adaptive to their needs.  Those of us involved with program funding, delivery, and quality must be militant in ensuring that they receive them. To this end, the Bush Institute will soon be releasing the results of a national survey of 512 post-9/11 military service members.