What is the Veterans Center Initiative Grant Program?

The Veterans Center Initiative Grant program is a collaboration between the Student Veterans of America organization and the Home Depot Foundation. Together, they donate money through grants to create welcoming and furnished spaces in colleges for student veterans. They provide financial support for furniture, technology and even moving into larger areas with more room. The Veterans Center Initiative Grant program has built or improved spaces for veterans on over 60 campuses since 2014. Over 30,000 student veterans have been positively impacted by the program.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill 2015

How the Program Works

First, on-campus Student Veterans of America chapter must create and submit a business plan and budget based on the Student Veterans of America’s sample template. This must include the veteran chapter’s objectives, strategies and mission statement. The business plan provides opportunities to demonstrate the group’s commitment to helping student veterans. The chapter’s mission should include current activities and services. The goals and strategies should support the mission and depend on external funding.

It is helpful to explain what difference the chapter makes in the lives of student veterans. This can be illustrated through public events and outreach programs. When it comes to the budget, the chapter must demonstrate their ability to properly manage money. This is best illustrated through submitting a copy of the previous year’s general budget in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. The business plan must clearly show past achievements and how the chapter operates.

Project Outline

Student Veterans of America chapters must also submit an outline that covers the project’s goals, budget and location. It must define how the project goal will be achieved, how the veteran center will be operated and the timeline with start and completion dates. The project outline requires the most time and energy because it contains the project’s impact, budget, timeline and description of operations. The impact part explains how the grant will make a difference to not only veterans, but the university as a whole. It’s helpful to explain what makes student veterans unique compared to traditional students.

Be sure to detail the needs the chapter faces and how the grant will help you meet these needs. The project’s goals should be specific, relevant, attainable and measurable to an established timeline. Be sure to explain how the grant will also benefit other students and college faculty. Many veterans chapters explain what an average day at the new center might look like through explaining how the student veterans might use the space and equipment. When explaining what the chapter will do to optimize their new space, be sure to include idealistic capabilities and capacities.

The final step is to obtain an official letter of support from the school’s administration. This letter must state that the school is aware of the project and that they support it. Applications without the letter of support will not be eligible for a grant. Ideally, the college president will sign, but any senior faculty member can sign the letter. It is best to use high-level administrators like provosts and chancellors. Applications are judged based on the need for the grant, the quality of the application and the creativity and persuasiveness.