9 Best Charities That Support Wounded Veterans (Complete 2023 List)

9 Best Charities That Support Wounded Veterans (Complete 2023 List)

By
Eli Boles

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More than one-third of post-9/11 service members suffer from a service-connected disability. Though advancements in modern battlefield medicine have led to a decrease in casualties, they have also led to an increase in more serious injuries among survivors. Despite the efforts of the US Veterans Affairs Department (VA), many of these injured veterans lack the resources they need to rebuild their lives as civilians. So, we had to ask: What are the best charities that support wounded veterans?

The best charities that support wounded veterans are Fisher House Foundation, Homes for Our Troops, and the Gary Sinise Foundation. Other charities such as Operation Second Chance and Wheelchairs for Warriors also help to improve the quality of life for injured soldiers directly.

Whether you want to support programs to help wounded veterans and their families pay bills or programs that help injured veterans access adaptive equipment, smart homes, or service animals, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that support wounded veterans are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Support Wounded Veterans Have in Common

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

They operate all over the country and abroad at overseas military bases to get help to the nation’s wounded veterans wherever they live.

Yet, these charities also continue to adapt to offer the best care possible as advances in medicine continue. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Support Wounded Veterans in 2023

Below are our favorite charities that support disabled veterans:

Best Charities That Support Wounded Veterans in 2023

Logo for Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House Foundation
Logo for Homes for Our Troops

Homes for Our Troops

Logo for The Gary Sinise Foundation

The Gary Sinise Foundation

Logo for Operation Second Chance

Operation Second Chance

Logo for Wheelchairs for Warriors

Wheelchairs for Warriors

Logo for Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project

Semper Fi & America’s Fund

Logo for K9s for Warriors

K9s for Warriors

Logo for Blinded Veterans Association

Blinded Veterans Association

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

Fisher House Foundation: Housing During Hospitalization

Logo for Fisher House Foundation

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Fisher House Foundation holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator with a 94% Transparency Rating. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, their highest ranking. 

“Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military & veteran families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital.”

Fisher House Foundation

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What they do:

Fisher House Foundation builds homes that are nearby to military medical centers to allow the families of hospitalized soldiers to heal together in a safe, inviting space. The houses include private suites, common areas, and gourmet kitchens, with the most important feature being, of course, the quick access to nearby hospitals. They have also expanded their programs to include scholarships for children of veterans, and Hero Miles that assist in travel expenses. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since 1990, Fisher House Foundation has housed over 455,000 military members and their families, saving them over $575 million. Their efforts have continued to increase in recent years. For example, in 2022, more than 25,000 families stayed in Fisher Houses, and they awarded scholarships to over 12,000 children of veterans. Also, their Hotels for Heroes and Hero Miles programs have saved military families nearly $121 million in hotel and flight costs since their inception.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Fisher House Foundation via their website. You can also donate air miles and hotel points via their website to be used by families.

Homes for Our Troops: Rebuilding Lives

Logo for Homes for Our Troops

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Their transparency & ratings:

Homes for Our Troops holds a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. Charity Watch also gives them an A Grade and reports an 84% program expense rate.

“To build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.”

Homes for Our Troops

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What they do:

Homes for Our Troops builds custom homes for severely injured post-9/11 soldiers with accessibility upgrades such as wide doorways, pull-down cabinets, roll-in showers, and any other unique modifications the soldier and their families require at no cost to them. Veterans never pay any money for their homes, and the nonprofit also provides financial planners and homeownership education to ensure they can maintain their quality of life in these new homes.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Homes for Our Troops has built over 350 specially adapted homes across the country. Soldiers and their families that have received homes have reported increases in employment success, financial stability, and less household stress than before they received their new homes. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Homes for Our Troops via their website. You can also attend a build event to help welcome injured soldiers and their families to their new homes! 

The Gary Sinise Foundation: We Can Always Do a Little More

Logo for The Gary Sinise Foundation

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Gary Sinise Foundation holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator with a 93% Transparency Rating. Charity Watch reports that 87% of their expenses are spent on programs, earning them an A rating.

“We serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, & those in need.”

