Military Family Research Institute announces collaborations with national organizations to support military, veteran communities

April 23, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –  The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University on Thursday (April 23) announced new collaborations with two national organizations that are working to improve resources for military and veteran communities.

MFRI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Points of Light’s Military Initiatives Team as well as Easter Seals Dixon Center for Military and Veteran Services, which focus on creating stronger supports for military, veterans and their families throughout the nation.

“We are honored to be associated with these organizations, both of which have outstanding reputations for their work in the military-veteran communities,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI. “Through these collaborations, we are taking our own community mobilization efforts to a new level, while providing evidence-informed information to Points of Light and Easter Seals.”

Points of Light’s Military Initiatives Team creates and implements programs that engage and support service members, veterans, their families and families of the fallen. One such initiative - The Community Blueprint - is the call to action for organizations to collaborate and share tools and best practices to provide a framework for communities to produce positive, measurable outcomes for veterans, military members and their families. The purpose of the MFRI/Points of Light MOU is to partner to increase local community and dialogue that focuses on behavioral health challenges for military members, veterans and their families.

“We are excited about our growing partnership with MFRI at Purdue University,” said Janaia DeShields, vice president of Points of Light’s Veterans and Military Programs. “The organization’s research capabilities, veterans network, and progressive thinking, supports POL’s Military Initiatives with developing programs and equipping our partners with the resources needed to better serve the military and veteran community.”

In particular, MFRI and Points of Light will work together to:

* increase distribution of the How to Help series, a series that resulted from a collaboration among MFRI, the Department of Defense and Department of Agriculture, and the National Military Family Association;

* implement community stand downs for homeless and at-risk veterans;

* collaborate on work for the Community Blueprint project;

* work together to create metrics that best evaluate “military- and veteran-friendly” communities; and

* complete surveys to evaluate such communities, and issue an associated report on evaluations results.

Easter Seals Dixon Center for Military and Veteran Services provides leadership and guidance for military and veteran families at 73 affiliates and 550 service sites across the country. The organization guides and develops local systems to engage veterans and military families that need support in the areas of employment, education and training, and health and wellness. As it delivers direct services through collaboration with its affiliate networks, Easter Seals Dixon Center collaborates with local service providers to identify and close gaps in service.

As a result of the MOU, MFRI and the Easter Seals Dixon Center will work together to form a strategy that includes, but is not limited to:

* knowledge and resource sharing that could include veterans support services;

* pursuit of opportunities to co-create and implement online trainings and informal presentations;

* exploration of pilot evaluation programs that include Easter Seals affiliate programs, services and possibly their community-based partners;

* working jointly with other college, university, and nonprofit stakeholders to advance the organizations’ shared principles and goals.

“MFRI has great respect for Points of Light, Easter Seals, and the leadership both organizations provide in the military and veteran communities,” MacDermid Wadsworth said. “We are excited to see what our collaborations will produce as we continue our efforts to strengthen communities and resources for those who serve.” 

Contact: Beth Johnson, director of external Relations, MFRI, 703-92707429, bethjohnson@purdue.edu 

Source: Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, 765-494-3403, shelley@purdue.edu 

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