By Elisha Harig-Blaine
On Tuesday, October 9, representatives from NLC joined more than 200 supporters from over 55 veteran and military service organizations, nonprofits, businesses and government agencies to celebrate the official launch of the Community Blueprint. The Community Blueprint is a national initiative to support the reintegration of returning military service members, veterans and their families, including the more than one million veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming years.
The Community Blueprint encourages a comprehensive, local support system that addresses the diverse issues and needs impacting returning service members, veterans and their families. The Community Blueprint coordinates focuses in eight impact areas. including housing, education, employment, behavioral health, reintegration, financial and legal, family strength, and volunteerism. With a goal of establishing 200 cities and towns as Community Blueprint communities by 2014, current localities include Huntsville, AL; State of Delaware; Los Angeles, CA; Orange County, CA; San Diego, CA; Denver, CO; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Macon, GA; Valdosta, Ga; State of Indiana; Fayetteville, NC; Dallas, TX; Huntsville, TX; Tyler, TX; Fairfax, VA; Hampton Roads, VA; Seattle, WA.; and Tacoma, WA.
“Civilian transition is one of the greatest challenges facing many service members, veterans and their families when they return to their communities,” said Neil Bush, Chairman of the Points of Light’s Board of Directors. “No one government agency or nonprofit organization has the resources or intellectual capital to provide a lifetime of care and support for all of these heroes, so our coalition of partners knew it was mission critical for us to band together on their behalf.”
To advance the Community Blueprint, ITT Exelis CEO and President, David Melcher, announced the company’s five-year, $5 million investment in the initiative, as well as the new Exelis Action Corps, an employee volunteer program that will add the company’s human resources to the effort. As a result of the company’s investment, the Community Blueprint will introduce new tools and resources and deploy AmeriCorps members. The resources will help local communities and leaders foster greater coordination and collaboration of veterans’ services.
“Points of Light is honored to be leading this new initiative, which will create better collaboration between government agencies and veteran and military service organizations, and effectively engage local communities and leaders in addressing the diverse and complex issues affecting returning service members, veterans and their families,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light.
For more information on the Community Blueprint visit www.the-CommunityBlueprint.org.