[size=40]SUPPORT AMERICA'S HEROES[/size][/size]
No veteran should be denied the benefits and care they earned. It’s that simple. And you can help fix that.
This Veterans Day, let’s do more than thank veterans for their service. Let’s fight for them.
Make a gift to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the premier veterans advocacy and support organization, to ensure veterans have the support and opportunities they deserve.
If you start a monthly gift of $11 or make a gift of $125 or more before midnight on Veterans Day, we’ll even send you a free IAVA drawstring bag as a token of your support!!
Fill in the form below to make your tax-deductible Veterans Day Drive donation today and invest in America’s heroes.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), is a nonprofit 501c3 veterans organization founded by Paul Rieckhoff , an American writer, social entrepreneur, advocate, activist and veteran of the United States Army and the Iraq War. He served as an Army First Lieutenant and infantry rifle platoon leader in Iraq from 2003 through 2004. Rieckhoff was released from the Army National Guard in 2007.
- 1Founding and purpose
- 2.1Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 116th Congress
- 2.2Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 115th Congress
- 2.3Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 114th Congress
- 2.4Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 113th Congress
- 2.5Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 112th Congress
- 2.6Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 111th Congress
- 2.7Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 110th Congress
Founding and purpose[edit ]IAVA was founded in 2004 by Iraq War veteran Paul Rieckhoff to provide resources to and community for post-9/11 veterans. The organization is headquartered in New York City and maintains a policy office in Washington, DC . IAVA's mission is to unite, empower and connect post-9/11 veterans through education, advocacy, and community. Its programs include non-partisan advocacy on Capitol Hill, data-driven research on post-9/11 veteran issues, veterans transition assistance through its Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), and community building through its VetTogether and online community events.
In 2012 Stars and Stripes reported that "IAVA representatives are frequent cable news guests and regulars at hearings on Capitol Hill, where few if any veterans initiatives are passed without their blessing." The Washington Post has stated that "With its ability to talk intimately about both the horror of combat and the difficulty of coming home...[IAVA]...has emerged as a key player on veterans issues on the Hill." In regards to IAVA's CEO Paul Rieckhoff, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has been quoted as saying, "He's relentless. When [Paul Rieckhoff] brings a new issue to me, I know that's what I should be fighting for."
In early 2019, Paul Rieckhoff stepped down as CEO and transitioned to the Board. His COO, Jeremy Butler, a Navy veteran, was elevated to the position. Jeremy continues to press on with an ambitious agenda, in the characteristic style of IAVA.
According to IAVA, the organization has over 425,000 members. IAVA membership is free and is available to "all veterans, families, and civilian allies."
Advocacy[edit ]IAVA has been involved in, and at times led, the passage of a number of pieces of legislation since its establishment. The organization publishes an annual policy agenda that focuses on recommendations for Congress, the Executive Branch, Private Sector, State Nonprofits and other stakeholders.
The IAVA Policy Agenda lists various veterans issues that the organization is engaged in with its "Big Six" priorities:
[list="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 14px; margin-top: 0.3em; margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 3.2em; padding-right: 0px; padding-left: 0px; list-style-image: none;"]
[*]Combat Suicide Among Troops and Veterans
[*]Reform the VA for Today's Veterans
[*]Initiate Support for Injuries from Burn Pits
[*]Defend Veteran and Military Education Benefits
[*]Fully Recognize and Improve Services for Women Veterans
[*]Establish Support for Veterans Who Want to Utilize Medical Cannabis
Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 116th Congress[edit ]
- 9/11 First Responders (2019): IAVA joined again with 9/11 First Responders to pass the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (S. 546/H.R. 1327). Signed into law on July 29, 2019 (Public Law No: 116-34).
- Combating Veteran Suicide (2019): IAVA helped develop and introduce the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act (S. 785), to expand efforts aimed at ending veteran suicide.
- Burn Pits Accountability Act (2019): In 2019, IAVA continued its campaign to raise awareness of military exposure to burn pits and other airborne toxins while deployed with the reintroduction of the Burn Pits Accountability Act (H.R. 5671 / S. 3181).
- She Who Borne The Battle: In early 2019, IAVA continued its campaign to better recognize the service of women veterans and fill gaps in care for them at the VA. The centerpiece of the campaign is the Deborah Sampson Act (S. 514), revised from the 11th Congress and re-introduced. IAVA also worked to develop the Honoring All Veterans Act (H.R. 3010) to establish a gender neutral motto for the VA.
See a comprehensive listing of IAVA’s supported legislation and legislative victories for the 116th Congress.
Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 115th Congress[edit ]
- She Who Borne The Battle (2017): IAVA launched this campaign to better recognize the service of women veterans and fill gaps in care for them at the VA. The centerpiece of the campaign was the Deborah Sampson Act (S. 681/H.R. 2452).
- Burn Pits Accountability Act (2018): IAVA launched a campaign to raise awareness of military exposure to burn pits and other airborne toxins while deployed. The centerpiece of the campaign was the Burn Pits Accountability Act (H.R. 5671 / S. 3181) to improve Department of Defense accountability and VA research.
