The Exchange Pledge:
100% of the funds raised go to help house veterans locally, regionally or nationally, wherever the greatest need is. In other words, anywhere there is a veteran waiting for a home tonight, Exchange wants to be there!
Veterans Matter has a national partnership with the National Exchange Clubs in your community to help get our veterans housed. This includes year-long fundraising and hosting “11/11 @ 7” rallies in 100+ cities. Contact your local club to help them help us help our veterans.
This page is to update the clubs on the latest and greatest.
Welcome to the 11/11 @ 7 Exchange Club Rally page!
Here are the documents Ken talked about at the convention to get you started in housing our veterans:
Program Guide | Event Planning Guide | Press Release | Sponsor Levels | Flyer | Frequently Asked Questions | Brochure
Here is the video produced by the VA which was showcased in Jacksonville. It shows the impact your club has when you partner with Veterans Matter to End Veteran Homelessness.
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NEC National Convention
Jacksonville – Here we come!
The final tallies are in and the top ten Exchange Clubs, clubs that have earned the Veterans Matter patch, as well as the “Veterans Matter Hero Club” for 2016/2017 will be announced during Ken’s talk at the National Convention in Jacksonville. Veterans Matter will be having two classes on Friday. The first is the NEC Veterans Matter National Summit which will be a club showcase and updates. The second will focus on how to get your Club positioned as the leader in your community focused on ending Veteran homelessness in your community and nation. We look forward to seeing you there.
Also, we wanted to share with you the recent blog post and video the VA produced to highlight the collaboration you provide though Veterans Matter. We take care of our own. See you in Jacksonville.
Veterans Matter Award Recognizes The Strongest Voice for Veterans Still on the Streets.
Veterans Matter proudly announces the 2016 “Advocate of the Year” award is presented to Jeffry Young. He is being honored for his tireless efforts in support of Veterans Matter’s mission to house homeless veterans and veterans’ families with children in his community, state and nation. Mr. Young, a veteran himself, is a National Exchange Club of Lawrence, Indiana member and Region 7 National Exchange Regional Vice President. Drafted into the US Army a month after graduating from college, Jeff proudly served in the Georgia National Guard as a combat medic during the Viet Nam era.
Ken Leslie, Advocate-In-Chief of Veterans Matter stated, “Jeff Young’s passion and hard work for housing homeless veterans and their families is incomparable. Jeff is a true advocate for our nation’s heroes. His work with the National Exchange Club/Veterans Matter partnership is unparalleled. We are honored to have Jeffry Young as the first recipient of the “Advocate of the Year” award.”
Referring to the National Exchange Club/Veterans Matter partnership, Mr. Young said, “Almost every person in America knows or has a family member who has served this country. I see the need to let them know that 39,000 Veterans are still homeless! Veterans Matter is an opportunity to share the plight of our homeless veterans through Exchange Clubs nationwide and to work with those members of our community who want to help our veterans!”
Exchange Club of Lawrence, Indiana member and Region 7 National Exchange Regional Vice President Jeff Young presents a Veterans Matter Honor Bond to Senior Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Daniel T. Kavanaugh for Financial Center.
The Lawrence and Hancock County Indiana Clubs are using the Bonds to say thank you to the sponsors of Veterans Matter events.
The partnership has netted 1 new professional membership, financial support, volunteers for local projects and additional local contacts.
Our friends at the Exchange Club of Dayton are helping to house homeless veterans, one star at a time. Check out their page here to see their great fundraising opportunity. Such a cool idea – thanks to the club’s president, Carol Suddath!
2016 11/11@7 Rallies
Like they did last year, several Toledo-area clubs will work together to host a Toledo rally. There will be a chili cook-off, music, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, wine raffle and more.
Lincoln Park, MI
The Lincoln Park Exchange Club was named the Veterans Matter Hero Club for 2015 for raising the most money through their 11/11 @ 7 Rally. They are hosting a rally again this year, and we’re sure it will be a hit!
The Portage Club is working with several local restaurants to raise money for homeless veterans! The restaurants are donating a portion of the proceeds from sales on 11/11, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to Operation Indiana.
