March 6, 2014

Elizabeth Dole Foundation Announces 2014 Caregiver Fellows

Elizabeth Dole Foundation Announces 2014 Caregiver Fellows
caring for military families Elizabeth dole foundation

National program for military and veteran caregivers now includes fellows in 45 states, as Foundation expands to a 50-state goal

Washington, D.C. Caring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced its new class of military and veteran caregivers selected for the 2014 Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellows program. The Foundation also revealed an expanded program, seeking to engage caregivers from all 50 states. These spouses, parents, and other loved ones actively caring for wounded warriors join the Foundation’s 2013 inaugural fellows class in providing military and veteran caregivers a national voice. Fellows play a lead role in raising awareness in their home states and communities and serve as advisors to the Foundation. The program still seeks caregiver applicants from the following five states: Alaska, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State. Please find a full list of fellows below.

According to the RAND Corporation, more than one million individuals are estimated to be providing voluntary care to the wounded service members and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Elizabeth Dole Fellows represent a national cross-section of this largely overlooked group, comprised of wives, husbands, siblings, parents, and friends of wounded warriors—all with unique stories, diverse backgrounds, and serving at different stages in their lives.

Becoming a military or veteran caregiver is complicated, consuming, and emotionally and physically debilitating with no advance warning, no preparation, and often nowhere to turn for help. Caregivers are tending to multiple injuries and illnesses—a distinction of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—some of which are severe or require substantial or unique assistance. In addition, caregivers are desperately struggling to negotiate the labyrinth of family finances and legal matters, all while managing the daily medical and emotional needs of their injured veterans. Many are also raising children. They are an invisible American workforce with little to no systemic support who are saving the nation hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare costs.

“The love and commitment that military and veteran caregivers demonstrate every day are deeply inspiring, and I am humbled that the Fellows are extending themselves even further for the benefit of fellow caregivers across the nation,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole. “The personal experiences and perspectives of our Fellows are invaluable in guiding our efforts across America to increase awareness and support for these hidden heroes.”

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation will launch a national coalition spanning the public, private, nonprofit, and faith communities to support military and veteran caregivers in April 2014, part of a Foundation-sponsored month honoring military caregivers. The findings of a major Foundation-commissioned study by the RAND Corporation will also be announced, providing more detail about the numbers of individuals serving as military and veteran caregivers, as well as the caregivers’ needs, the resources available to them, and where our nation can be doing more to provide better support. The study, which will be released April 1, is the first comprehensive, nationwide evidence-based needs assessment of military and veteran caregivers.

For interview requests, please contact Daniel Gregory, 202-414-0785, dgregory@susandavis.com.

About The Elizabeth Dole Foundation

The mission of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation is to uplift American military and veteran caregivers by strengthening the services afforded to them through innovation, evidence-based research, and collaboration. Read more about the Foundation headquartered in Washington, DC at www.elizabethdolefoundation.org.