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Saturday, January 6, 2024

Best Organizations for Seniors Donating to Veterans

It’s always the right season to give back to our men and women in uniform and their families. Senior Spirit has found some worthy organizations you can feel proud to support. 

Americans have been fighting and dying for their country ever since there was a United States. Most of us will never have to deal with the pain of losing friends and comrades to enemy fire or suffering a wound during combat. 

We won’t have to be separated from our family, sometimes for several repeated tours of combat, or face the daunting proposition of integrating back into civilian life with a missing leg, arm, or more. Our service members give to their country while knowing they may have to make the ultimate sacrifice. Surely older adults with disposable funds and/or time should take a hard look at giving back to these courageous men and women.

Multiple Organizations Serve Veterans

Stalwart organizations such as the Red Cross and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) remain worthy recipients of your money. But a multitude of newer groups have sprouted to serve very specific needs of our men and women in uniform. 

Tax-Efficient Donating 

Take a moment to consult your tax and/or financial advisor before making your charitable donations. He or she will best be able to help you make a plan for tax-efficient donations.  One or more of the following strategies may enable you to give more and save on taxes: 
  • Donate appreciated securities
  • Combine cash and securities 
  • Create a donor-advised fund
  • Offset alternative minimum taxes
  • Offset capital gains by rebalancing
  • Create a multi-year approach
  • Offset costs of Roth conversions
  • Complement a donor-advised fund with your private foundation, charitable remainder trust or charitable lead trust

One such organization is Homes for our Troops, a nonprofit that has already built hundreds of homes for injured troops and is in the process of constructing dozens more. The homes exceed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance standards, and feature lower counters, roll-in showers, wider hallways and doorways, and much more for veterans in wheelchairs. Interested seniors can even help build the homes. Homes for our Troops continues their support after veterans move in, providing a financial advisor for three years along with a mentoring program. 

Another worthy group is Everyone for Veterans (E4V). Started in 2008 by a dentist who wanted to give back to vets in her own community, E4V helps veterans and their spouses who are experiencing financial hardship by offering comprehensive dental care. Only 8% of those using VA health care qualify for help with dental services, resulting in pain, embarrassment, and the loss of teeth. The group is always looking to expand with the help of dentists willing to offer their services pro bono. 

You might not immediately realize that Puppies Behind Bars is dedicated to having prisoners train labrador retrievers for use as service dogs by injured veterans. (Dogs may also become service dogs for first responders, police department dogs and explosive-detection canines). It’s a win-win-win situation as inmates, the dogs, and veterans benefit. Inmates live with their dog for two years, teaching it more than 90 commands while contributing to society instead of the reverse. 

The group is proud of providing top-notch canines for 25 years. They offer follow-up support for five years to make sure their dogs provide exceptional service and that their owners understand how to integrate the canine into their life and work. Puppies Behind Bars operates in the New York City area. If you live nearby, you may also be able to help out by socializing a dog overnight in your home. 

Picking an Organization

There are literally hundreds of organizations providing help for veterans across the US. Most offer great value and utilize funds wisely. But any time you prepare to donate, it’s only smart to check out the organization. How, you may wonder, do I do that?

Enter Charity Navigator, a trusted resource dedicated to making you an informed and impactful donor. Charity Navigator gives organizations a percentile ranking based on their evaluation. It also provides a complete list of donor resources to educate and inform about topics ranging from giving and taxes to avoiding fraud

Another tried-and-true resource is CharityWatch. An independent watchdog, CharityWatch deep-dives to discover how efficiently each organization uses donations. The group also works to expose nonprofits that abuse the system. It also offers helpful tools to avoid giving to bogus organizations and scammers.

Service members are always on duty around the world to protect the US. There are many ways to give back to them for their years of dedicated service and the sacrifices they make on the battlefield. 


This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice from a qualified financial advisor.