Fuddruckers, a national restaurant chain, will donate 15% of its sales in the Houston/Galveston area on Veterans Day to help house homeless veterans. Exchangites will be handing out flyers at City Hall in the morning and encouraging people to go. What a cool way to get out and about in the community and raise awareness!
Lawrence and Hancock County, IN
The Lawrence and Hancock County clubs are teaming up and getting ready for a great rally. We look forward to hearing more!
The Exchange Club of Farmington is again co-sponsoring a Veterans Dinner with the local VFW Post, which will be from 6-9 p.m. Get the flier with more information here.
First, the great news…..We are ecstatic to tell you that every dollar you raise for Veterans Matter this year will be matched by Jordan Reses Co. up to $200,000. Yes, every dollar you raise this year will be double its value! How cool is that! Let’s go!
Sooooo….it was great seeing you all in Houston, what an incredible group you are. I am happy to report that last year we raised over $50,000 through Exchange Clubs to house veterans in YOUR community, YOUR state, and YOUR nation. In other words, anywhere there is a veteran waiting for a home tonight, Exchange will be there! God bless you all, and God Bless America!
And we are ready to roll again for this year’s 11/11 @ 7 rallies and we heard many great ideas in Houston. We will be sharing ALL of those ideas with you through an email Rally Update system. If you want the updates or want to share what your club is doing just put your email in the form to the right, it is THAT simple!
Again, you are heroes to the men, women and children who have found themselves living on the streets, in their cars, or in shelters. On behalf of all of them, thank you for being that hero.
Advocate in Chief
6/30/16: Veterans Matter Hero Club for 2015/16
The Lincoln Park Exchange Club demonstrated what can happen when Exchange and the rest of the community come together for a cause. Last fall, that cause was to get our veterans off the streets and into their own homes.
Maureen Tobin, president of the Lincoln Park Exchange Club, says she met Veterans Matter Advocate-in-Chief Ken Leslie in August during Lincoln Park Days. When she and other club members heard about the Veterans Matter cause and how we help homeless veterans over the last barrier (the deposit) into a home of their own and a fresh start, they wanted to get involved. The club became one of several to hold an 11/11 @ 7 Rally fundraiser on Veterans Day.
Tobin says bringing different groups together was easy. The local VFW donated their hall for the event, as well as money from bar sales. Musician friends of hers donated their time to play at the rally, and all food served was donated. They then charged people $10 per ticket to attend.
The local radio station advertised the rally for free, and one of the DJs hosted.
“It was just a great group of people all coming together to make this happen,” Tobin said. “It just kept going and going. I hit every business in the city to see if they’d be willing to help. Everybody played a little part to make it all happen.”
She says it only took 6-8 weeks to put together the entire rally. Businesses donated gift cards, which were raffled off at the event. The big raffle prize of the night – tickets were $20 each – was a Red Wings suite donated by a club member who works at PNC Bank.
“I thoroughly enjoyed going to each business in the area and explaining to them what the club does, and talking to them about Exchange and Veterans Matter,” she said. “The response was overwhelming. I sometimes walked out with tears in my eyes because people were so generous.”
The Lincoln Park Exchange Club raised more money with their rally than any other club – about $9,000 after expenses!
But Tobin says there were other benefits to holding the rally. “It changed the way a lot of people in Lincoln Park looked at service organizations, especially Exchange, and it brought awareness to Veterans Matter,” she said. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I couldn’t think of a better cause to help people.”
Latest Club Update 4/15/16
One of the most powerful tools the Exchange Clubs have is you! You have the power to not only change, but save lives.
One way to change lives is to give people the opportunity to get involved in doing something good for others. They walk away feeling good about themselves – make people feel good, they come back. Compassion is addicting.
For example, those of you who have held events or raised money to help Veterans Matter house more veterans – you already feel good about what you have done. And with that you have potentially saved the lives of veterans who are living on the streets of our nation.
The truth is this cause – housing homeless veterans as part of our Americanism platform – is one of the best tools we have to help double the size of your club. When you tell people you are raising funds for a program that essentially passes your donations on to house individual veterans, less program costs, they too want to help.
We look at it this way: Everyone is called to something. Our job is simply to go out and tell people what we are doing as an Exchange Club in our community and in the nation – rallying America to help house the 47,725 homeless veterans still on the streets of our magnificent country – so that those who also care about veterans can join us to help them.
