Giving to Support Our Veterans
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation donors recently had the opportunity to hear from several organizations that take diverse approaches to serving veterans in the Kansas City area.
Kevin Jamison, COO of Veterans Community Project and a veteran himself, kicked off the discussion after attendees had the chance to tour one of the organization’s tiny homes, which will be offered to homeless vets as transitional housing in the new Veterans Village. Veterans will be able to move in as soon as the homes are connected to a new sewer system, which should be in November, and the goal is 50 tiny homes.
Kansas City is the first city in the U.S. to build a village of tiny homes, and now the organization has heard from 600 other cities who want to do the same. Veterans Community Project is also inspiring unique gifts from the community, as they have received handmade quilts and artwork to enhance the tiny homes. They are also working with high school students who use their cooking classes to make and store food for the vets.
Next, Wade Abel from Park University, also a veteran, shared how the school caters to veterans to help them transition to college life, apply for military benefits and access resources that assist with employment, finances, PTSD and more. Park University has 40 off-campus centers and a robust online offering, so even deployed service members can take classes worldwide.
Richard Potter, director of the VFW Foundation, rounded out the panel with a glimpse inside his organization, which has many programs and services that support veterans and families. The VFW Foundation provides grants to assist vets and their families who might be struggling to pay rent and buy groceries and serves as an advocate for veterans trying to navigate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2016, their services helped vets access more than $7 billion in benefits.
Our veterans have diverse backgrounds, skills and needs, and whether they transitioned to civilian life recently or many years ago, they all share a common bond. This was apparent during the discussion, where the theme "veterans serving veterans" emerged – an adage the VFW Foundation often uses, as it employs vets to assist other vets across the country.
While this was just a small sampling of the great organizations that serve veterans in our community, the connections were easy to spot. At the end of the discussion, Richard noted that the Veterans Community Project's tiny home was heading to an event at the VFW headquarters in Midtown, and Kevin proudly remarked, "I went to Park!"
Authored by: Leanne Breiby, Director of Communications