10 Best Charities For Military Children (Complete 2024 List)

10 Best Charities For Military Children (Complete 2024 List)

By
Diana Stancu

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In the US, more than 2 million children have had a parent military deployed after the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, children in military families experience high rates of trauma and mental health problems, with over 30% saying that they often feel sad or hopeless, and that they seriously worry about what could happen to their deployed caretaker. What’s more, nearly 1 in 4 reported to have considered suicide at some point in their lives. Fortunately, charities nationwide are fighting to help these children overcome their unique challenges and live a joyful, vibrant life. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for military children?

The best charities for military children are the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and Our Military Kids. Charities like United Through Reading and The Comfort Crew for Military Kids strengthen the confidence and resilience of military youth.

Whether you want to help military children thrive academically, support their social and creative needs, or ensure that they have psychological support to cope with their family’s military-related challenges, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for military children are all about, how they work, and what would be your best way to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities For Military Children Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their impact and transparency ratings, achievements, and mission.

They operate across the United States of America, fighting to empower sons and daughters of military heroes.

Most of the charities below work to support children of active soldiers and veterans to thrive in life. For example, they fund tuition costs for these children from preschool to college while preparing them for the workforce. 

In addition, they distribute resiliency-building kits and comfort items to help them cope better with military separations and homecomings. They also offer emotional tools to better cope with military-related traumas, such as losing a parent or having them return from combat with a physical or psychological injury. 

Yet, all the charities share the same goal of empowering military children socially, emotionally, and academically.

These Are the 10 Best Charities For Military Children in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for military children (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation: Gifting College to Military Children

Logo for Children of Fallen Patriots
Children of Fallen Patriots - Who We Serve

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Our vision is to ensure that every child of a fallen patriot receives all necessary college funding. We believe a college education is the single most important gift we can give these children.”

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

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What they do:

The Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation funds undergraduate scholarships and educational counseling to the children of military personnel who have passed away during their military operations. They do this by covering all of the child’s college-related costs, from tuition and academic books to living expenses and a personal computer. Furthermore, they support students who enroll in both public and private universities and choose to study either a bachelor’s or a vocational degree. In addition, they connect military children with further support, such as uplifting camps, educational resources, or other academic grants

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation has provided over $64 million in scholarships and other assistance to over 2,800 children of fallen service members. Also, 1,330 students from the total number of military children they supported have already graduated with their degrees. Furthermore, they helped their recipients to attend over 1,440 universities across all 50 states and Washington, DC, with a 91% graduation rate. Moreover, in 2022, they invested over $12.2 million into their scholarship funding and all college-related costs. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation on their website. In addition, you can buy their merchandise or give employer-matching gifts

2

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation: Honoring Marines by Educating Their Children

Logo for Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation awards Marine children

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“Our mission is to honor those who have served and sacrificed for our country and further strengthen our nation by providing scholarships to military children.”

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

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What they do:

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation supports children of active Marine soldiers and veterans by providing need-based and academic scholarships. In this way, they help to cover all the costs associated with completing post-high school, undergraduate, or associated degrees in any educational field. Furthermore, they offer scholarships to children of soldiers who want to pursue technical education such as trade schools and other career-oriented trainings for specialized service-providing jobs. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has awarded scholarships worth nearly $200 million in total to support the children of military heroes. In addition, their scholarship recipients reside in all 50 states and 18 US territories. For instance, in 2022, they awarded 2,760 needs-based scholarships worth almost $11 million to honor the lives of Marine soldiers and their children. Furthermore, 91% of their scholarship beneficiaries finish their degree compared to the 54% national average, while 67% of them graduate with little to no debt. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation on their website. You can also contribute by joining their fundraising events or offering employer-matching gifts.

3

Our Military Kids: Empowering All Military Children, No Matter Their Family Circumstances

Logo for Our Military Kids
Meet the Emami Family | Our Military Kids

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Their transparency & ratings:

Our Military Kids has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Through our activity grants, we aim to build the children’s self-confidence, enhance family wellness, and strengthen a shared sense of community.”

Our Military Kids

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What they do:

Our Military Kids provides financial grants to children of National Guard and Reserve soldiers or post-9/11 injured veterans to help them thrive and learn new skills. They do this by paying for extracurricular activities that the children take part in, such as sports teams and music lessons. They also financially support military children to access mentorship programs and summer camps to build their self-confidence and strengthen a shared sense of community.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Our Military Kids has provided more than 88,000 activity scholarships worth $32 million in total to military children and teens in all 50 US states and territories, and the District of Columbia. For example, in 2022, they distributed extracurricular grants to 2,150 children from 1,115 military families. Furthermore, in 2023, 95% of the recipients reported an improvement in their child’s mental health and general well-being. In addition, 98% of them said that the grant allowed their child to do the extracurricular activity they desired but could not afford before. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Our Military Kids on their website. You can also support them with a peer-to-peer fundraiser or by starting a Workplace Giving campaign. In addition, you can subscribe to their newsletter

4

United Through Reading: Reading Together No Matter the Distance

Logo for United Through Reading
Military Kids and United Through Reading

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Their transparency & ratings:

United Through Reading has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Together, we are creating a brighter future for our military children, one story at a time.”

