The Mission Continues
Empowers veterans facing the challenge of adjusting to life at home to find new missions. We redeploy veterans in their communities, so that their shared legacy will be one of action and service.
Through two action oriented and innovative programs, The Mission Continues provides reciprocal benefit for the veteran and the local community. The Mission Continues Fellowship Program deploys veterans in their community for six months at a local nonprofit or community organization. The Mission Continues Service Platoon Program deploys teams of veterans to tackle difficult missions in their communities like hunger and homelessness.
303 veterans redeployed
in their communities through The Mission
Continues Fellowship Program increasing
total fellowships awarded to 917 by year's end.
A New Program Launched
Five Service Platoons were mobilized in 2013,
bringing together veterans of all generations
to forge new units and build stronger communities.
More than $7.5 million dollars
raised in 2013 to support our programs
and create a new legacy of service and success
for this generation of veterans.
Here are some stories from a year of continued service in 2013...
We began the year by welcoming 70 veterans to The Mission Continues Fellowship Program as our 2013 Alpha Class. The Fellowship Program empowers veterans to serve part time at a local nonprofit or community organization for six months, while working towards post-fellowship goals of full time employment or higher education. Each fellowship class attends a three day orientation, introducing all new Fellows to The Mission Continues, and for many in attendance, creating a new network of like-minded veterans across the country.
Among those awarded a fellowship in 2013 Alpha Class was United States Marine Corps veteran Kathryn Hernandez. Eager to follow in her brother’s footsteps, Kathryn enlisted in the United States Marine Corps as soon as she turned 18, and during her six years of service, was twice deployed to Iraq. Upon being discharged from the Marine Corps, Kathryn enrolled in school but struggled to find a major that would fulfill her desire to help other veterans.
As a Mission Continues Fellow, she found that opportunity to serve again. Through her fellowship at Veterans Ocean Adventures in Miami, Kathryn helped create opportunities for veterans to experience the healing power of water through sailing, kayaking, fishing and scuba diving.
This fellowship has helped me to find a new passion in life and instill the importance of finishing my education...I feel as if I have become the person that I was meant to be."
United States Marine Corps, 2013 Alpha Class Fellow
The Mission Continues was honored by the The North American Prospect Expo (NAPE) at their annual Charities Luncheon in February 2013 with a donation of $100,000. NAPE is the world’s largest exploration and production expo, providing a marketplace for the buying, selling and trading of oil and gas prospects via exhibit booths. The NAPE Charities Luncheon is held on the Thursday of the expo each year and is a chance for the oil and gas industry to give back.
Mission Continues Fellow Bryan Escobedo took the opportunity to address attendees and share his story of service at war and at home.
Here I stand, five beautiful years after my last war experience, and I am stronger and happier than I have ever been, or ever thought I would be."
Mission Continues Fellow
Mission Continues Fellow Natasha Young was one of fourteen veterans honored by the White House in March 2013 as a Champion of Change. A twelve-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Natasha served two tours of duty in Iraq and one recruiting duty stateside before a medical discharge in October 2011.
She was awarded a fellowship from The Mission Continues in January 2012 to serve at the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center near her hometown of Boston. Determined to ensure other veterans did not experience the same challenges of her transition, Natasha served as a frontline resource for veterans in need of employment, and access to benefits and services.
Nearly a third of all Mission Continues Fellowships to date have been awarded to female veterans. Through their service at war and at home, veterans like Natasha are redefining the image of veterans and forging a new legacy for this generation.
These remarkable women continue serving our country with honor and grace, even long after they return from deployment."
Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls
The Mission Continues rolled into spring by going where no nonprofit has gone before. Bad Robot and Paramount Pictures launched an integrated campaign to support The Mission Continues through the promotion and release of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Supporting veterans in their efforts to tackle the challenges facing our communities is a winning combination for all of us. It provides communities with great leaders, and veterans with renewed purpose."
Director of Star Trek Into Darkness
The partnership included efforts to raise awareness of the strengths and leadership of veterans through a dedicated webpage, media coverage, proceeds from the sale of two effects available for purchase in the Action Movie FX app, a special screening of the film for The Mission Continues that coincided with the Hollywood premier, and the opportunity for four Mission Continues Fellows to visit the set of Star Trek Into Darkness and appear in the film.
A special dedication to post-9/11 veterans at the end of the film expresses thanks “with gratitude for their inspired service abroad and continued leadership at home.”
Bad Robot and Paramount Pictures also offered fans the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Director J.J. Abrams and the cast of the film through an online charity auction with proceeds benefiting The Mission Continues.
