Safeguarding service programs

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Columbia Trust support helps preserve, enhance trademark initiatives

Larry Miller and Robert J. McTighe pick up vehicles for the DAV Transportation Network in Buffalo, N.Y.

Veterans across the nation have come to rely on many of the services DAV provides, but sometimes the demand outpaces the ability of chapters and departments to administer those much-needed programs. The Columbia Trust helps bridge the gap when local chapters and departments need assistance, serving as an important resource to uphold DAV’s service programs and ensure they remain available to veterans and their families.

As a “restricted fund” within DAV’s National Service Foundation, the Trust has one sole purpose—to support DAV service programs at department and local levels where funding otherwise would not be available. No other use of the Trust’s funds is permitted.

“The Trust provides us with an avenue to share who we are and what we do,” said Foundation President Arthur H. Wilson. “It acts as a catalyst by bridging resources from well-to-do departments and chapters to those in need. It provides the means to accomplish our mission of empowering veterans to live high-quality and fulfilled lives with respect and dignity.”

Funds contributed to the Trust are then used for service initiatives around the country at other departments and chapters in order to serve veterans in their communities at no cost. So far in 2017, the Trust has awarded eight grants totaling nearly $359,000 to departments for local service programs.

“The Columbia Trust is a powerful and needed resource for states like mine, which have a small population spread over a very large area,” said DAV Department of Nebraska Adjutant Jamie M. Jakub, whose department received a $20,000 grant in 2017. “The Trust is vital to our ability to operate and maintain our three hospital service coordinators who oversee 18 DAV vehicles. Without it, we would not be able to provide this necessary service.”

On the flip side, chapters and departments that have excess funds can redistribute them by contributing to the Trust, thereby providing other chapters and departments with the means to accomplish their mission.

“The Trust gives DAV the flexibility needed to address veterans and communities with the greatest needs,” said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “It’s a tool we can use to enhance local initiatives and help veterans in underserved communities.”

A department or chapter that has liquid assets surpassing three times the expenses of their previous fiscal year is required to spend the surplus on service programs, in accordance with Article 18 of the National Bylaws. One way to use the surplus for service is by contributing it to the Trust.

Commanders and adjutants are encouraged to identify unmet needs and develop projects to serve veterans in their communities. To ensure funds go where they are needed most, grants are not awarded to chapters and departments that have demonstrated the ability to meet their proposed service obligations. A committee made up of one member from each district of DAV’s national organization advises the Foundation’s board of directors in the grant decision-making process.

More information about the Trust, including a grant application and steps on how to contribute, is available at