INSPIRED IMPACT post headerINSPIRED IMPACT™ is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to social entrepreneurs and leaders of purpose-driven organizations who are making an impact in their communities, industries, and around the world.


 

Shawn KellyShawn Kelly is the President of The Home Front Cares headquartered in Colorado Springs. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and learn more at thehomefrontcares.org.

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?
The Home Front Cares provides emergency financial assistance to Colorado’s military community, easing their burden during crisis and preventing veteran homelessness.

 

WHY DO YOU DO IT?
We provide one-time financial assistance to active duty, veterans and their families to mitigate the negative impact that a financial crisis can have on a family. Not only do we protect those facing immediate eviction or loss of utilities, but we also work to ease stress through rapid response. Many of our clients suffer from a service-connected disability such as PTSD or TBI and over half of approved cases involve children. So timely case approval is a must, often within 24 hours.

For some, the transition out of the military results in few job opportunities and increased expenses – health insurance and rent. For others, retirement means a fixed income and little wiggle room to deal with unexpected life events, such as a failed vehicle transmission or sudden illness.

The Home Front Cares provides this support because our founders remember what it was like returning from Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s and resolved that no returning soldier, airmen, sailor or marine would experience the same isolation or hopelessness. Assisting Colorado’s military men and women in their time of financial need is the least we can do to show our appreciation for the sacrifices they have made.

 

WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
Last year, The Home Front Cares provided nearly $370,000 in assistance to more than 360 approved cases. We also received 1,500 calls on our helpline, referring active duty, veterans and their family members to dozens of partner agencies to ensure each individual received the appropriate support.

It can be difficult to quantify the impact or outcome of our financial intervention but it is something that we believe is critically important to examine. Collecting demographic data, survey results and client testimonials helps us streamline our support and deliver the assistance that Colorado’s military community has earned.

 

WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Simply, our clients inspire us. We owe our security to the sacrifices made by the men and women who don a uniform and put themselves in harm’s way. It is truly humbling to be able to help them in their time of need.

 

WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
This country faces two great issues that we care about deeply, homelessness and suicide. The Home Front Cares does not have the power to tackle both at the national level but we can strive to lower numbers of veteran suicide and homelessness in Colorado. The way that we do that is to take it case by case and work on upstream support to lower stress levels and prevent financial crisis. Delivering timely support to those in desperate need can quite literally save lives. It is a monumental task, but every family we keep warm, fed and housed is a step in the right direction.

 

WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
The Home Front Cares provides emergency financial relief and as the need grows so too does the amount of funds required to meet that need. When a case is approved by our program staff, the check is delivered straight to vendor – expediting the process and ensuring good stewardship of donated funds. But that money is finite, forcing our Board and staff to decide which cases receive funding and which don’t. Unfortunately, we can’t always say yes to every good case that comes to us. But we are hard at work fundraising across the state. The larger the program budget, the more good cases we can approve.

 

WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
After nearly two decades of continued conflict, the needs of Colorado’s military community has not only grown, but it has changed. Mental health has become a primary concern of the VA and DoD as veteran suicide rates continue to climb. Evolving program to match the needs of the community is an obvious move, but ensuring that the new direction is the right direction can be difficult. Luckily, The Home Front Cares is postured to evolve alongside those needs quickly with an expert staff, engaged Board and an incredible community of donors and volunteers.

 

WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Outcomes over outputs. Make sure that the metrics by which you measure success are the right ones. More dollars out and more cases approved does not always mean the best work has been done.

 

HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
The Home Front Cares is blessed with a large network of donors and volunteers who are engaged and jump at the chance to welcome home troops and raise money for those in crisis. If you want to join us in our mission please reach out to my Director of Development, Tony Peck, at 719-209-4613 or tony.peck@thehomefrontcares.org. He would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you very much for your interest.

 


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