Today, we excitedly continue our investment in increasing inclusion and diversity in the technology sector. We will be providing a combined total of $275,000 in grants to four nonprofits: The COMMIT Foundation, VetsinTech, The Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and The Honor Foundation. These organizations tackle the issue of veteran inclusion from four unique perspectives and have developed innovative programs and interventions that target diverse populations within the veteran community.
With 21.2 million military veterans in the U.S. — and another million who will transition out of the military in the next four years — the experiences, needs, and goals of the veteran community are wide-ranging and important. With varying educational attainment, distinct racial and ethnic backgrounds, increasing gender diversity (women are the fastest-growing segment of the veteran population), and unique needs for enlisted individuals and officers — the veteran community is diverse across myriad dimensions.
While we have funded in an area we call “protecting the protectors” for many years — benefiting local police forces and highway patrol officers, CIA and FBI operatives and their families, as well as veterans — this gift marks a further commitment to enhance the future of this space and a desire to raise its profile nationally.
Through extensive landscape analysis as well as discussions with researchers, experts, and numerous veterans, we have found the veteran community to be incredibly humble, entrepreneurial, and possessing deep leadership experience. Harnessing these skills would benefit numerous spaces beyond the military context. In tandem with these assets, we have found that the veteran community faces a series of challenges such as feelings of isolation, physical disabilities, mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and a lack of resources and networks with which to channel their incredible life experiences and training into productive opportunities. Our overall impact goal is to help veterans, their families, and the companies they work for achieve their full potential.
Investing in the long-term health of this space, we are providing funds specifically for organizational capacity building grants. These critical investment dollars help nonprofits build up their infrastructure and run more effectively and efficiently — which in turn leads to greater and more impactful service provision. We believe that our Veteran Inclusion Grants will address critical needs within this community, spur other funders to provide support, and ultimately help unlock even greater potential for some of our nation’s bravest individuals and deploy that intellectual capital, expertise and leadership in the technology sector.
In giving spirit,
Marc and Laura Andreessen
The COMMIT Foundation creates opportunities for veterans through corporate education programming and has been successful in working with Andreessen Horowitz in the past. We will fund a new position to work with their corporate partners, including their newest partner, Facebook, to improve veteran hiring, success and inclusion as well as share best practices around building a scalable model for corporate education, especially for tech companies.
VetsinTech supports veterans through re-integration services that connect them to the national technology ecosystem. Our funding will allow them to increase their staff in order to scale programming and operational excellence. They utilize a data-driven approach by monitoring veteran success through pre-screening for technical aptitude, and tracking course progress as well as employment obtained upon program completion.
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) — housed at Syracuse University — is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education providing research, analysis and community building focused on veterans and their families. We will provide IVMF with funding to launch an integrated alumni network across the seven programs that they run. IVMF is one of the longest-running and greatest impact-per-dollar organizations getting veterans into entrepreneurship and employment. They have robust programs, networks and systems.
The Honor Foundation creates pathways for Special Forces veterans (e.g. Navy Seals) to transition from the military to private sector careers. We are providing support for building out their online learning technology, data warehousing, visualization and analytical capabilities, as well as funding assessments to measure the effectiveness of their interventions.