United

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What they do:

United Through Reading creates bonding moments for military families that would otherwise be missed because of deployment or long-term separations. They do this by giving soldiers the opportunity to record and save storytime moments for their children to enjoy. Moreover, they offer a free copy of the book for the child to read along with the storytime recording. In addition, the charity provides reading resources to military families to start a read-aloud routine and expand their child’s literacy, vocabulary, and imagination. Also, they work to promote positive parenting and reduce the stress and anxiety that military children face. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, United Through Reading has connected over 3 million military families through shared storytime moments. For example, they have developed a mobile app for deployed service members to record themselves reading stories and send the video to their child. Furthermore, in 2022, they helped soldiers on active duty to record over 9,000 bedtime stories while investing over $2.7 million across their supportive programs for military children. In the same year, they distributed 86,000 books to military youth to improve their literacy and 4,000 supportive kits to aid children when their military parent leaves for drill weekends, training, and deployments. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to United Through Reading on their website. You can also support them by becoming a volunteer or joining their fundraising events

5

The Comfort Crew for Military Kids: With You All the Way

Logo for The Comfort Crew for Military Kids
Comfort Crew Promo Video

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Comfort Crew for Military Kids has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“We are grateful to the heroes that answer the call to serve and take an oath to defend and protect our freedom. How can the rest of us serve those who put our country first? By taking care of what’s most precious to them, their children.”

The Comfort Crew for Military Kids

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What they do:

The Comfort Crew for Military Kids supports children of US soldiers by designing specialized Comfort Kits. For instance, they offer resource kits for children to better cope with their parent’s deployment and help them stay connected. In addition, they create comfort kits to solve challenges youth experience when reuniting with their parent after military departure. Furthermore, their kits support military children when a family member returns from deployment with physical or psychological injuries, or when they are killed in action. Moreover, their kits include resiliency-building movies and books, comfort plushies, and guidebooks for parents

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, The Comfort Crew for Military Kids has impacted over 500,000 military children and helped them better cope with military-related challenges. For example, after giving any comfort kit, the charity offered follow-up support every 45 days for a year following the delivery of the kit. Furthermore, in 2023, they distributed over 21,000 Comfort Kits to military families in need. Moreover, 98% of the participant military families reported that the kits helped their children to better navigate their unique life challenges. In addition, over 85% of the children they reached started opening up about their feelings regarding their parent’s deployment. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to The Comfort Crew for Military Kids on their website. You can also get involved by participating in their fundraising events or following their Twitter profile

6

Special Operations Warrior Foundation: Education As Opportunity

Logo for Special Operations Warrior Foundation
The Primary Mission of Special Operations Warrior Foundation

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“We aim to help Special Operations families build brighter futures despite the challenges they face due to the loss of a loved one.”

Special Operations Warrior Foundation

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What they do:

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation supports children of special operations personnel who were either killed in action or are on active duty. For this, they offer educational support such as academic advocacy and tuition assistance across private schools nationwide. In addition, they connect military children with preschool funding and private tutoring opportunities to ease their academic journey. They also offer special educational programs for military youth who suffer from physical or mental disabilities and aid teenagers from military families with college planning and scholarships. Moreover, their College-To-Career transition program helps military children to enter the workforce with confidence. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation has continued to serve military children with educational support, resulting in 476 college graduates. For example, in 2022, they invested over $13 million across their programs to empower military youth in their educational journey. In the same year, they provided funding to 210 students in colleges and universities nationwide and helped 38 military children to graduate college. In addition, they provided 422 packages with educational supplies and assisted 222 students in enrolling in post-secondary schools.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation on their website. In addition, you can start a digital fundraising campaign or join their Corporate Giving initiatives

7

Military Children’s Charity: Their Service to America Is Not Forgotten

Logo for Military Children’s Charity
Fat Brain Gives: Introducing Military Children's Charity

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Military Children’s Charity has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator

“We exist to provide gifts and recognition to the children of American service members because an entire generation of military children have grown up and never known our country during a time of peace.”

