At a June 14 ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery attended by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, the Give an Hour nonprofit organization announced the receipt of a $2 million grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and a $144,000 donation from Walmart.
The nonprofit organization enables licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, to donate an hour of services per week over a year's time to a service member, veteran or family.
Give an Hour will use the money to start fully implementing a two-year pilot project this fall in Fayetteville, N.C., and Norfolk, Va., that is aimed at helping local groups better coordinate assistance to the military community, says Barbara Van Dahlen, PhD, president and founder of Give an Hour.
"The goal is to wrap services around those who served and get communities galvanized and orchestrated where the needs are the greatest," Van Dahlen says.
Since 2005, Give an Hour's volunteer force of 5,600 mental health professionals has provided nearly 40,000 hours of services at no charge since the first free session was offered in July 2007. Individual donations and foundations have funded Give an Hour's operations.