Move America Forward

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Move America Forward
MAF LOGO.png
Formation 2004
Founders Sal Russo, Howard Kaloogian, Melanie Morgan
Type Nonprofit
Purpose Support United States Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan
Headquarters Sacramento, California
Website www.moveamericaforward.org

Move America Forward is a nonprofit military charity based in Sacramento, California. Howard Kaloogian, Melanie Morgan and Sal Russo established the organization in 2004.[1] The organization supports front-line United States Armed Forces troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.[2][3]

History

Move America Forward volunteers sorting materials to put in care packages.

Sal Russo, Melanie Morgan and Howard Kaloogian formed Move America Forward in 2004.[2]

In 2005, the organization took its first trip to Iraq called Voices of Soldiers tour.[4][5] Soldiers were interviewed to share their stories in the success in the fight against terrorism during the trip.[4] That August, Move America Forward sponsored a You don't speak for me, Cindy! tour to counter Cindy Sheehan's protest at President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch and the vigils held in her support.[6] The following year, Move America Forward sponsored Trip Gold Star, the organization’s second trip to Iraq.[7] The trip to Kurdistan, including Gold Star Moms, was for the parents of fallen American soldiers to see where their sons and daughters made the ultimate sacrifice.[7] That year, the organization introduced its Care package for the troops program.[8][9] The program sends care packages including coffee, cookies, beef jerky, Gatorade, and other requested items to troops year around.[10][11]

Move America Forward held its first "Honoring our Heroes at the Holidays" national bus tour in 2007.[12] The tour traveled to over 40 cities in the United States and collected over 200,000 Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday cards for American troops.[12] That year, a third trip to Iraq was led by spokeswoman Debbie Lee. The Move America Forward delegation visited troops in Ramadi, at Camp Marc Lee named after Debbie Lee's son, the first Navy SEAL to be killed in the war in Iraq.[13] In 2008, Move America Forward sent a delegation to Guantanamo Bay to thank troops for their service.[14] The trip was organized by Kylie Williams, the official ambassador for veterans' advocacy for the State of Florida.[14] The second Honoring our Heroes at the Holidays national bus tour collected over 200,000 cards that year.[15] That year, Move America Forward hosted the first Troopathon, an online fundraiser, to raise money to send care packages to troops.[16]

K9 Care Packages, a program to support military working dogs and their handlers, was launched by the organization in October 2011.[17] Move America Forward was named "Top-rated Nonprofit" by Great Nonprofits in 2014.[18] That March, the Rogers Family Company donated coffee and tea to Move America Forward for troops.[19] Stag Arms partnered with the organization for the 2014 Troopathon in July.[20]

Policies and Programs

Care packages ready for shipping.

The organization annually hosts "Troopathon," an 8-hour live online broadcast to help send packages to American troops.[16] Past guests have included Jon Voight, Tammy Bruce, Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Miller, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Sean Hannity, Duke University's "Coach K" Mike Krzyzewski, Pat Sajak, Buzz Aldrin, Mike Huckabee, Gene Simmons, Gary Sinise and John Ratzenberger.[16][21]

The organization has campaigned in support of John R. Bolton and restricting the distribution of Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 911.[22] The organization protested William Ayers' speech at St. Mary's College in Moraga, California[23]and has protested against the Lafayette hillside memorial.[24]

In a partnership with the Jelly Belly Company, Move America Forward introduced a program where soldiers would receive specially wrapped 2 oz. bags of jelly bellies to use as gift to the native people they were in contact on a daily basis with.[25][26] Each specially marked package displays these words in English, Arabic, and Pashto language: "A gift from the America People in hope that your country will one day enjoy the freedom and opportunities that we have in the United States."[25][26]

Controversy

Ratings

Move America Forward received a 0 out of 4 star rating from Charity Navigator.[27] Guidestar rated the organization 4 out of 5 stars.[28]

In 2014, ProPublica, a left-wing media outlet, released a report accusing Move America Forward of giving a percentage of its donations went to for-profit companies run by people affiliated with Tea Party Express.[27][29][8] Move America Forward responded to each allegation in the piece.[30]

References

  1. ^ "Calif. Gov. Davis Faces Recall Effort". 17 June 2003. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b John Stauber (20 July 2007). "Pro-War PR Front, Move America Forward, Caravanning to DC". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Carla Marinucci (14 June 2004). "Conservatives launch pre-emptive strike against documentary critical of Bush / 'Fahrenheit 9/11' called propaganda". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "The Final Chapter of My Trip To Iraq". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Mark Walker (30 June 2005). "Kaloogian headed to Iraq". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Jim Robinson (18 August 2005). "Supporters of U.S. Involvement in Iraq Plan Caravans to Texas". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Nora K. Wallace (23 January 2006). "Lompoc mom hopes to honor son's memory in trip to Iraq". Santa Barbara (Cal.) News-Press. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Ed Morrissey (5 August 2014). "Move America Forward responds to Pro Publica report". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  9. ^ John Heiner (12 August 2009). "Move America Forward". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Depot Park Hosts the 5th Annual Troop-A-Thon". 30 July 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Want to support our troops?". 28 March 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Christie Garton (27 May 2011). "Honoring our heroes this Memorial Day". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  13. ^ "Troopathon 7 2014". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "Pro-Troop Group Brings Holiday Cheer to Gitmo Troops". 19 December 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "MAF Honoring Heroes". 17 December 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c Jonathan Salazar (10 June 2014). "MOVE AMERICA FORWARD AND BREITBART NEWS TO TEAM UP FOR 7TH ANNUAL TROOPATHON". 
  17. ^ "Local Hero – Supporting the Troops’ Best Friends". 1 December 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "Move America Forward". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Rogers Family Company donates gourmet coffee and tea to troops in partnership with Move America Forward". 31 May 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Stag Arms Helps Raise Funds For Overseas Troops During Troopathon 7". 31 July 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "Mission". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Iraq war backers proudly pugnacious; Four Iraq War Vets Detained at Pentagon". 6 September 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  23. ^ "Protesters outraged by Bill Ayres at St. Mary’s College, but the show will go on". 27 January 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Protest or Appropriation: Pro-War Rally Lafayette Crosses Pt 3 & 4". 19 March 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  25. ^ a b "Exposures: I Care: Gifts bring comfort, help troops make friends". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  26. ^ a b "Exposures: I Care: Gifts bring comfort, help troops make friends". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  27. ^ a b Kim Barker (5 August 2014). "Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants’ Pockets". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  28. ^ "Move America Forward". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  29. ^ David Weigel. "The Pro-Troop Charity That Happens to Give Millions of Dollars to “Tea Party” Consultants". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  30. ^ Leon Wolf (11 August 2014). "Move America Forward Responds to ProPublica Allegations". Retrieved 1 November 2014. 

External links