So getting the word out and inviting people in our community to join us is our only mission right now. It is simple! Invite people who care about veterans to join your “11/11 @ 7 Rally Committee Meeting,” which you can have during the last 10-20 minutes of your regular meetings. The benefit is with all members inviting others as outlined below, you will have a constant influx of new people exposed to what your club does, and some of those will not only join your rally team, they will also join your club! Then they, too, will be #ExchangeStrong!
So here are some ways to find and invite those who care about our homeless veterans as you do:
1) The easiest: Invite leaders of your local VFW, Amvets, American Legion and other veteran-oriented clubs to speak at your club. They absolutely care as much as you do about homeless veterans. And then invite others to come and hear your guest speak. From this they will learn about your club, the rally, Veterans Matter, and the Veterans Matter Unity Model. You can then invite them as an organization to co-sponsor and play a role in the 11/11@ 7 Rally.
2) The second easiest: Get an invitation to present at the local VFW, Amvets, Vietnam Vets, American Legion and other veteran-oriented organizations. Your presentation will explain the rally and invite them as an organization to play a role, or as members individually to attend a rally meeting. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
3) Many large organizations, like companies and labor unions, have a veterans group in their organization. Ask around to find them and make your presentation there, as well. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
4) Many publications have annual “Veterans Issues” to showcase love of country and our veterans. Two options here: First, look at who the advertisers are that support veterans and invite the people from those organizations to a rally meeting. And second, perhaps you can buy an advertisement in those publications to promote your invitation to the community to come together for our veterans. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
5) Likewise look at the organizations that sponsor veteran-related events. Identify the leaders and invite them to a rally meeting. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
6) Make presentations at churches, other organizations, and schools about how we need to care about veterans. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
7) When you have special speakers coming to your club such as Dan, Elizabeth, Tracey, your district president, local veterans, or others, put out an invitation to people in your community to come and hear them speak. They will invite people to attend your club meetings for the rally committee meetings. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
8) You can pass out fliers at parades and such, inviting veterans and those who care about veterans to attend your rally committee meetings. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
9) You can also use the Firstgiving platform, Facebook and Twitter to send out invitations to the rally committee meetings. Those who are called to help homeless veterans will join you.
10) Have your meeting that is closest to Memorial Day or a Healing Field-type event as your official rally planning kick-off meeting. Make it a goal for every member to invite AT LEAST one person to be a part of the rally planning. You will find synergies and relationships already exist there, and many will want to join you.
We want to make the point again: Your job is not to recruit everyone. By going out and just talking about how we help house veterans and inviting those who, too, are called to help veterans to join your rally committee you will find the ones in each group called to join you. THAT is the victory. One at a time.
And by having your rally meeting at the end of your regular meeting you will find many others will become addicted to helping others, just like you and me.
We look forward to seeing you all in Houston!
Let’s roll clubs!
What a great Kick-Off on 11/11@7. The Exchange Clubs have now passed $50,000 raised to house our heroes! Great job! With so many clubs having events throughout the year we are certain as awareness is raised your club will be known in your community for housing our heroes.
The latest statistics came out, there are still 47.755 veterans still living on the streets. Plus it is our understanding that beginning FY 17 the HUD and the VA will be issuing 10,000 more housing vouchers. Our efforts will continue, not only to house more veterans, but to also allow us to strengthen our clubs with new members in our communities who are equally committed to house our unhoused heroes!
Several groups are planning events for Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 21st.
If your club raised money be sure to add your club, team and amount right here under Operation National Exchange Club. We will be recognizing the top ten in each size category at the National conference in Houston.
Ken will be speaking at several of the District meetings in May. Check the schedule and see if he will be in your area, and if not, contact him to bring him down there.
It is a privilege to have you all as a partner with us in this once in a lifetime chance to build a national movement! You truly are #ExchangeStrong.
Onward – Homeward!
Brothers and Sisters of Exchange,
As sickening as it is, it’s easy for us to envision a homeless veteran sleeping in his car this winter, shivering, literally trying to shake off the cold. But, that cold cannot be shaken off because it has burrowed into the very marrow of his bones.