- Defend the GI Bill (2017-18): In 2017, IAVA was successful in advocating for the passage into law of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act (S. 1598/H.R. 3218) which expanded benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Signed into law on August 16, 2017 (Public Law No: 115-48). IAVA spent much of the year successfully turning back an attempt to pay for the new legislation through the establishment of a $2,400 fee levied on new servicemembers. IAVA launched a campaign to turn back a 2018 decision by the Department of Defense to limit the ability to transfer unused portions of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to family members to those servicemembers with less than 16 years of service. A petition with more than 50,000 signatures was sent to then-Defense Secretary James Mattis.
See a comprehensive listing of IAVA’s supported legislation and legislative victories for the 115th Congress.
Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 114th Congress[edit ]
- Defend The GI Bill (2016): In 2016, the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees introduced veterans omnibus bills that include significant cuts to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Through advocacy on Capitol Hill, in the media, and grassroots efforts by its members, IAVA has been successful in holding off passage of that legislation into law.
- Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (2016): IAVA successfully advocated for legislation (S. 2487 /H.R. 2915) that requires the VA to include metrics on women veterans in evaluation of mental health and suicide prevention programs, among other provisions. The bill was signed into law on June 12, 2016.
- James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act (2015): IAVA joined forces with the Feal Good Foundation and 9/11 first responders and survivors to secure a fully funded 75-year extension of the World Trade Center Health Program Fund and five-year, $4.6 billion Victim Compensation Fund extension, which helps provide care to 9/11 first responders.
- Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act (2015): IAVA developed and led the campaign to pass the Clay Hunt SAV Act and ensured that it was one of the first pieces of legislation passed by the 114th Congress. It was signed into law by the President on February 12, 2015. The SAV Act expands access to mental health care for military and veterans; strengthens oversight of military mental health care programs, among other provisions.
Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 113th Congress[edit ]
- Ending the VA Backlog (2013): IAVA advocated to end the backlog of veterans' disability claims at the VA. With the help of allied organizations, IAVA prompted the VA to implement reforms to its claims processing system. These efforts resulted in the number of veterans waiting over 125 days to receive compensation for service-connected disabilities to decrease by over 60 percent.
- Combating Military Sexual Assault (2013): IAVA has been an advocate for reforms to the military justice system that protect victims of military sexual assaults and prevent future assaults. In 2013, IAVA successfully advocated to include thirteen amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA) that improve victims' rights, strengthen prevention efforts, and protect whistleblowers within the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. The organization has continued with this advocacy in the current 114th Congress.
Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 112th Congress[edit ]
- VOW to Hire Heroes Act (2011): IAVA successfully advocated to pass this law, which addresses the career challenges veterans face in transitioning from combat to career. The legislation requires separating service members to take the Transition Assistance Program that provides job search resources like resume and career counseling. This law also establishes tax credits of up to $9,600 for every veteran hired and begins the work of translating military skills and training into their civilian equivalents.
Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 111th Congress[edit ]
- New GI Bill 2.0 (2010): In 2010, IAVA worked to pass the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act, also known as the New GI Bill 2.0. The legislation expanded the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include veterans studying at vocational schools, granted National Guardsmen and Reservists responding to national disasters full benefits, and simplified the Yellow Ribbon Program. These new provisions benefitted almost 400,000 veterans in their first year.
- Mandatory Mental Health Screening (2009): IAVA successfully advocated to pass this bill which mandates that every returning service member is screened for mental health injuries, helping remove the stigma of seeking help and catching mental health injuries early.
Major legislative initiatives and accomplishments in the 110th Congress[edit ]
- Post-9/11 "New" GI Bill (2008): IAVA played the lead role in passing the Post-9/11 GI Bill , considered by many to be the most important veterans' benefit for the generation of post-9/11 veterans. This landmark legislation has sent more than one million veterans to college.
- Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Bill (2007): This legislation has worked to address the veteran and service member suicide epidemic. It helped establish the Veterans' Crisis Line that has served more than half a million veterans in crisis, instituted better suicide prevention training for VA staff, and launched a campaign to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health care.
Research[edit ]IAVA regularly publishes data-driven research reports to educate on the issues pertaining to post-9/11 veterans. The purpose of these reports is to drive the development of solutions to benefit veterans and their families. These reports include:
- IAVA 2018 Annual Member Survey
- IAVA 2015 Annual Member Survey
- IAVA 2014 Annual Member Survey
- IAVA 2013 Annual Member Survey
- Unsung Heroes: Military Families After 10 Years of War
- New York's Newest Veterans: Key Findings and Policy Implications of the RAND Corporation's Needs Assessment of New York State [url=http://media.iava.org/IAVA NYS Health - New York's Newest Veterans.pdf]Veterans[/url]
- Red Tape: Veterans Fight New Battles for Care and [url=http://media.iava.org/IAVA Redtape Report_2010.pdf]Benefits[/url]
- Women Warriors: Supporting She 'Who Has Borne the Battle
- Careers After Combat: Employment and Education Challenges for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans
- Coming Home: The Housing Crisis and Homelessness Threaten New [url=http://media.iava.org/IAVA_coming_home_2009 The Housing Crisis and Homelessness Threaten New Veterans.pdf]Veterans[/url]
- Invisible Wounds: Psychological and Neurological Injuries Confront a New Generation of Veterans