Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, transition programs for post-9/11 veterans that leverage military experience, leadership skills, and service orientation have grown rapidly. For example, The Mission Continues Fellowship Program provides veterans stipends to serve as volunteers at nonprofit organizations for a period of six months. The Mission Continues, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, challenges post-9/11 veterans to continue to serve their country and communities after their military service has ended.
As the first program evaluation of this type of nonprofit in the country, the CSD initiative conducted a study involving nearly 500 veterans in more than 400 nonprofit organizations and in 42 states from 2010 through 2012. The project has been mentioned in Congressional Testimony, the development of private and public partnerships, and in strategic marketing and communications about the state of civic service and engagement among this generation of returning veterans.
The aim of this initiative, in collaboration with The Mission Continues, is to assess the perceived personal, social, and family impacts of participating in the organization’s Fellowship Program. Results from studies of the first two cohorts of participants in The Mission Continues show that the program has a substantial impact on participants’ outlook on life, ambitions, and beliefs. Fellows describe the impact of civic service in the military and the Fellowship Program as profound, meaningful, and life changing.