Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 9, 2016 – The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) recently received a $5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to aid in the expansion of its AmericaServes program, a model that offers veterans the tools needed for a smooth transition back to civilian life. The additional funding bolsters ongoing programs in New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and supports the launch of AmericaServes in Texas.

In the military, service members have a mission and a strong support structure; however, when they transition back to civilian life, their mission is not always clear and support can feel nonexistent. Transitioning veterans and their families often have multiple needs like employment training, housing, education and healthcare, yet organizations are often set up to support only one.

According to the Department of Defense, more than 185,000 military members will reintegrate into civilian life this year, and with over 45,000 vet-help organizations, veterans struggle to access the vast ecosystem of assistance. Veteran families need a solution that simplifies their lives. AmericaServes seeks to offer that solution.

Looking to best address this issue head-on, IVMF launched the AmericaServes initiative in 2013 to streamline and connect the services available in communities. The program created was the nation’s first coordinated system of public, private and non-profit organizations—a network—working together to serve veterans, transitioning service-members and their families.

Heading into its fourth year, AmericaServes’s success stories are profound as the program works to solve issues locally where actual organizations reside and assistance takes place. For example, in North Carolina, a U.S. Army veteran in the NCServes Metrolina area, transitioned to civilian life after two deployments. He, his wife and three children moved to the area for better opportunities and a fresh start, but with no family or friends in the Charlotte area, they struggled to find housing and appropriate healthcare. After connecting with NCServes in early September of 2015, the family was able to find temporary housing until permanent housing could be established. NCServes also assisted with benefits claims and financial assistance, and they connected the family with a local holiday corporate giving program.

“The single, greatest opportunity before us is to create significant impact for the veteran community around systems navigation—or better connecting veterans and their families to the wealth of government, nonprofit and other resources available to them,” commented Mike Haynie of IVMF.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have a long history of supporting our nation’s military service members. In 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation pledged $20 million for veteran reintegration programs. Seeing the increased need for collective impact models, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation pledged an additional $20 million in 2014 through 2019 to fund organizations capable of making systemic change in large veteran communities.

“These are the same communities where we live and work,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart and president of the Walmart Foundation. “Veterans and military families benefit when local providers coordinate their care based on a shared vision of success. That’s why the Walmart Foundation supports IVMF as they expand their AmericaServes collective impact model in to new areas of the country and help thousands more veterans.”

The $5 million grant to IVMF from the Walmart Foundation will specifically support initiatives in Western Piedmont and Coastal North Carolina as well as TXServes in San Antonio. Future expansion of AmericaServes includes Washington State, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. For more information visit americaserves.org.

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About Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)
The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Supported by a world-class advisory board and public and private partners committed to advancing the post-service lives of America’s service members, veterans and their families, the IVMF and its professional staff deliver class-leading programs in career, vocations, and entrepreneurship education and training. The IVMF also provides actionable and national impacting research, policy analysis and program evaluation; coordinates comprehensive collective impact strategies; and works with communities and non-profits to enhance service delivery for veterans and their families. Read more at vets.syr.edu.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. We have stores in 28 countries, employing more than 2.2 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. We are helping people live better by accelerating upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where we operate and inspiring our associates to give back. Whether it is helping to lead the fight against hunger in the United States with $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations or supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through a series of grants totaling $10 million to the Women in Factories training program in Bangladesh, China, India and Central America, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.