With New Grants, Military Group Will Boost Chapters’ Local Impact
A new grant program from the Military Officers Association of America will help it leverage the power of its local components and their charitable work, while strengthening the national-chapter relationship.
From marketing and communications to member engagement and community work, chapters can extend an organization’s mission on a local level. The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) found a way to encourage its chapters in the work they are already doing through a new grant program.
The MOAA Military Family Initiative (MMFI), the group’s charitable organization, launched its Community Outreach grant program to provide funding for some of MOAA’s 400 chapters and 30-plus councils that are providing charitable services to military families.
The chapters are “doing a lot of good community work. We know they are,” said retired Air Force Col. Mike Turner, MOAA vice president of development and MMFI executive director. “So we said, ‘In keeping with the charitable purposes of the foundation, we would like to be able to support them in that good work.’”
Through an online application, chapters and councils must prove they’re working in one of eight categories of need and are directly involved in the program so they can control how the funds are used, as well as demonstrate the efficacy and outcomes of their programs. Based on these factors, MMFI will distribute $25,000 to select chapters through no fewer than five grants at up to $5,000 each.
“The MMFI now is able to begin providing meaningful financial support to MOAA councils and chapters doing the heavy lifting in their local communities as they provide high-impact assistance to our nation’s military and veteran families when and where they need it,” retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, MOAA president and CEO, said in a press release.
To allow for more accurate, objective scoring, MMFI created a numerical scale to measure each program’s success. The scale is based on certain efficacy standards but also takes into account that each program is unique to its context.
In addition, the application process will help the national organization find out what work is happening through its chapters and councils.
“This program, as it expands, will begin to actually codify, show, demonstrate objectively, and quantify the good work that we’re doing in the communities,” Turner said. “Right now, we’re just guessing, and this will really help us find out what’s really going on among our chapters.”
While the program strengthens the national-chapter relationship and supports existing work, it also will encourage more chapters to get more involved. Turner said he hopes MMFI can use the information from the program in the future to enlist successful chapters to help others implement charitable services in their own communities.
“We thought, ‘Why not leverage the power of our chapters and councils and begin to bring it together in some form of real synergy at the community level?’” he said. “It serves the larger charitable purpose of the foundation, but it also gives us a continuum of support at the national level with our best-in-class programs.”