Gary Sinise Foundation 

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What they do:

The Gary Sinise Foundation operates programs that give injured soldiers specially adapted homes and vehicles, help to pay for bills and necessities, and support the families of fallen soldiers. They also host an array of music and social events to honor the sacrifices of service members, while also giving them an opportunity to connect with their communities. For example, the R.I.S.E. program builds specially adapted smart homes that allow severely injured veterans to live more independently. Another program, the Snowball Express, brings together the surviving family members of fallen soldiers to continue giving back after their loved ones’ ultimate sacrifice. Finally, the H.O.P.E. initiative supports injured veterans and their families with assistance with bills, groceries, and any other small financial hurdles. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, the Gary Sinise Foundation has built 84 specially adapted smart homes, modified 99 existing homes, and provided 63 adapted vehicles to injured veterans. They have also hosted 297 concerts and have totaled over 82,000 attendees at their Invincible Spirit Festivals.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Gary Sinise Foundation via their website. You can also help host a fundraiser in your community to spread their message.

Operation Second Chance: Helping Heroes Move On

Logo for Operation Second Chance

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Their transparency & ratings:

Operation Second Chance is well recognized for their transparency, holding both a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator with a 99% Transparency Rating, and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Seek, create awareness, and assist our nation’s heroes indefinitely so not one combat wounded injured, and ill Veteran in need of assistance and healing is left behind”

Operation Second Chance

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What they do:

Operation Second Chance operates programs to support injured veterans by way of hospital visits following injury, direct financial assistance, hosting social events and retreats to promote community and positive morale, and awarding scholarships to the children of veterans in need. They further offer a detailed list of resources to connect wounded veterans with trusted service providers, and partner with other veteran-focused nonprofits to address every potential need for injured veterans and their families.

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What they’ve achieved:

Operation Second Chance has expanded their capabilities from simple acts such as hospital visits and grocery shopping to life-changing work such as paying for veterans’ expensive medical bills or helping with mortgage payments. For example, in 2022, they provided $1.6 million in assistance to 750 military members and their families. They also provided specific assistance by covering car payments for 30 military families and paying utility bills for a further 40 families

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Operation Second Chance via their website. You can also volunteer to get involved in a number of different ways depending on your background!

Wheelchairs for Warriors: Join the Mission

Logo for Wheelchairs for Warriors

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Their transparency & ratings:

Wheelchairs for Warriors holds a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, and a 4-star Rating from Charity Navigator.

“Wheelchairs for Warriors provides custom wheelchairs to injured veterans and first responders that are engineered to each recipient’s individual needs and capabilities, allowing for mobility and independence at the highest level possible.”

Wheelchairs for Warriors

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What they do:

Wheelchairs for Warriors works with wheelchair-using veterans to develop custom-fit chairs for their unique needs that cannot be obtained through traditional providers. When injured veterans are supplied with substandard wheelchairs, it can lead to high stress, depression, and even suicide as they struggle to adapt to their condition. The wheelchairs, which average $12,000, do not cost the veterans as they are paid for through grants and individual contributions.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Wheelchairs for Warriors has delivered custom wheelchairs to two dozen severely injured veterans. In addition to their primary program, they also host awareness-building events such as their Car Show Extravaganza, and the founders have been featured on local news in the communities they have served. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Wheelchairs for Warriors via their website.

Wounded Warrior Project: To Honor and Empower Wounded Warriors

Logo for Wounded Warrior Project

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Wounded Warrior Project was rocked by a financial misappropriation scandal in 2016, leading to the ousting of the CEO and COO who had replaced the founder, John Melia. Since this tumultuous period, their new leadership has made significant, verifiable improvements to their transparency and programs, which have been recognized by charity watchdog groups. 

They currently hold a 3-star Rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”

Wounded Warrior Project

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What they do:

The Wounded Warrior Project’s programs include support groups, mental health services, physical wellness activities, career counseling, help with receiving VA benefits, and providing caregivers to severely wounded veterans. These programs are focused on improving the quality of life for soldiers returning home, and aiding in their recovery from the visible and invisible wounds of war. For example, the Project Odyssey program helps veterans suffering from PTSD or depression to live normal lives using adventure-based learning to foster self-empowerment. They also host Soldier Ride events which bring veterans together to bond over physical activities such as biking with the assistance of adaptive equipment to accommodate their injuries. 

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What they’ve achieved:

The Wounded Warrior Project has continued to increase the reach of their programs year after year. For example, in 2022, they invested nearly $247 million in programs for veterans, secured $146.6 million in VA benefits for wounded military and their families, and provided over 54,000 hours of treatment for PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, substance use disorders, and military sexual trauma. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Wounded Warrior Project via their website. You can also participate in a variety of fundraising activity events hosted throughout the year.

