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October 20, 2014

New Pittsburgh Initiative Aims to Improve Access to Services and Resources for Veterans and their Families

New Pittsburgh Initiative Aims to Improve Access to Services and Resources for Veterans and their Families

Pittsburgh’s leading nonprofit organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, and corporations will convene at Google’s local Bakery Square headquarters tomorrow (Oct. 21, 2014) to launch an initiative led by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) and The Heinz Endowments to create a coordinated network of service providers that are committed to creating stronger, more efficient and accessible services for the region’s veterans and their families.

Enabled by a $50,000 planning grant from The Heinz Endowments, IVMF and participating public, private, and nonprofit organizations will work together during the next six months to conduct a needs analysis of available resources and services for veterans. A new provider network will then be developed that leverages services from all sectors to address the unique needs and characteristics of the Pittsburgh’s veteran community.

The IVMF was selected to lead this program following its success in developing a similar initiative in New York City, called NYC4RVets, which includes more than 50 providers from the public, private and independent sectors that work together to deliver services to veteran families in ways that are efficient, effective and sustainable. The Institute has achieved success in forging robust and effective community-based programs serving veterans and their families, including leveraging its technical expertise to help over 20 nonprofit organizations in New York State to secure $26 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in July 2013, providing support services for nearly 7,000 at-risk veterans and their families.

An estimated one million veterans are resident in southwestern Pennsylvania’s 10-county region and Allegheny County leads the way with the largest concentration of veterans in the state who are faced with navigating numerous organizations providing support. Currently, there are approximately 170 organizations registered in Allegheny County that offer services targeting veterans and their families, ranging from housing subsidies, to employment support and mental health care.

“We have found that so many organizations operating in the veterans space creates confusion, frustration and uncertainty for those who are seeking support for themselves and their families,” said Megan Andros, The Heinz Endowments’ Program Officer specializing in veterans affairs. “In many instances, this is compounded by an unnecessary replication support services. We believe that many veterans are not connecting to the resources they need and this initiative is designed to help make our community better at understanding their needs and delivering services.”

Note to Editors:

Media representatives are invited to attend the launch of this initiative that is scheduled to run from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at Google Inc., 6425 Penn Avenue Suite 700, Floor #6, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Those planning to attend are requested to contact Becca Rutkoff at

For more information contact:

Jim McDonough, IVMF, at (315) 415-4050 or
Becca Rutkoff, Google at
John Ellis, The Heinz Endowments at (412) 338-2657 or

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)

The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families. Learn more about the IVMF at

About The Heinz Endowments

Based in Pittsburgh, The Heinz Endowments is one of the nation’s leading private foundations and works to advance a deep family commitment to community and the common good. The Endowments supports efforts to make southwestern Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work a center for learning and educational excellence, and a region that embraces diversity and inclusion. The Endowments’ total grantmaking in 2013 exceeded $75 million.

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