What’s not as easy to imagine is his 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter in the back seat, both snuggled against their mother, a mother desperately trying to use her body heat to warm her shivering children, who are also trying to shake off that same cold. But they cannot because that bone chilling cold has now burrowed deeply into their little bones.
Take that in. Please.
Now imagine that same father and mother going into their children’s warm rooms at night, tucking them in, even telling them a bedtime story before turning off the lights, leaving on a nightlight to comfort the children as they sink into their own pillows, in their own home.
Now imagine that you had the “Power of 1” to help that veteran family have that home. Because YOU do. You have the Power of 1 to save and change lives. We all do. But do we choose to use it for good? This is what defines our humanity.
Just more than 100 days ago, at Exchange’s National Convention in Columbus, OH, I talked about that incredible Power of 1 to give. And that YOU are the most powerful leader you know.
I told each Exchangite in the room that his and her Power of 1, is intertwined with each other to create the “Power of 1 Club”, which intertwined creates the “Power of 1 Community”, which intertwined creates The National Exchange Club, which is indivisibly intertwined as One Nation Under God.
Just more than 100 days ago at the convention, your National Headquarters and Veterans Matters presented a partnership and our goal to house as many homeless veterans as possible over the course of one year. With Veterans Day as the catalyst, and “11/11@7” as the catchy event name, we asked Exchange Clubs to host simultaneous events to raise money to help house America’s homeless heroes.
As I write this, in the aftermath of the 11/11@7 events, I am beaming with pride at what we have accomplished. At least 80 clubs nationwide took up the daunting challenge to pull off inaugural 11/11@7 events.
We have not heard many of the final fundraising results; but, much press coverage was generated, which does offer a glimpse of how successful these events were:
Toledo: “11/11@7 benefits homeless veterans across the country,” The (Toledo) Blade, Nov. 12, 2015
Murfreesboro: “Noon Exchange Raises $ For Homes for Homeless Vets,” WGNS News Radio, Nov. 11, 2015
Oklahoma City: “OKC Exchange, Vets Matter Team Up To End Homelessness,” News 9, Nov. 11, 2015
As exciting as these events were, and as proud as we should all be, there are still veterans and families to be housed! I graciously ask you to continue utilizing the online fundraising tool at https://www.firstgiving.com/1Matters/teams throughout the next year and we will continue working toward our goal of housing America’s heroes. If you would prefer, direct payments can also be made to Veterans Matter at veteransmatter.org/donate.
We will continue to share updates as we receive them. Additionally, we will be recognizing the top ten small, medium, and large fundraising clubs at Exchange’s 2016 National Convention in Houston, TX. So, keep raising funds, to raise their standard of living!
I, once again, thank you all! You are heroes to me!
Founder, Veterans Matter
11/11@7 RALLY REPORTS
Toledo, Ohio: The Exchange Clubs of Toledo, West Toledo, Greater Maumee Bay, and Maumee together with Veterans Matter, and with support of the Lucas County Commissioners and Lucas County Veterans Service Commission, hosted the first ever “11/11@7” event to raise money to house local homeless veterans. Nearly $7,500 was generated through the two-hour USO-style event, held at the Conn-Weissenberger American Legion Hall, which featured a chili cook-off, a silent auction, and live music provided by Toledo duo Candice Coleman and Chris Brown.
Perrysburg, Ohio: The Exchange Club of Perrysburg partnered with two area Bob Evans restaurants to donate a portion of proceeds to Veterans Matters on Veterans Day.
Findlay, Ohio: Vicki and Randy Stone of the Findlay Exchange Club placed 10 donation centers around area businesses in the community to raise funds and awareness for Veterans Matter, including Culver’s (pictured here).
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: The Exchange Club of Oklahoma City hosted a 50/50 raffle for 11/11@7. The club reports: “Between online donations and the rally we made $1,505 — enough to re-house two veterans! We exceeded our fundraising goal be 201% We will be donating 100% of the money collected to Veterans Matter to help eliminate our veteran homeless population in Oklahoma. A big thank you to all our sponsors who helped make this donation possible. Two homeless veterans will be on their way to new housing because of our local community and supporters.”
