Purdue Military Family Research Institute receives $3.5M grant from Lilly Endowment

April 27, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A two-year, $3.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will help support the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University as it continues its work to improve the lives of members of the military, veterans and their families.

Christine M. Ladisch, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University, announced the grant during a gala held Saturday (April 25) in Indianapolis. The event marked two milestones: the 15th anniversary of MFRI and the 20th anniversary for its parent organization, Purdue’s Center for Families. Both programs are part of the university’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

MFRI works to expand opportunities for military members, veterans and their families by providing research to help mental health providers, public policymakers, employers and leaders in higher education better understand the issues affecting the military community. This includes helping civilian leaders see the value of bringing military and veteran families into community leadership roles.

"Lilly Endowment's generosity comes at a time when this institute's work is critical to the landscape surrounding military members, veterans and their families,” said Ladisch. "MFRI is a nationally respected thought leader that provides education and guidance to congressional leaders, White House officials and other policymakers. It is known as a collaborative organization that is skilled at bringing together high-level agencies in pursuit of a common goal. We are grateful that Lilly Endowment has chosen to continue its support of this organization.”

The Endowment has supported MFRI since 2007 with grants that now total $27 million.

More than 2 million military service members have been deployed since Sept. 11, 2001, and according to the U.S. Census, 19.6 million veterans live in the United States.

"Millions of military families are transitioning to civilian life as the nation’s armed forces draw down the number of troops in active duty. These families are tremendous resources for our communities,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of both the MFRI and the Center for Families. "Since the drawdown began three years ago, more than 62,000 soldiers have left the U.S. Army alone. These leaders and their families deserve to receive respect, opportunities and services – as well as support where needed. Fortunately, many communities are eager to help.”

Many of MFRI's signature programs are designed to provide communities with the education that they need to meet military and veteran families’ needs. These include:

* Star Behavioral Health Providers, a training, referral and dissemination program that trains civilian mental health-care providers in military culture and clinical practices, while connecting service members and their families to trained mental health providers. Launched in Indiana, the program is now active in seven states, including California and New York.

* "How to Help Military and Veteran Families," a series of publications that offer valuable information to various audiences to help them assist and support members of the military, veterans and their families. The series is the result of a joint effort between the U.S. departments of Defense and Agriculture, in collaboration with the MFRI and the National Military Family Association.

* Education and employment initiatives that have awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to Indiana higher education institutions and student veterans' organizations; provided outreach to support programs that help veterans succeed on campuses; worked to change policies that limit academic credit for military training; and collaborated with employers and veteran job seekers to close gaps between them.

* Research studies, including "Family Journeys" and "Children and Multiple Deployments," which examine the effects of military service on families.

* Grants of up to $2,500 to community organizations to build partnerships with military units that will strengthen support for military families.

MFRI leaders have testified before Congress as subject matter experts, and MacDermid Wadsworth previously served on the Defense Health Board's Psychological Health External Advisory Committee and the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Returning Veterans.

“Purdue is proud of MFRI’s accomplishments during its first 15 years,” Ladisch said. “We are excited to see what the next 15 years will bring.”

About the Military Family Research Institute

The Military Family Research Institute was founded in 2000 with funding from the Department of Defense. It is the leading university-based organization in the nation that conducts research about, with and for military families. MFRI is part of the Center for Families in Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family - J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli - through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Co. In keeping with the founders' wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at http://www.lillyendowment.org 

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

Sources: Christine Ladisch, 765 494-8210, ladischc@purdue.edu

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

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