From the CEO | Fall 2018
300! Two weeks ago, we partnered with our 300th SEAL as he began the endless journey of transitioning from the SEAL Teams. Reaching that milestone is no small feat and it would have been impossible without the support of you – our network, our mentors, our family. So, on behalf of the Brotherhood, their families and the Seal Future Foundation, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
With that being said we have so much more to do. With hundreds of SEALs transitioning out every year, and thousands who have previously transitioned, it is on us to provide the much needed and previously nonexistent resources and local community around the country. And we provide those resources and community not for the duration of one semester, or the course of one treatment but for life because as any veteran will tell you, transition never ends.
Many ask how we are different from other non-profits and the answer is simple. The SEAL Future Foundation was created by SEALs and will always be for SEALs. The programs we create are tailored towards the unique circumstances of transitioning SEALs and were formed from the failures, missteps and successes of their brethren. No two SEALs are the same and each one needs a custom transition plan to help him navigate the murky waters of change. Our biggest differentiator is that we create a purposeful national community to support transition, a family comprised of local communities. It is our vision that each local community which we a call a Forward Operating Base (FOB) be self-sustaining and prepared to receive every generation of frogmen. When we are asked what we need from supporters, our answer is very simple: we want your time. We are not focused on soliciting your money or putting on extravagant fundraising events but instead we focus our energies on empowering each supporter in building a locally run community, however one sees fit, with purpose and passion. Although our mission is to help the transitioning SEAL find his next purposeful role after service we recognize having lived the transition ourselves, that for transition to be successful each SEAL needs to be surrounded and supported by his former colleagues AND his civilian friends from this new community, united in service, through the FOB. Building community for the SEAL Teams is how we are different, that is what we do!
The hardest thing I have ever done is transition from the SEAL Teams and for those who know me, know that I am on my second attempt and this transition has been exponentially more difficult than the first. Here is the thing: I am not the outlier! I know countless other men who have come back into service when they didn’t want to, are on their fifth job doing work that they don’t want to do but have to do and are suffering in silence. NO MORE! We owe it to ourselves, to our families, to our friends, to our teammates and to society to figure it out and to continue to crush like we did in the SEAL teams and the only way we are going to do that is the only way we know how, in a team environment. We can’t do this alone.
For the Team Guys out there, know that you are not alone in your struggles. Your predecessors have all gone through what you are going through and have thought your thoughts, felt your pains and have gone to that dark place. Leverage them, leverage the SFF FOBs, leverage the SFF and leverage our partners. We are here for you, 24/7. I promise you that this organization is working day and night to fill the void you have after you left the Teams and to create that community outside of the Teams that we should have long ago had. We are here and will never turn our back on a deserving brother. We exist to serve you and our resources are yours!
God Bless and Long Live the Brotherhood,
The Third Quarter of 2018 was an eventful period for the SFF – with two new FOBs launched in Chicago and Seattle and five major community building events in Denver, Tri-Cities WA, the New York City area and New England. All events were successful in raising awareness of our mission and building community for SEALs and as usual, we are already witnessing jobs and other opportunities resulting from friendships made at these events.
Demand for SFF services continues to increase steadily each month and the SFF experienced a 10% increase in the number of new SEALs joining the SFF per month compared to the previous quarter. During the third quarter the SFF welcomed 35 SEALs into our programs and as of September 30th we are proud to support 301 SEALs since inception.
WARRIOR HEALTH NETWORK
We announced a new Warrior Health Network Program this quarter and we are proud to have connected 7 former SEALs with life changing (and possibly life saving) treatments for service-connected brain injuries. The SFF does not provide wellness evaluation and care, but instead partners with best-in-class wellness providers and nonprofit organizations who provide wellness evaluation and care. We are proud to partner with the Brain Treatment Foundation for brain health. Due to reasons that are mostly cultural, SEALs often do not seek treatment for injuries sustained in training and combat. Each SEAL’s Primary SFF Mentor is a trusted confident who is often the first to recognize when a SEAL is struggling and therefore is best positioned to be a health advocate to provide education on the options available and make connections. The Warrior Health Network program is important because we recognize that helping a SEAL find his purpose and passion as a civilian is equal in importance to ensuring that each SEAL is mentally, physically and spiritually well. We know through experience that without an overall state of wellness, transition will be difficult and sometimes impossible for many SEALs.
2018 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
In September we began to review the applications to our Degree, Executive and Certificate Scholarship Program, which closed on August 31. From a pool of over 70 applicants, 25 finalists were chosen for consideration by the Scholarship Committee. As usual, the finalists were an impressive group and the median documented funding need to pursue education is $45,000 per person, after considering all financial assistance and scholarships received from other sources. We are in the process of notifying recipients and we regret that with a $150,000 budget for scholarships, we will not be able to support each of the 25 finalists with a $10,000 scholarship grant. We are grateful for our continued partnership with the SEAL Family Foundation, which generously provides the SFF with a $100,000 grant to support our scholarship program. Without the Family Foundation we would not be able to give as much as we do. However, we are saddened that we are not able to financially support all deserving SEALs because of inadequate funding. We are grateful to all who have supported us over the years, but our fight is not over to raise the financial resources to provide critical support to deserving SEALs who have made too many sacrifices to struggle financially through transition.
For those who would like to celebrate community with us in person, we are proud to announce our two last major events of the season, the Desert Shooting Event on October 20 and the Specter Event on October 25-26, both in San Diego. Please click on the links in the preceding sentence for more information and to register – tickets are still available for both events. We hope to see you soon!