Houston, Texas: Several Exchange Clubs in Houston, including the Memorial Exchange Club and the Downtown Exchange Club, collaborated to organize an 11/11@7 fundraiser through Luby’s, in which the restaurant donated 15% of sale on Veterans Day to Veterans Matter for patrons who came in with a flier. Barbara Sarko Carmichael of the Downtown Exchange Club of Houston reported club members handed out over 1,000 fliers to people and groups in Houston, including at city hall. In addition, Carmichael said she is “happy to report that we have raised $2,275 from both online and in-house donations (at weekly club luncheons). Our goal to help house three veterans by 11/11/15 has been met. We have also raised some funds through Luby’s 15% donations for dining on 11/11 in Houston. This amount is not included in our total. We will begin working on our next VM fundraiser that we hope to have by the middle of 2016. We are also hoping for one at the end of 2016. Texas takes care of its own!” The Memorial Exchange Club in Houston hosted an 11/11@7 reception
Murfreesboro, Tennessee: The Noon Exchange Club of Murfreesboro hosted a chili cookoff with chili by the Murfreesboro Fire Department.
Jackson, Tennessee: On Facebook, Martin Jelinek noted: “Great event for an amazing cause! Glad to be part of a club that cares and does something for the people that fought and fight to keep us free. #ExchangeStrong”
North Tonawanda, N.Y.: The Erie-Niagara Sunrise Exchange Club hosted an 11/11@7 event at the Stephen Sikora Post 1322 members in North Tonawanda, NY, featuring a basket raffle.
Jacksonville, Florida: The Exchange Club of Jacksonville organized an 11/11@7 fundraiser with three area Bruster’s. $1 of each waffle cone sold on Veterans Day was donated to Veterans Matter.
Lincoln Park, Michigan: Lincoln Park Exchange Club members brought a photo of Sandon Elkins, a club member on active military duty to their 11/11@7 event. “He wasn’t able to attend so we brought his picture so he was there in spirit,” said club member Maureen Cole Tobin. The club is still totaling donations, but has raised about $9,000!
Naugatuck, Connecticut: The Naugatuck Exchange Club kicked off its Find a Home for Veterans campaign on 11/11@7. The club reports: “We enjoyed a good turnout of veterans, dignitaries, club members and the general public at Jesse Camille’s restaurant. George Gray planned and organized the event and the ongoing project. Thank you George!! Great kick off! Thanks to all that attended and who have donated to help reach our goal to house a vet. Exchange Club is the root, but there are so many branches out there assisting us which is so appreciated.”
What did we miss? These are just a few of the reports from Exchange Clubs across the nation who hosted 11/11@7 events. We’d love to hear from you! Click the “Contact us” link to call or email us, or reach out via Facebook or Twitter to share information from your club. Thank you for helping us #GetVetsHoused!
Hello Exchangeites! It’s not to late to have your own event to present your club to your local community and media as part of this nationwide effort. Actually it is pretty simple: Find a location, invite friends and your community and then figure out how you can raise as much as you can to house as many veterans as you can in your community, region and nation.
Here are some idea if you need them, and planning documents for your club and community are above:
1) Download the Pledge Form, Program Guide (Overview) and Event Planning Guide for your next meeting. Decide how many veterans you would like to house. Set the date for your community organizational meeting. Create your Club Team on the National Exchange Club fundraising platform. Let your club know the top 10 clubs in the small, medium and large categories will be recognized next year at the National Convention in Houston!
2) After the meeting, have all members download, customize and send/email the “Intro to Community” letter to all veteran-friendly groups, individuals and businesses, inviting them to help you stage your community’s “Veterans Matter 11/11 @ 7 Rally to House America’s Homeless Veterans.”
Our shared campaign to house at least 2,000 veterans kicks off on Veterans Day, 11/11 @ 7, at simultaneous Veterans Matter Rallies to House America’s Homeless Veterans held by Exchange Clubs across the country. These events will be opportunities for Clubs and their Exchangites to present the Americanism Platform to their communities. Together, National Exchange Club and Veterans Matter will get hundreds more homeless veterans off the streets and into safe housing. What a perfect partnership to show Americanism in action!
Here are the clubs who have notified us of their participation in 11/11@7. So far nearly 50 clubs are having events nationwide with more confirming their events each day.
