Fisher House Foundation
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|Founder||Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher|
|Focus||Service members, veterans and their families|
|Method||Construction of comfortable temporary lodging facilities near military hospitals and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers|
|Kenneth Fisher, Chairman and CEO|
Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital it serves. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since inception, the program has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $400+ million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
Currently, Ken Fisher, Zachary’s grand-nephew continues the legacy and serves as the Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation.
The Fisher House program was founded in 1990, after Pauline Trost, wife of Admiral Carlisle Trost, former Chief of Naval Operations, made Zachary Fisher aware of the need for housing for military families during hospitalization of a loved one.
The Fisher’s entered into a “public-private partnership” with the government, who allowed Fisher to build on their land, and then the home was “gifted” back to the military, to operate in perpetuity. He helped ensure that families could have “a home away from home” enabling them to be a part of the healing process.
The organization has also covered death gratuity payments of $100,000 USD to families of soldiers killed in the line of duty, during government shut-downs. During the 16-day 2013 government shutdown they provided $750,000 in grants to 30 families.
Foundation mission statement
Fisher House Foundation, Inc. is an international, not-for-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for members of the military, veterans and their families. The Foundation builds comfort homes at military and VA medical centers and gifts them to the government. Other Quality of Life programs include the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs, ongoing assistance to Fisher Houses, scholarships, support for continuing rehabilitation initiatives, and individual assistance to members of the military and their families during a crisis.
|Fisher House Foundation - Building a Fisher House|
In 1991, the first Fisher House was opened, at the National Naval Medical Center (now Walter Reed Military Medical Center) in Bethesda, Maryland. President and Mrs. Bush joined Zachary Fisher, and his wife Elizabeth, to dedicate the house.
Zach and Elizabeth continued to use their own money to build additional homes – one for the Army at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC; one for the Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Today, there are 76 Fisher Houses in operation, in the United States and Germany, with partnerships with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Help for Hero's, to open UK housing. Other locations have grown and expanded, from the original square footage, in order to not turn away those in need.
Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. The average stay of a family at the centers is nine days, but the longest stay is three years.
Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and children of fallen and disabled veterans.
According to the organizations website in 2013, it has served more than 180,000 current and former military families in its history, with an estimated 19,000 served in 2012. It also estimates that it has saved military families close to $200 million USD in lodging and transportation costs. Other estimates in 2018, state that the organization has served 335,000 families since 1990 and saved families $407 million USD.
Over the years the Fisher House Foundation has partnered with other foundations, organizations, and companies in order, to raise money, stock the homes, and help those at the homes and military families. Some of those include;
- Newman's Own
- Fuzzy's Vodka
- National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)
- Hope for the Warriors
- Food Lion Feeds
- Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill
- WalMart [Operation: Deck the Walls]
In 2018, the foundation was recognized as the top charity for supporting the military, veterans and their families, based on accountability, transparency and financial reports. Charity Navigator, a US charity rating agency, has designated the foundation with a four star rating for 14 straight years in 2017.
- MD, Robert Glatter,. "Fisher House Foundation: Helping Military Families In Time Of Need". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Sisk, Richard (2018-01-22). "Fisher House to Provide Military Death Benefits During Shutdown". Military.com. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Times-Dispatch, BRIDGET BALCH Richmond. "Fisher House at McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center doubling capacity for no-cost housing". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Foundation, Fisher House. "Fisher House Foundation Reaches 8 Million Nights of Lodging". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- "Fisher House - Walter Reed National Military Medical Center". www.wrnmmc.capmed.mil. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Leval, Dave (September 10, 2018). "Fisher House opens doors to more military families". KTVA; The Voice of Alaska. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- CNN, By Greg Botelho,. "Fisher House steps up for military families, yet again - CNN". CNN. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Jowers, Karen (2018-10-10). "'We just need each other': These five charities were honored for their work to help veterans". Military Times. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Unilever. "Suave and Fisher House Foundation Announce Partnership in Support of Military and Veterans' Families". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- "Fuzzy's Vodka Partners with Fisher House Foundation". www.fisherhouse.org. March 11, 2017. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- Murphy, Kaitlin (August 7, 2017). "NFL Players Association - NFLPA Announces Partnership with Fisher House Foundation". www.nflpa.com. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- Affairs, MC3 Joshua M. Tolbert Naval Support Activity Headquarters Hampton Roads Public. "Hope For The Warriors and Food Lion Feeds partners with The Fisher House to provide service members with holiday meals". Military News. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- DelBrocco, Angela (2015). "Smokey Bones to Host Fisher House Foundation Partnership Launch Event". Smokey Bones. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- "[Public Affairs] Samsung and Fisher House Foundation - Samsung US Newsroom". Samsung US Newsroom. 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- "Wal-Mart Partners with Minneapolis Fisher House to Spread Holiday Cheer to Military Families". corporate.walmart.com. 2007. Retrieved 2018-11-10.
- "Fisher House Foundation recently voted top rate charity for supporting the military, veterans and their families". Association of the United States Army. 2018-08-02. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
- Foundation, Fisher House. "FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION RECEIVES 14TH CONSECUTIVE 4-STAR RATING FROM CHARITY NAVIGATOR". GlobeNewswire News Room. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
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