Military Children’s Charity

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What they do:

The Military Children’s Charity offers support to service members’ children as a tribute to their and their families’ sacrifices while serving the nation. They do this by providing gifts directly to these children through public and individual contributions, donations, and grants. In this way, the charity provides military youth with holiday toys and theme park tickets, as well as backpacks or school supplies. Furthermore, they distribute Easter baskets, baby items, and anything additional that creates the opportunity to acknowledge military-connected children and their needs.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Military Children’s Charity has distributed over 93,000 gifts of appreciation to youth growing up in military families. For example, they have offered nearly 38,000 toys and 20,000 baby items. In addition, they donated 12,000 books and 846 backpacks filled with school supplies. Furthermore, in 2015 alone, they provided 550 military children and their families with 2,600 school supplies and 351 items of clothing, along with 271 baby shower gifts. In the same year, they hosted 3 large-scale events for military families and offered caring presents to 11 children who had lost a parent in active duty. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Military Children’s Charity on their website. You can also contribute by following their social media profiles on Twitter and Instagram

8

Military Child Education Coalition: Military Life Is Ever-Changing. Our Help Is Always Here.

Logo for Military Child Education Coalition
An Introduction to MCEC Programs

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Military Child Education Coalition has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“We understand the impact a military lifestyle can have on a child — academically, emotionally, and socially. That’s why our mission is to serve the children of those who serve us all — connecting them to schools, organizations, and critical resources.”

Military Child Education Coalition

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What they do:

The Military Child Education Coalition provides children, their parents, and their teachers with initiatives to help military youth stay on course academically and socially. For instance, they offer workshops, and trainings, like storytelling and group coding, to help bond military families. Furthermore, they assist military children with supportive programs, such as Student 2 Student, a student-led program that unites military and civilian students to create a positive environment. Also, they encourage children of military personnel to express their unique life perspectives through art. They also hold training programs and student summits to connect military children. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, the Military Child Education Coalition has continued to support children from military families with the resources to thrive. For example, in 2023, they invested over $2.6 million across their educational programs, summits, and trainings. In the same year, they helped 1,512 military parents and children bond through 46 Parent Workshops and reached nearly 900 parents and children through 30 storytelling events across several states. In addition, they supported 555 military teens through their Student 2 Student program, as well as their student trainings, and summits. Also, they trained 910 teachers to better support the unique needs of their military-connected pupils. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Military Child Education Coalition on their website. You can also get involved by volunteering or shopping from their online store. In addition, you can advocate for military children through online personal streaming sessions. 

9

A Soldier’s Child Foundation: For the Children of Fallen Patriots

Logo for A Soldier’s Child Foundation
ASC Intro 2min Video

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Their transparency & ratings:

A Soldier’s Child Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“We offer Love to the child left behind, Honor for the memory of the fallen and a Hope for the children to live a courageous life.”

A Soldier’s Child Foundation

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What they do:

A Soldier’s Child Foundation serves military children of fallen soldiers by organizing birthday celebrations every year up to 18 years old and spending $150 per child for presents proposed by the children. Furthermore, they offer scholarship tuition for K-12 private schools and trade schools to help advance these children’s education. In addition, they organize annual camps to create new friendships through mentorship programs and outdoor adventures. In this way, they provide opportunities for military children to unite and create art projects, learn how to ride horses, or fish together. Moreover, they have a special mentorship program for young adults who are children of fallen soldiers.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, A Soldier’s Child Foundation has continued to provide opportunities for children of American soldiers. For example, they serve over 3,000 children each year and organize more than 20 themed camps to unite sons and daughters of servicemen. For example, in 2018, they invested over $600,000 in their supportive programs for military-connected children. Furthermore, in 2023, they reached over 5,000 military youth across all 50 states

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to A Soldier’s Child Foundation on their website. You can also support them by sponsoring a child or joining their public events.

10

Operation Gratitude: Saying ”Thank You” to All Who Served

Logo for Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude - Thanking All Who Serve

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Their transparency & ratings:

Operation Gratitude has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“We envision a future where all who serve believe the American people care. For that, we are creating opportunities for all Americans to express gratitude to our military members.”

Operation Gratitude

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What they do:

Operation Gratitude helps military children to develop resilience while a parent or guardian is deployed or absent for an extended time. For this, they work with family readiness personnel to distribute their “Battalion Buddy” bears to children of active soldiers to provide them with a bonding opportunity and alleviate their loneliness. In addition, their volunteers hand-fill the bear toys and add tags of encouragement with uplifting statements to support military-connected children. In addition, the charity sends care packages to active soldiers, combat veterans, and first responders

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Operation Gratitude has sent over 4 million Care Packages to boost the morale and resilience of service members and their children. Today, they offer over 200,000 Care Packages per year and have a network of over 370,000 volunteers who assemble and distribute the packages. For example, in 2022, they delivered 41,000 “Battalion Buddy” bears to military children nationwide. In the same year, they donated a total of 464,000 Care Packages to service members and dedicated 500,000 volunteering hours to create the packages. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Operation Gratitude on their website. You can also support them by holding a fundraiser or becoming a volunteer. In addition, you can donate products for their packages or collect and donate spare change from your business. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for military children. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to supporting military children—based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Diana

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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