BRAVE was formed in October 2017 out of a pressing need for the veterans in our community. BRAVE is registered with the Secretary of State of Texas for veteran solicitation, bonded and has received their 501c3 from the IRS. BRAVE will fully operate on donations, fundraising, event sponsorships, membership sales and volunteers. BRAVE board members are all volunteers that are passionate about this cause and spend most of their free time building this organization
The veterans in East Texas need us as a community to all come together and make a difference in their lives. There are approximately 18,000 veterans in Smith County and so many of them have needs that are not being met. Approximately 36% of these veterans are not receiving VA benefits and only 10% are employed full time. With these numbers it is no question that veteran homelessness is an issue in Smith County. Veterans make up 27% of the homeless population in Smith County, with 27% of them being homeless for the first time and 39% being chronically homeless. Veterans are twice as likely to become chronically homeless than the average civilian. 60 veterans a year complete suicide in Smith County, every year.
These veterans are suffering from PTSD, addiction (18%) and other mental illnesses (32%) caused by time at war and difficulties with readapting to civilian life. Most veterans in Smith County are Vietnam veterans (18%) and the average service time is 3 years. As you can clearly see there is a desperate need for us to step in and aid these veterans and make sure their needs are being met. Without the support of the community and their donations these numbers can only increase.
BRAVE Texas is operating with the 20/80 mentality, 20% will go back into the organization for overhead and future fundraising with 80% going into our Grant Distribution Programs (GDP). Our GDP will distribute funds in two ways, directly to the veteran and to other like-minded veteran non-profit organizations. There is an application process for both GDP and are subject to verification and board approval. We believe that working with the veterans directly and with other veteran non-profit organizations is the most effective way to reach as many veterans and their needs as we possibly can.
There are several ways that you can help BRAVE Texas serve these veterans. We have established Membership Program that comes with a few perks. The Membership Program has several levels and is a great way to contribute to the organization and be involved. Event sponsorship is another way to support the organization. These sponsorships help cover the cost of the fundraising events. Finally, we have just a simple donation. Any form of contribution that could make a huge difference in our efforts is greatly appreciated.
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BRAVE Texas is registered with the Texas Secretary of State's office as a solicitor for veteran organizations. The Secretary of State has on file important information about the persons that seek contributions in the name of veterans, and the number to call about that information is the Solicitation Information Hotline 1-800-648-9642