As we begin to close the door on 2020, a year for the record books, Home Front Military Network would like to take a moment to reflect on our first year as a merged organization. For HFMN, 2020 was a year of unity, flexibility, resourcefulness, strength, and hope.
Two local nonprofits, The Home Front Cares (THFC) and Peak Military Care Network (PMCN) officially merged on January 1st, 2020, forming Home Front Military Network (HFMN).
The goal of the merger was to completely unify and capitalize on each organizations’ strengths. This determination was considered in all brand development—from Home Front Military Network’s name, to our logo, to our brand colors, and even down to our mission statement. Word for word, we incorporated elements from both THFC and PMCN to create the new branding.
But we didn’t stop there.
We continued to offer all the same services each organization specialized in, including THFC’s emergency financial assistance and their Welcome Home Heroes program and PMCN’s holistic resource coordination and collaborative partner agency network.
HFMN purposefully selected LTG (Ret) Ed Anderson as HFMN’s first Chairman of the Board of Directors, not only because he is a strategic and thoughtful leader with notable experience, but also because LTG (Ret) Anderson has served as Chairman of the Board for both The Home Front Cares and Peak Military Care Network in the past.
Anderson knew and understood both organizations individually, so it seemed fitting that he was the right person to lead them as a combined entity during this transition year.
We also ensured that an equal number of representatives from THFC and PMCN’s boards were selected to serve on HFMN’s Board of Directors.
Most importantly, while we moved into one office building, updated our phone systems, and started working as a unit—we continued to help the service members, veterans and their families who called for assistance.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started gaining momentum, HFMN reacted and adapted. Fortunately, the vast majority of our interactions with clients already occurred over the phone or through email. Therefore, HFMN relatively seamlessly pivoted to remote work.
While we could operate (somewhat) as usual, we were still coping with the task of understanding the constantly changing COVID guidelines, applying to relief funds and grants as they became available and recognizing this new “normal” was not going away any time soon.
With all these variables and stressors, the one factor that bound our team together was serving our clients. Our staff tirelessly kept answering calls and helping clients navigate services, when even 90% of calls for assistance in April were due to a COVID-related hardship. Our staff also learned to shift outreach efforts to virtual platforms by posting COVID-related resources and information on our social media accounts, and sought additional funding to meet the increasing need.
Since January, HFMN has assisted more than 2,500 service members, veterans and their families and provided more than $285,000 in financial assistance grants. Our services have helped a disabled veteran gain stable housing after fleeing an abusive relationship, prevented a disabled veteran and family of 5 from becoming homeless, and helped clients affected by COVID-19 find resources, including decreasing stress and uncertainty while increasing financial stability.
Because of Home Front Military Network’s flexibility and our dedication to clients, we never paused our mission.
Throughout this year, our partner network has been a significant source of strength. We have shared the load of cases and challenges alongside them, while offering support and collaboration to improve the collective impact however we can.
HFMN facilitates a collaborative network of partner agencies who together provide a myriad of services to meet the holistic needs of the individual, including advocacy, behavioral health, benefits assistance, caregiver support, education, employment, family services, financial assistance, housing assistance, physical health, reintegration, social services, and substance abuse.
Through our partners we build community, and in community there is strength.
As social distancing restrictions tightened across the nation, HFMN had to cancel two major fundraising events. Being a nonprofit, Home Front Military Network depends on events as one of its core fundraising strategies.
Fundraising and outreach events also provide invaluable outreach and opportunities to build awareness by sharing HFMN’s mission with our community and potentially to those who need us most.
With the cancellation of two major fundraisers and loss of several outreach events, we found ourselves with the possibility of losing critical funding for 2021, which could have impacted the level of support and assistance we are able offer our clients.
Realizing this, HFMN began seeking methods for virtual events and outreach.
Thanks to the resourcefulness of our Event Committee members, we partnered with Colorado Community E-Sports and hosted our very first video game tournament. In fact, it was the first charitable video game tournament in Colorado. A fun, completely virtual, family-friendly event, we characterized the tournament as a success and intend to host another one in the late winter/early spring of 2021.
In previous years, in November we would host a breakfast event at The Broadmoor International Center. Yet again, it became increasingly clear that HFMN would not be able to host the event like we used to, if at all, because of social distancing restrictions.
But thanks to the media sponsorship of Fox21 News and the efforts of our Event Committee, staff and Board of Directors we were able to host the event completely virtually. Thanks to our Silver Star, Bronze Star, Red, White and Blue sponsors and all of the individual donors, Home Front Military Network was able to raise more than $85,000 to go directly into supporting our military and veteran community.
Speaking of outreach, we actively sought ways we could reach those who might not know about us. Since the beginning of the year, HFMN has produced two public service announcements through our partnership with Denver Channel 7 and Fox21 News and appeared on “Living Local” segments on four separate occasions.
We have also attended, presented, and participated in numerous outreach events, some in-person (following the current guidelines) and most virtually. Through these methods, we have been able to communicate our mission and purpose to over 3,400 individuals.
As we look ahead to 2021, Home Front Military Network’s ultimate goal for the new year is to build on the foundation we set in 2020.
2021 will be an opportunity for us to synthesize what worked well in 2020 and identify how we can further our reach and impact in the lives of our military members, veterans and their families.
We will continue refining our programs and services for our partners and clients. We will continue to be flexible and adaptable—but armed with more information.
We are Home Front Military Network and we bring HOPE and HELP our heroes.
Spoken by a HFMN Former Client
“Thank you for all your help with the resources. It is nice to know that my military assistance didn’t just stop when my military career ended. May God Bless everything that you and your organization affiliates yourselves with.”
–Pamela Nava, U.S. Veteran