October 28, 2016
MCLEAN, VA – After fretting over the best route to take to raise its lagging donations, the Our Military Kids train is starting to pick up speed, thanks to an initial push by Fisher House Foundation, provider of temporary homes for families of military members receiving medical treatment.
Our Military Kids, which provides extracurricular activity grants to children of deployed and wounded warriors, recently had to reduce grant amounts for the first time in 12 years. After hearing about the cuts from a Fox News report, Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, presented a check to OMK for $250,000 and a challenge to others to step up and help.
“Supporting [Our Military Kids] is a natural extension of our mission at Fisher House….We both understand that not only the service member serves, but the entire family sacrifices,” Fisher said.
In response to the news story, and following the Fisher House presentation, a South Carolina businessman, wishing to remain anonymous but referred to as Living Dunes, has issued a public challenge: He will match every donation made at OMK’s website up to $250,000 through Veteran’s Day.
“This week, the good news keeps coming,” said OMK’s executive director, Linda Davidson. “I am moved by the generosity of Fisher House and by their desire to help shine a spotlight on the needs of military children. These donations signal the beginning of better collaboration among military family advocates. And it’s time.”
Since April 2005, Our Military Kids has delivered more than 55,000 grants, totaling $22 million. In 2014 all of its federal funding was cut, making for total reliance on private donors. “We’re grateful for this recent support, but our mountain is steep,” Davidson said. “Deployments and struggles for wounded military members continue, the need is still there, and we already receive nearly 500 eligible applications each month.”
Noting this week’s donor response, reporter Diana Falzone called the Fox news release about OMK’s cuts “the little story that could.”
Recalling the children’s story about the train struggling over mountains at Christmastime, Davidson is taking the “I think I can” approach. “Our Military Kids only has a 6-person staff and a small cadre of dedicated volunteers. I can recount so many stories of how activities have empowered military children. We simply need to provide them opportunity and hope.”
As they approach the season of giving, this small but mighty nonprofit, may just get back on track.