Its methods: The Navy SEAL Foundation emulates the community it serves: it’s quiet, stealthy, and nimble, able to quickly react to the needs of the NSW force and their families, whenever and wherever the needs arise. “Because we’re a small organization, we can act without having to go through many layers of decision makers,” says Robin King, the foundation’s CEO. “When a member of the NSW community needs something, we figure out what the solution requires. Then we ask if it falls within our mission and if we have the expertise to carry it out. If the answers are yes, we do it.”
The organization offers a range of services, including tuition assistance and scholarships for service members and their dependents. Families also turn to the organization in times of tragedy: when a service member is injured or killed, the Navy SEAL Foundation coordinates travel arrangements or memorial services, provides counseling, and even helps cover mortgage payments or home maintenance expenses. Additionally, the foundation offers camps and other programs to build resiliency for children and spouses of active-duty service members, as well as bereavement camps for children who have lost a parent. Families can also participate in gatherings or retreats before and after a service member’s deployment, to prepare for the journey ahead and to reconnect when he or she returns.
The Navy SEAL Foundation takes care to avoid duplicating programs offered by other organizations. And, because its staff and board are mostly composed of former SEALs or individuals with other connections to the NSW community, its programs are closely tied to real needs. “We’re out there listening, and we revise our programs to make sure they’re always relevant,” King says. “We’re not going to waste the resources hat have been invested in us.”
Its impact: In 2014, the Navy SEAL Foundation awarded more than 230 scholarships, worth about $1.1 million, to service members and their families. The organization sent about 900 kids to camp and is on track to enroll more than 1,000 in 2015. But the impact of its work goes beyond numbers. “We can see our surviving families grow and strengthen,” says King.
How the Satter Foundation has helped: The foundation provides the Navy SEAL Foundation with general operating support, allowing it the flexibility to meet crucial needs. Muneer also sits on its board. The first fund-raiser he chaired for the organization was in 2012, and it raised $300,000. The following year, the event raised $600,000, and in September 2014, the benefit featured retired General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of US and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and the former commander of the Joint Special Operations Command. The event raised more than $2.6 million, creating a new revenue stream and donor base. The 2015 Chicago event, chaired by Reeve Waud, raised over $2.8 million. Muneer continues to introduce the Navy SEAL Foundation to his network. “His strategic thinking and leadership have been incredibly valuable,” says King. “He has been a great ambassador for this organization, and he’s been very generous with his time.”
What’s next for the Navy SEAL Foundation: The organization is working to expand its offerings for service members transitioning back to civilian life by helping them put the leadership skills they’ve learned in the force to use at home. It is also expanding its children’s camps and support for surviving families beyond the first few years after their loss. Most importantly, the Navy SEAL Foundation wants to continue to support NSW families no matter what challenges they face.