The Mission Continues and Paramount first collaborated through co-commissioned research on the public perception of The Mission Continues. The outcome of the research has since allowed us to strengthen our brand and deepen our impact with veterans, donors and supporters.
The events of September 11, 2001 were the defining moment for this generation of veterans, and in May, The Mission Continues returned to New York City for a weekend of service and remembrance. The 70 veterans of Bravo Class, representing 24 states and 67 unique volunteer host organizations, convened for their fellowship orientation.
Following an afternoon of service at The League School in Brooklyn, Bravo Class Fellows traveled to the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan. Then, standing at the position of attention in front of the reflecting pool where the north tower once stood, Bravo Class Fellows took a new oath to uphold the values of their military service through leadership in their communities.
The veterans of The Mission Continues are heroes to our kids. Like our students, many of these veterans struggle with and overcome emotional and health issues each day. These generous veterans are role models of what our students can achieve with the right network of support."
Hannah Actenberg Kinn
CEO of The League Education & Treatment Center.
We are committed to changing the national conversation about veterans. To achieve this, we engage local and national media outlets to share positive stories of veterans returning home and succeeding in their communities.
In addition to TIME, The Mission Continues was featured by the following media outlets in 2013: The Los Angeles Times, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CBS, The Daily Beast, Stars & Stripes, San Diego Union Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, and The Huffington Post.
We welcomed our 2013 Charlie Class to The Mission Continues Fellowship Program in July with a three day orientation in St. Louis.
Since the founding of The Mission Continues in 2007, we have been proud to call St. Louis our home. Thanks to the support of area companies, foundations and community-builders like Maxine Clark and Bob Fox, St. Louis has continued to grow as a national leader in its support for returning veterans. Maxine and an inspiring group of more than 250 community volunteers joined us for the Orientation Service Project at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, pitching in to repaint and landscape.
Maxine and Bob also decided to contribute to the Fund-a-Fellowship initiative. Their investment helped Charlie Class Fellow Y'Londa Mitchell, an Army veteran who returned home to St. Louis, to serve with the Veterans Advocacy Project at Catholic Charities.
Seven Army officers ran a 500-mile, non-stop relay from Duke University in North Carolina to the World Trade Center in New York City. Dubbed “The Freedom 500,” the run raised more than $50,000 for The Mission Continues.
We all met as wide-eyed Cadets in Duke University’s Blue Devil ROTC Battalion. Our friendship began while training in North Carolina’s pine forests and dragging each other to countless early-morning PT sessions. After commissioning as Lieutenants, we were scattered around the globe according to the Army’s needs and willingly tossed — each with his very own, specially ordered trajectory — into situations that have challenged, forged, and inspired us."
The relay team included Seth Brown, Phil Cotter, Kase Diehl, Jon Harless, Matt Jones, Michael Meehan, and Pat Thompson, with Bryce Ellis and Fred Thompson driving support vehicles. Though the seven runners have stayed in contact since their days at college, the run was the first reunion for the group since departing Duke University as newly commissioned officers.
Despite our varied Army experiences, we’re united by the countless peers, subordinates, leaders, families and friends we’ve seen touched by war. The strength of these Soldiers and their families affected keeps us honest, humbled, and focused. We’ve been searching for an outlet for our collective purpose and energy that might, in some way, faithfully reflect the sacrifice they have made in our nation’s name."
1st Lt. Phil Cotter
United States Army
A New Way to Support Our Work
The Mission Continues launched its first large cause marketing partnership with Scentsy Fragrance in September 2013. Scentsy Fragrance is a direct selling company and international leader in fragrance, offering a variety of home and personal fragrance products. Through February 2014, Scentsy offered a charitable cause warmer, Service and Sacrifice (pictured here), and donated $8 from the sale of every warmer to The Mission Continues. The campaign raised $316,088.
Washington University Measures Our Impact
The Mission Continues and The Center for Social Development at Washington University also released a multi-year study examining the personal, professional, and societal impacts experienced by veterans after completing The Mission Continues Fellowship Program.
Key findings include:
Fellows reported that the program helped them improve their job performance (90%), chances of getting a promotion (86%) and chances of finding a job (90%)
Nearly half (45%) of study participants reported that the fellowship improved their relationships or communication with their families.
Nearly all participants (95%) stated that The Mission Continues Fellowship Program allowed them to make a contribution to their communities and 78% reported having a stronger attachment to their communities.
