Roy Halstead sends us an update on the generosity story featured in the last L3 newsletter.
“The Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC) is making a national name and they have truly become the national coordination center for all veteran needs as relates to farming. As I just learned, they received their 700th veteran inquiry on Memorial Day (founder Mike O’Gorman was hard at work, as always!)
After an eight-hour meeting and six weeks of at least twice weekly contact with FVC, I can vouch for the fact that the entire team is totally dedicated to their cause of helping veterans become better farmers. I don’t see any signs of ‘make it work,’ all I see is hard work.
Mike and his team are very positive and open to the veteran farmer teacher function. We have established a basic contract (written by FVC) that exceeds my expectations.
The good news is the development of the Farmer-Veteran Good Food Communication Program, a pay-forward fund. It allows farmer veterans working with the FVC to exchange work time donated to the spreading of knowledge about good food and nutrition for materials that can be used on their farm. The idea is based on the almost universal interest among the farming veterans to turn some aspect of their farming career into continued service to their community. The fund specifically targets teaching school-age children the virtues of healthy eating by military veterans, people they will look up to as role models of personal health and valor. A working title for the veteran teacher presentation is ‘Why I eat well.’
The bad news, I guess I could have predicted, is that like all start-up charities, FVC is short on operating capital, especially as mid-year approaches. It appears that many national funders make their grants in the fourth quarter and those from 2011 are running dry.
A recent letter from Mike explains FVC’s need for more funds. He wrote: ‘What we started with… a half dozen veterans this year has grown into a social movement. Our success in growing our project is also a challenge… If you can give to use one more time this year, can you do it now? We particularly need your help between now and the close of our fiscal year, June 30.’
As a result, FVC is operating on a shoestring budget, which is causing some significant personnel constraints and undue stress among good people. My reaction was immediately to contribute 40 percent of my donation specifically for program administrative support. The remaining 60 percent is still being held in the Leadership Legacy Life Foundation to pay for veteran/teacher stipends.”