how we got started
In July of 2014, members of the Boston veterans community gathered at an event launching the results of a survey released by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. As we reflected on our assembly, it became clear that more opportunities to bring everyone together were desperately needed. Six months later, we held our inaugural meeting.
That fall, we began working with Boston’s Office of Veteran Services to host a summit bringing together representatives from various veteran service organizations in Boston. Our ambitious group set goals to assess the field, identifying our strengths and opportunities to fill gaps in services, to encourage greater collaboration, and to build a coalition of organizations working proactively to improve on the services and support available to Boston’s veteran community.
The organizers developed a list of organizations to invite, looking at service providers, fellow veterans organizations, universities and other interested parties. In advance of the kickoff meeting, held in January 2015, the group developed a survey for meeting participants to help identify common ground and interests among the organizations, and to identify the primary focus areas and needs of each organization.
After the kickoff
The Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative has met nearly every other month since our first formal meeting in January 2015. Many participants have remained engaged from the beginning, and we see new faces and organizations coming into the fold each month. The Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative was born not just from a need to encourage and create space for more face-to-face engagement between service providers, but also in response to a series of white papers published nationally outlining the critical importance of coordinated efforts in the veterans space.
Our path forward
Over time, the Collaborative has organized working groups to develop strategies in service of our goals, assembled affinity groups to discuss common areas of challenge and best practices, and developed a survey for local veteran service organizations to form a needs analysis.