- Toledo, OH (4) – Toledo, West Toledo, Greater Maumee Bay, Maumee
- Perrysburg, OH
- New England – NYC Region
- Farmington, CT
- Houston Downtown, TX
- Memorial Exchange Club – Houston, TX
- Sugarland Exchange Club, TX
- Fremont, OH
- Troy, AL
- Vero Beach, FL
- Indian River, FL
- Emerald Coast (Destin), FL
- Swift Creek, NC
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Lincoln Park, MI
- Jackson, MI
- Nashville, TN
- Flagstaff, AZ
- Quincy, IL
- Washington, D.C.
- Murfreesboro, TN
- Erie – Niagara
- Trenton, NJ
- Detroit, MI (2)
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Wilmington, NC
- Madison, WI
- Indianapolis, IN (2)
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Anderson, IN
- McMinnville, TN
- North Chicago
- Billings, MT
- Bellevue, TN
- Memphis and Shelby County, TN
- Jackson, TN
- Murphy, TX
- Woodbridge, VA
- Marietta, GA
- Greenwood, MO
- Springfield, VA
- Downingtown, PA
- Leesburg, VA
- Ocean, NJ
- Sparta, NJ
- Long Branch, NJ
- Midwest City, OK
- Chico, CA
- Lynchburg, VA
Cool ideas we are hearing about:
- The four Toledo Exchange clubs are uniting to have a USO style event together with each club taking on a role. The Toledo Club #2 will manage a chili cook-off, the West Toledo Club will manage a silent auction and Greater Maumee Bay Club will will be selling “War Bonds,” an idea created by Maumee Bay President Lisa McCartney. These will be “War Bond Certificates” for the battle to end veteran homelessness. This is such a good idea we are working to allow you to issue them beginning 11/1. Stay tuned!
- Jeff Young, Region 7 Vice President, is engaging his entire region (Indiana) and is sending a letter to the commanders of all of the VFWs and American Legion commanders inviting them to have their own rallies at their own posts in association the local Exchange Clubs.
- Tom Miller and his team in Colorado Springs is putting together a $100 plate dinner. $25 will cover the costs and with the balance going to house our heroes.
- Texas Louisiana Gulf Coast District thinks they may have a local cafeteria that will donate some percentage of receipts collected during a portion of the night of 11/11, say from 6-8 p.m., to the fundraising effort.
- The Exchange Club of Bellevue, TN, is hosting a cornhole tournament.
- The Exchange Club of Jacksonville, FL, has partnered with three local Bruster’s, which have agreed to donate $1 for each waffle cone they sell on Veterans Day and will allow the club to collect donations as well.
- For any smaller or low ticket events with cover charges such as $5 or $10, we have found out if you make the cover charge a “donation of any amount,” you will give people the opportunity to give as much as they can, usually more than the cover charge we would have charged.
- Clubs are also buying the Veterans Matter/Exchange Club event T-shirts, Exchange Strong/Veterans Matter bumper stickers, Veterans Matter pins and Veterans Matter wristbands. T-shirts are $10, the rest are $2 each. Shirts are being resold for $20 with the rest being resold for any donation of $5 or any amount of your choosing. To order items contact us here.
Let us know what you are doing for your event so we can share it with all the other organizations scheduling 11/11 @ 7 Rallies! To help us track events, be sure to register your event on the National Exchange Club Fundraising Platform.
For other, non-NEC groups hosting rallies, you can add your event/team right here. Click “Start Fundraising” and then “Create your fundraising page” for your event.
All checks should be made out to Veterans Matter and write the group/club(s) in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Veterans Matter, 3450 W. Central Ave, Suite #108, Toledo, OH 43606
Here’s a video announcement produced by the NEC to share in our joint effort:
EXCHANGE CLUB PARTNERS WITH VETERANS MATTER IN NATIONAL EFFORT TO HOUSE HOMELESS VETERANS
The National Exchange Club and Veterans Matter Declare a State of Urgency to End Veteran Homelessness Nationwide
One national organization is dedicated to service and the other that focuses on those who served in uniform. Together, The National Exchange Club and Veterans Matter, two front-line groups, have announced they will work together to raise funds to ensure every American veteran has a place to call home.
