First lady announcing pledges for veterans, families
By NANCY BENAC | The Associated Press | Published: April 30, 2014
WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama is announcing pledges in excess of $150 million from foundations and corporations to help veterans and their families get the services they need in the places where they live as the country adjusts to a postwar footing.
The first lady and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, were appearing at the Red Cross on Wednesday with a variety of charitable organizations to launch 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.
Vikki Spruill, CEO of the Council on Foundations, said those making pledges would work in areas including homelessness, employment, training, education and community integration. The council also is creating an online Veterans Philanthropy Exchange to help charitable organizations share ideas and information on how to help veterans and their families, working in coordination with government and businesses.
Donald Cooke, the McCormick Foundation's senior vice president for philanthropy, said philanthropies are a key resource for veterans because of their presence in communities around the nation.
"That's where the work has to happen," Cooke said. He called foundations and corporations with a stake in their communities "the secret to how we're going to help our veterans come home."
The announcement is part of a series of events marking the third anniversary of Joining Forces, the initiative created by Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden to support military families and veterans.
First Lady Michelle Obama greets service members after participating in a "Joining Forces" event on Fort Campbell, Ky., April 23, 2014. During the event, Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, launched the Veterans Service Center, the first online one-stop shopping tool for veterans, transitioning service members and spouses seeking jobs.
AMANDA LUCIDON/WHITE HOUSE PHOTO