The Power of Partnership; A Philanthropic Partnership

PaperChain to support national military charity Fisher House Foundation

By Courtney Rae Kasper, Scotsman Media Group, Syracuse, New York, 2013 Rising Star
Imagine a loved one being sent to combat for freedom fighting efforts, away from family and not knowing if or when they will return home. Now imagine that this same loved one is heroically wounded in combat, and his or her only wish is to have family by their bedside during the healing process. Oftentimes, more funding is needed beyond that typically provided by the military to make this possible.
Take the case of Navy Lt. Brad Snyder of Florida, as profiled in the latest edition of The Patriot magazine (Volume 4, Issue 2 2013). Snyder was embedded with an assault unit after surviving an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan in September 2011. The tragic accident left Snyder blind, and he was brought back stateside to recover in a facility away from home. 
But thanks to the national military charity Fisher House Foundation, Snyder’s family was able to stay in a home-away-from-home, free of charge, near the medical facility where he was being treated. The wounded soldier’s mother, brother and sister were able to comfort and support him during this drastic time of need, including helping him learn Braille. Snyder’s steady road to recovery lead him to regain his athletic abilities and bring home multiple gold medals from the 2012 Warrior Games and Paralympics Games.
The Snyder family is just one of the 180,000 military families that the Fisher House Foundation has aided in its 20-plus years of existence. And PaperChain is proud to announce Fisher House as the organization’s new charity partner. 
According to the Association of Free Community Papers’ Executive Director Loren Colburn, he discovered the highly rated Fisher House through researching CharityWatch (an online charity rating guide distributed by the American Institute of Philanthropy) and quickly knew it would be a lasting match for PaperChain members. “We all feel an obligation to do those things in the community we serve and this is one that we thought people would quickly embrace because of the nature of it. Everyone wants to do what they can to help veterans,” Colburn said. 
Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, Fisher House has been providing a safe haven for wounded warriors and their families since 1991. Fisher House Foundation is comprised of a network of 62 comfort homes on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers across the country and abroad. (At present, there are plans to build more than 15 new homes across the country during the next three years.) The 5,000- to 16,500-square-foot homes boast as many as 21 suites with private bedrooms and baths, and shared kitchen, laundry, dining and living spaces that are donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs by Fisher House.
It is estimated that the program has saved military families $200 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation, and just in 2012, it served a daily lodging capacity of 735 for an average 10-day length of stay. This year the non-profit marked a milestone with the five millionth lodging night for families of service men and women. 
Fisher House also operates the Hero Miles Program, which uses donated frequent flyer miles to transport family members to the bedside of injured veterans; the Hotels for Heroes Program, which provides free lodging for family members through donated hotel points; and a grant program that supports scholarship funds as well as additional military charities.
Through this philanthropic partnership, PaperChain members will donate available space to run Fisher House advertisements and help the charity and industry gain recognition, while impacting the lives of veterans and their families. “The idea was to find an organization that we can move the needle for and see an immediate result,” Colburn said. “For instance, with two of the programs Fisher House has in place, if we started an ad campaign nationwide and all of sudden there was a high influx of hotel points, then Fisher House would be able to say that it came from our partnership with the free community papers.”  
With PaperChain being the largest network of newspaper associations and member publications in the nation, Cindy Campbell, vice president for Community Relations and Media Affairs, said that Fisher House is honored by the opportunity and is hopeful that the partnership will further expose the charity through its free paper publications. “For us, the most important part of the partnership is the chance to get our voice out there,” Campbell said. “We are very grateful to have this opportunity, and we hope that the local papers and their patrons will see the ads, go to our website and donate or volunteer – all very important to helping the mission.”
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The Young family takes time away from the hospital to return to the kitchen inside the Tampa Fisher House to feed their young daughter. 
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini |
Each Fisher House has a manager, but they couldn’t do everything they do without the help of their volunteers who give so generously of their time.  
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini |
One couple enjoys the peace and quiet of the Tampa Fisher House living room. 
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini | 
The spacious dining room inside the Fisher House provides plenty of room to not only eat, but to also gather to play games. 
Photo Credit: Craig Orsini |