The National Exchange Club, with over 20,000 members in nearly 650 clubs across the country, unites with Veterans Matter, the innovative program with a 100% success rate in housing veterans in a long-term supportive program with a stated 91% success rate in keeping them housed. The program frees up other local funding, then used to prevent another veteran or veteran family from winding up on the streets.
The campaign kicks off with simultaneous fundraising Rallies and Walks in over 100 cities and towns at 7:00 p.m. on Veterans Day. The Exchange Clubs will raise funds to house homeless veterans in their own communities, regions and throughout the nation. Local Exchange Clubs will serve as a rally point for all groups caring about veterans in their respective communities.
“We are proud to partner with The National Exchange Club as they, too, are actively dedicated to caring for the men and women who served as well as the most vulnerable people in all communities. We are declaring this a ‘State of Urgency’ because there are veterans and veteran families with children waiting right now for housing. They just need the help getting over the threshold,” said Ken Leslie, founder of Veterans Matter, a program of the 501c3 non-profit 1Matters.org.
“The National Exchange Club recognizes the tragedy that so many service men and women, those who’ve fought to protect us, have been forgotten,” said Tracey Edwards, Executive Vice President of The National Exchange Club. “Since our founding in 1911 the Exchange has had a proud history of helping families achieve stability. With Veterans Matter we have found a remarkably effective way to help thousands of Veterans and Veteran Families living on our nations streets to “cross the threshold” into their own homes as fast as possible.
“The National Exchange Club has promoted Americanism – pride in country, respect for the flag, and appreciation of our American freedoms – since shortly after World War I. Those values, combined with the Club’s strong history of community service, means the partnership with Veterans Matter is a natural extension of the organization’s commitment to its country,” Edwards said.
Partnering with the VA and the HUD-VASH program, Veterans Matter eliminates the last barrier keeping homeless veterans out of long-term supportive housing – the security deposit. Veterans Matter pays that security deposit directly to the landlord via a secure online system, scalable to every funded community. Referrals come exclusively from VA staff when a veteran has identified housing and is ready and able to sign the lease. Referrals are approved online within minutes. Because the program is supported by over 20 celebrities including Gary Sinise, Kid Rock, Ice-T, Katy Perry, Susan Sarandon, and others who all raise funds or awareness for the program, many landlords are comfortable allowing the vet /heroes into housing immediately.
Ken Leslie, formerly homeless, started Veterans Matter in Toledo, Ohio in 2012 to house 35 local veterans. Since then, the program has gone viral and has housed over 800 veterans in 10 states. The program’s effectiveness earned Leslie an invitation to participate in the White House Summit to End Veteran Homelessness this past summer.
“We all enjoy our freedom thanks to Veterans so homelessness for any veteran is flat-out unacceptable,” said Leslie. “We believe no soldier should be left behind, even if they’re no longer actively serving. By working together to end veteran homelessness, we have the opportunity to let these men, women and children know they matter.”
“Club members will rally all Americans in their communities to reach this goal,” said Edwards. “We all have a responsibility to fight on behalf of those who fought for us.”
More about National Exchange Club
More about Veterans Matter
About Veterans Matter
Partnering with the VA and the HUD-VASH program, Veterans Matter eliminates the last barrier preventing homeless veterans from becoming housed in long-term supportive housing – the security deposit – which Veterans Matter pays directly to the landlord via a secure online system scalable to every funded community. Referrals come exclusively from VA staff when the veteran has identified housing and is ready and able to sign the lease. Referrals are approved online within minutes.
Because the program is supported by over 20 celebrities including Gary Sinise, Kid Rock, Ice-T, Katy Perry, Susan Sarandon, and others who all raise funds or awareness for the program, many landlords allow the heroes into the housing immediately.
Started in Toledo, Ohio in 2012 by Ken Leslie, himself formerly homeless, to house 35 local veterans, the program has gone viral housing more than 800 veterans in 11 states. The program’s effectiveness earned Leslie an invitation to participate in the White House Summit to End Veteran Homelessness this past summer.
“We all enjoy our freedom thanks to veterans, and homelessness for any veteran is flat-out unacceptable,” Leslie said. “We believe no soldier should be left behind. By working together to end veteran homelessness, we have the opportunity to let these men, women and children know they matter.”
You can start right now. This is America. We care.