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Florida Veterans Foundation Says it Will Close After State Cuts Funding

March 13th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

Florida likes to call itself the most veteran friendly state in the country, but after state lawmakers  defunded a program, which serves 1.5 million veterans in the state, it’s becoming less friendly.

 

The Florida Veteran’s Foundation has less than 5 employees and uses 90% of it’s  money towards helping veterans in the state.

Retired US Navy Commander Dennis Baker runs the Florida Veterans Foundation.

He says the foundation’s main goal is to connect veterans with other agencies, to make sure they’re getting all the benefits for which they qualify.

 

“We serve all veterans. We serve pre-9-11, post-9-11, any age, any service. We take care of them all,” said Baker.

The program was able to help veterans access $8 million in Federal funds in one county alone. Baker estimates the foundation has the potential to bring in $500 million statewide.

 

“We’re a connector a collaborator with other agencies… to provide services globally to the state,” said Baker. “We serve 1.5 million veterans.”

Funding the foundation was a top priority for the Veteran’s Caucus.

 

“We’re going to fight to raise awareness on these important issues, because even the best initiatives can have a challenge,” said Rep. Danny Burgess, Vice Chair of the Veterans Caucus.

Initially, the foundation asked for $350,000, and eventually cut their request in half. Ultimately, they got nothing.

 

“It’s glorious, it’s wonderful to do these things. It’s heartbreaking to not… you know… get what I think we deserve to continue on,” said Baker.

Without funding, the foundation says it will have to shut down by the end of June, unless it finds another revenue source to keep it afloat until next session.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Foundation, go to FloridaVeteransFoundation.org and click donate.

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