When Chapters and Departments lack sufficient funds to provide direct services and special programs for injured and ill veterans, DAV’s Columbia Trust can be a valuable resource. Chapters and Departments that have excess funds can also “spread the wealth” by contributing them to the Trust, which ensures that strong services and DAV’s legacy of hope are distributed to veterans across the nation.
If a Chapter or Department has liquid assets that exceed three times the expenses of their last fiscal year, they are required to spend the excess for service, bringing their accumulated funds into compliance with Article 18 of the National Bylaws. One way to use excess funds for service is a donation to the Trust.
As a “restricted fund” within the DAV National Service Foundation (NSF), the Trust exists solely to support DAV service programs to veterans and their families at the Department and local levels. No other use is permissible.
“One of the most successful functions of the Trust is its role as a catalyst, bridging resources from well-populated Departments and Chapters to those in need,” said NSF President Arthur H. Wilson. “Funds contributed to the Trust are then used for service initiatives that other Departments and Chapters simply couldn’t afford to offer veterans in their communities.”
Grants are not awarded to Chapters and Departments that exceed the asset accumulation limitation spelled out in DAV’s National Bylaws, and Chapters and Departments that show an ongoing ability to meet their proposed service obligations are ineligible.
“The Columbia Trust is about creative generosity and providing the means to help others,” National Adjutant Marc Burgess said. “After all, DAV is all about service to our nation’s veterans and their families.”
Last year, the Trust awarded $454,000 in support of DAV Hospital Service Coordinator and Department Service Officer programs. Another $1.1 million was expended to help put 128 new vans into operation through the DAV Transportation Network.
All Chapter and Department leaders are urged to identify unmet needs and develop creative projects to serve ill and injured veterans in their communities. When funds from the Trust are needed to start or maintain programs to meet those needs, Chapters and Departments are encouraged to apply for grants.
Applications for Trust grants are reviewed by members of an Advisory Committee, which includes one member from each District of the DAV’s National Organization. This provides each geographical area with representation and a voice in the decision-making process to determine the expenditure of funds from the Trust.
The Committee reviews the grant requests and recommends where to spend the funds. The NSF Board of Directors is the final arbiter of the grants and acts to affirm, reject or modify the Advisory Committee’s recommendations.
The Columbia Trust allows us to share who we are and what we have. It enables us to both give and receive. It provides the means to fulfill our mission of empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.
Spread the Wealth
Chapters and Departments who enjoy a surplus of funds can help maintain basic services for underserved veterans across the country by channeling that surplus through The Columbia Trust. Checks can be made payable to: The Columbia Trust, DAV National Service Foundation, 3725 Alexandria Pike, Cold Spring, KY 41076.