Veterans Experience Office Community Catalyst Award announces winners

The Veterans Experience Office is excited to announce the top two winners of the new Community Catalyst Award are The Greater Miami Valley myVeteran Community of Ohio, and Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education (PROVE) from New York.

Nearly 100 applications were submitted by external community collaborators and organizations for the first of its kind VA Veterans Experience Office Community Catalyst Award (VEOCC), which has a $100,000 prize for each of the top two finalists.

Launched in October 2022, the goal was to find and award active, scalable, community engagement solutions that support Veteran communities, referrals for care, those which increases access and trust with VA, and those who can reach the Veterans who are underserved and untethered from the support they need. Together, VA and the community must work together to bridge gaps in services and provide excellence in customer service to our Nation’s Veterans and their families, caregivers and survivors.

illustration of gear with light bulb and dog tags for the community catalyst award“Congratulations to these first two Veterans Experience Office Community Catalyst Awardees,” said VA’s Chief Veterans Experience Officer John Boerstler. “We are excited to continue to work with you and your teams to explore how we might increase enrollment and improve the experience for untethered Veterans, and use these lessons learned to share with all of our Community Veteran Engagement partners through the VetResources Community Network (VRCN).”

Top two finalists

The Greater Miami Valley myVeteran Community

The Greater Miami Valley myVeteran Community, also referred to as a Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB), works to fully understand Veterans’ needs in order to provide world-class support. It began with an in-depth assessment across all of the regions (16 counties) which identified a strong need for better understanding and access to Veteran resources.

The myVeteran Community is built on a strong network including the Dayton VA, Wright Patterson AFB, and a backbone non-profit, SOCHE. it currently provides a multitude of services, including referrals for Veterans to community agencies, convene services of all Veteran serving organizations across the region to coordinate missions and activities, provide education for Veterans, job referral services, and support for Veterans to combat food insecurity. This model of CVEB engagement is scalable to other areas of the country where they hope to make strides in improving access to VA.

Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education (PROVE)

PROVE is a valued resource on nine college campuses serving transitioning service members and student Veterans with social and emotional support and referrals for VA and community care while assisting them in achieving their academic objectives. PROVE strives to ease the transition from military to college and train graduate social work students in military/Veteran cultural humility while developing their social work skills. PROVE has provided services to over 1,000 student Veterans each academic year over the last seven years. Additionally, PROVE has a strong relationship with VA facilities, including multiple VA medical centers, Veteran counseling centers, the Department of Veteran Services, the Mentor-a-Vet Initiative, and the Vets on Campus Initiative. PROVE seeks to continue to grow its mission in New York and to other parts of the country to bring greater access to VA and community care for Veterans and their families.

Both of these organizations are built on a mission to serve Veterans, families, caregivers and survivors at no cost.

The Veteran Experience Office is proud to award both of these organizations with the Community Catalyst Award. We are excited to have these organizations be the first winners of the Community Catalyst Award and want to thank all the dedicated organizations who applied this year. We look forward to partnering further with each of them.

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on the part of VA. Veterans should verify the information with the organization offering.

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