We often say that DAV is a family connected through the common thread of service to our nation. This bond helps us fight on a united front and with one voice on Capitol Hill. It also allows us to meet the individual needs of ill and injured veterans in communities across the country.
As leaders of DAV at the department and chapter levels, you’re encouraged to identify and fill those needs as you best see fit. Over the years, your creativity and compassion have fostered ideas and efforts that have improved the lives of countless veterans. We don’t want the financial burden to get in the way of doing more. As a family, we want to share in carrying that burden when we can.
That’s why the DAV National Service Foundation has the Columbia Trust. Think of it like one of those “take a penny, leave a penny” dishes you might see next to a cash register at checkout. We’ve all dipped into those before. (And I hope, we’ve all contributed, too.) The Columbia Trust takes that concept and amplifies it to where departments and chapters with an abundance of resources can make contributions to the Trust, giving departments and chapters in need a financial boost to help put their ideas into action.
This all started in 1996 when the Foundation created the Colorado Trust from a $500,000 contribution from the DAV Department of Colorado. At the Trust’s inception, it was agreed that the department would remain the namesake of the entity until another donor contributed an equal or higher sum.
A 2008 donation presented by leaders of the DAV Department of Florida during the Commanders & Adjutants Association meeting was for $222,401. This brought that department’s total contribution to the Trust to $500,001, sparking the name change.
The fund is now known as the Columbia Trust and serves as a significant funding source for DAV volunteer initiatives throughout the country. Funds allow chapters and departments to purchase vehicles for the Transportation Network, provide support to the Hospital Service Coordinator program and help fund many other service programs.
There’s a vetted application process departments and chapters must go through to receive funds from the Columbia Trust. They can apply for funds once a year, and if granted, must use the money for direct services to veterans.
For the 2023-2024 membership year, the application window opened on April 1, 2023. It closes on July 15, 2023. Each chapter or department applying for a grant must have its Annual Financial Review from the prior membership year approved by DAV National Headquarters before making a grant request.
Important details and instructions about the application process are included in a memo we sent to all department commanders and adjutants at the end of March. If you need this memo sent again or if you have any other questions, please contact the Foundation at [email protected] or by phone at 859-441-7300, option 6, then press 2.
The Columbia Trust is a valuable resource in our service to veterans that also serves as a strong example that, like a family, we are committed to taking care of each other.
For the Trust to endure, we must continue to be its good stewards and remember the spirit behind its establishment: Take from it when you need it. Give back when you can.