You can download a PDF copy of this whitepaper here.
how we got started
In July of 2014, representatives from organizations across the Boston veterans landscape gathered at an event launching the results of a membership 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, community organizers from The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon and IAVA began working with Francisco Urena, then commissioner of Boston’s Office of Veteran Services, and his staff to launch a dynamic summit with Boston veteran service organizations to achieve these goals. Further, this ambitious network aimed to assess the field, to identify opportunities to fill gaps in services, to encourage greater collaboration, and to build a coalition and a plan to better serve Boston’s veteran community in 2015 and beyond.
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
Since the initial meeting, the Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative has every other month. In addition to The Mission Continues, Team Rubicon, IAVA and the City of Boston Veterans Services, many participants have remained active over the course of the year, including the Home Base Program, Northeastern University, Suffolk University, the Massachusetts Department of Veteran Services, RallyPoint, Team RWB, and many others.
The Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative was born not just from a need to encourage and create space for more in-person interaction among service providers among these organizations, but also out of a series of white papers published nationally that outline the critical importance of coordinated efforts in the veterans space, whether in regards to mental health or community building. The assembly was also buoyed by similar initiatives happening across the country, from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh.
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. The Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative sees exciting sights ahead, particularly in expanded collaboration with national organizations delving into similar objectives, including research arms like Syracuse University’s Institute of Veterans and Military Families and the RAND Corporation as well as foundations like the Klarman Family Foundation.