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Connecting with Partners: VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS


Connecting with Partners: VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS


Helping Our Nation’s Military and Veteran Communities Get the Support They Deserve

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For an inside look at the growing roster of 2020 Census partners, we asked nonprofit veterans service organization the Veterans of Foreign Wars what motivated it to join us to help ensure all veterans are counted in the 2020 Census.

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Here’s our Q&A with VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz.

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“For the VFW, an accurate census could mean an increase in local programs, increased access to public health care initiatives, better education and homeless programs … the opportunities are endless.”

— William "Doc" Schmitz, National Commander, VFW

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Organization Name:  VFW: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

Headquarters Location:  Kansas City, Mo.

Organizational Mission:  To foster camaraderie among United States veterans of overseas conflicts. To serve our veterans, the military and our communities. To advocate on behalf of all veterans.

Census Bureau Partner Since: 2019

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Tell us about VFW and the members you serve.

Founded in 1899, the congressionally chartered VFW is comprised entirely of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces, with more than 1.6 million VFW and Auxiliary members in over 6,000 posts worldwide.

Today’s VFW services, advocates and fosters camaraderie for all veterans, service members, their families and our community.

The VFW harnesses its recognized authority, experience and resources to deliver comprehensive financial, educational, health and well-being programs and services at every stage of veterans’ military and civilian lives.

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What motivated the organization to collaborate with us?

The results of the census help the federal government allocate billions of dollars in support of programs and services that directly impact our local communities.

For more than 120 years, our members have helped to support and advocate for their local communities, so teaming up with the Census Bureau simply made sense!


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How is VFW planning to support a complete and accurate count of all veterans in the 2020 Census?

We’re an organization of well over 1 million with a network that extends far beyond. We’re leveraging every communication tool and social media resource at our disposal to ensure our network understands why the census is so important—from posting about it on our Facebook and Twitter accounts to including information in our membership newsletters.

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What would an accurate census mean to your members and the community you serve?

Ensuring that our nation’s service members, veterans and their families are represented in their state and local government is imperative.

For the VFW, an accurate census could mean an increase in local programs, increased access to public health care initiatives, better education and homeless programs … the opportunities are endless.

Community service has been a key tenet for the VFW, and today we remain dedicated to ensuring our military and veteran communities receive the support and assistance they’ve justly earned and deserve.

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Does your organization use Census Bureau data? If so, how?

The VFW currently has over 2,000 service officers accredited with the VA (Veterans Administration) to assist veterans with their claims and appeals, and we rely on census data to ensure we’re prepared to provide assistance in communities with the highest demand.

From assisting service members and veterans with these VA disability compensation and pension benefits to identifying and developing health and education program expansions, the vital data collected by the Census Bureau supports our efforts to identify and assist military and veteran communities.

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What advice or suggestions would you give to other organizations that want to support the 2020 Census?

Get moving and help get the word out!

If we work together to help educate others about the importance of the census and ensuring its accuracy, we’re able to take our support of our local communities one step further. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

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Shira Cavanaugh is the National Partnership Program's communications manager at the Census Bureau.


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This story was posted in: Population

Tags: Population
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