Semper Fi & America’s Fund: Today. Tomorrow. Together.

Logo for Semper Fi & America’s Fund

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Their transparency & ratings:

Semper Fi & America’s Fund holds a 4-star Rating from Charity Navigator, an A+ rating from Charity Watch, and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We work to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Semper Fi & America’s Fund

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What they do:

Semper Fi & America’s Fund operates programs that offer direct financial assistance to injured veterans and their families, physical and mental therapy, education support, and career assistance to prepare them for their post-military lives. The Service Member and Family Support program offers tailored financial assistance including bedside support, help with transportation and housing, adaptive equipment, and many other specific needs of injured veterans. They also operate the Integrative Wellness Program that applies a holistic approach to long-term health, encouraging the healing of mental wounds as well as physical ones. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Semper Fi & America’s Fund has provided over $282 million in assistance to over 28 thousand service members. Their impact continues to grow today. For example, in 2022, they increased the number of service members assisted by 20% compared to 2021, and 1,825 service members were first-time grant recipients.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Semper Fi & America’s Fund via their website. You can also help host an event, or volunteer your time as a community athlete!

K9s for Warriors: Service Dogs for Veterans

Logo for K9s for Warriors

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Their transparency & ratings:

K9s for Warriors holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, as well as a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“K9s for Warriors is the nation’s largest veteran service organization focused on providing highly trained Service Dogs to Warriors. Our program is focused on mitigating the debilitating symptoms of service-connected traumas.”

K9s for Warriors

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What they do:

K9s for Warriors matches veterans with trained service dogs to support their healing after returning home. Selected dogs are typically rescued from high-kill shelters and experience six months of training to become certified service animals. Veterans fill out an application and undergo a series of interviews so trained staff can better understand the veteran’s disability, family, and personality. When matched with a service dog, both the veteran and the dog spend three weeks on the charity’s campus to build a bond and receive further personalized training. In addition, the charity researches the positive impact of service dogs on veterans in order to shape public policy to prevent veteran suicide.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, K9s for Warriors has matched over 700 service dogs with veterans suffering from mental health conditions and has rescued over 1,500 dogs from shelters. 82% of veterans who participated in their programs reported a decline in suicidal thoughts, and 92% reported a reduction or elimination of prescription medications. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to K9s for Warrior via their website. You can also donate a puppy or a dog as well as sponsor a dog to go through service training. 

Blinded Veterans Association: Serving Blinded Veterans

Logo for Blinded Veterans Association

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Blinded Veterans Association holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“BVA continually strives to better the lives of all who served in the Armed Forces living with sight loss through: expert advocacy, engaged membership, clear communication and peer inspired self-reliance.”

Blinded Veterans Association

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What they do:

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) supports blinded veterans with programs that foster empowerment and independence through adaptive recreation activities, advocacy for adaptive medical technologies for veterans, and connecting newly blinded veterans with certified BVA ambassadors. For example, Team BVA is the association’s premier outreach program that organizes adaptive activities such as skiing trips, hunting retreats, or golf tournaments for blinded veterans. The VetTech program seeks to advocate for accessibility to adaptive technology and freely available education for visually-impaired veterans so they know what technologies may be available to them. Finally, the BVA Ambassador program connects blinded veterans with a liaison to help them get the most from BVA Veterans Service Programs. All ambassadors complete training at a Blinded Rehabilitation Center.

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What they’ve achieved:

The Blinded Veterans Association has won major victories on behalf of blind and visually impaired veterans since their inception nearly 80 years ago. For example, in 2007, they successfully advocated for the growth of the VA Visual Impairment Team which led to additional outpatient and inpatient services becoming available to veterans. Today, there are now over 100 Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialists operating at VA Polytrauma Centers across the country. They have also successfully advocated for the creation of the VA Vision Center of Excellence in 2008, and the Defense Eye Injury Vision Registry to assist blind veterans in transitioning back to civilian life. In 2010, they also successfully advocated for legislation that eliminated medical care co-payments for catastrophically disabled blinded veterans who are nonservice-connected. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Blinded Veterans Association via their website. You can also help by setting up a social media fundraiser or donating a car you no longer need.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that support disabled veterans. 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. The 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.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • 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 disabled veterans – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Eli

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:

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