The results show that volunteering with The Mission Continues can help vets reengage in their communities and can increase their well-being. Many veterans could benefit from this program, because The Mission Continues provides a structured opportunity for meaningful engagement in activities valued by the community."
co-author and Faculty Associate, Center for Social Development, Washington University
We welcomed our final class of Mission Continues Fellows of 2013 at our Delta Class Orientation, resulting in a total of 303 fellowships awarded to post-9/11 veterans for the year. The 2013 Delta Class mobilized in Houston, Texas for their orientation and completed a renovation of Cristo Rey Jesuit School. In a single afternoon, they removed a large auditorium stage, planted multiple gardens, repainted athletic facilities, and organized a cafeteria full of furniture that had been donated to the school over many years.
Two of the Fellows in attendance were Jerrod Howe and Kedrick Winfield, two veterans from distinctly different backgrounds, but united by a common spirit of service.
Serving in the military is a tradition in Jerrod Howe’s family. Inspired by his family’s service, Jerrod attended the United States Naval Academy and upon graduation, earned his commission as a Surface Warfare Officer. During his nine year career in the U.S. Navy, Jerrod deployed twice to the Northern Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and later to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Jerrod was honorably discharged in 2008 and after four years spent bouncing between jobs, he found The Mission Continues. Combining his passion for filmmaking and military service, Jerrod is serving his fellowship at The Pritzker Military Library in Chicago, where he interviews and films veterans as they share their stories of service and sacrifice.
My transition is an ongoing process. In working with the Oral History Department I am giving back to the service community and preserving the stories and experiences of distinguished veterans."
United States Marine Corps veteran Kedrick Winfield was awarded a Mission Continues Fellowship to volunteer at Fifth Ward Enrichment Program, an organization that empowers young men in some of Houston’s most economically depressed neighborhoods to become responsible and productive community members. Kedrick was drawn to the Fifth Ward due to its similarity to a program he was involved with while growing up in North Carolina.
Through his fellowship, Kedrick is working one-on-one with the young men in the program as a mentor, tutor, and role model.
It is my belief that when these young men see volunteer service in action, they will be inspired to develop a passion for mentorship and a desire to contribute to the communities around them, no matter where they go in life."
4th Annual Veterans Day Gala
We celebrated our 4th Annual Veterans Day Gala in St. Louis on November 3, 2013, recognizing the hard work of veterans, volunteers, and supporters in communities across the country. Guest of Honor Jon Stewart, host and executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was recognized for his active role in supporting veterans including creating a Professional Immersion Program for veterans at The Daily Show.
As Presenting Sponsor of the Gala, Target helped us take the event to a whole new level. The Gala raised more than $600,000—nearly twice the prior year. The Gala support is also part of a broader partnership between Target and The Mission Continues. Since 2011, Target has contributed close to $800,000 to The Mission Continues, including support for Fellows serving in education organizations and for service projects bringing veterans and civilians together.
These veterans are able to tackle, and be efficient, competent, kind, and affective in a manner that rejuvenates your entire faith that our best days are ahead of us."
1st Platoon D.C. Joins the First Family in Day of Service
The Mission Continues 1st Platoon D.C. joined President Barack Obama and the First Family for their annual day of service marking the Thanksgiving holiday. The First Family and volunteers from 1st Platoon D.C. packed and handed out food bags in preparation for Thanksgiving at the Capital Area Food Bank.
Led by United States Navy veteran Vu Nguyen, The Mission Continues 1st Platoon D.C. is on a mission to combat hunger the D.C. area. Vu was awarded a Mission Continues Fellowship in 2012 following four years of service in the Navy. He used his fellowship to not only help disabled veterans find meaningful employment, but to use it as a foundation to complete his bachelor’s degree and launch his own small business.
Recognizing his ability to lead and inspire others, Vu was selected by The Mission Continues as one of the first five Fellow Alumni to lead a Service Platoon in October 2013. In addition to the day of service with the President and First Family, he has lead the platoon on days of service laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, preparing more than 5,000 meals for families in need at DC Central Kitchen, and helping harvest fresh fruits and vegetables from Bread for the City.
Our mission over the past six years has been to empower veterans to serve at home, and change the national conversation about veterans so that this generation is known for a positive legacy of service and personal success. We are proud of our history and impact on veterans and communities across the country. We also recognize that more than one million service men and women are transitioning to civilian life over the next four years. Our mission is just beginning, and as we continue our work, we are excited to do so with a new brand.
In 2013, The Mission Continues invested in a new program—Service Platoons—and crafted a strategic plan to expand Service Platoons and Fellowships to thousands more veterans over the next three years. In preparation for that growth, the revenue numbers below reflect funding raised for future years, as well as for 2013. The expenses are for 2013.
|Change in Net Assets||$1,562,410|
|Ending New Assets||$6,508,496|