Got Your 6’s Veterans Civic Health Index Confirms Value of Veterans in Strengthening Communities

Sociological examination of veterans confirms higher rates of voting, volunteering, and civic engagement

WASHINGTON (Sept. 29, 2016) – The veteran empowerment campaign Got Your 6 today unveiled the latest findings of its annual Veterans Civic Health Index, a major study that confirms significant and positive trends in levels of civic engagement among veterans. As the nation approaches Election Day, Got Your 6’s findings provide tangible evidence that veterans volunteer, engage with local governments and community organizations, vote, and help neighbors, all at rates higher than their non-veteran counterparts.

Findings from the report were highlighted this morning at an event titled “Veterans: America’s Greatest Assets” at SiriusXM’s Washington, D.C. studios. The event featured panels moderated by SiriusXM POTUS Channel 124 host Jared Rizzi and included Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald, co-chairs of the Congressional Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Got Your 6 Executive Director Bill Rausch, among others.

Among other data points, the 2016 Veterans Civic Health Index found:

  • Voting – 73.8 percent of veterans always or sometimes vote in local elections, versus 57 percent of non-veterans.
  • Service – Veteran volunteers serve an average of 169 hours annually – more than four full workweeks. Non-veteran volunteers serve about 25% fewer hours annually.
  • Civic Involvement – 11 percent of veterans attended a public meeting in the last year, versus 8.2 percent of non-veterans.
  • Community Engagement – 10.7 percent of veterans worked with their neighbors to fix community problems, compared to 7.6 percent of non-veterans.

The full report is available here.

“This report shows that by investing in our country’s veterans we’re really investing in our communities” said Rausch. “The Veterans Civic Health Index continues to be shared as a tool to increase understanding, eliminate misconceptions, and empower veterans as they return home. Now, as our nation prepares to vote in November, this report serves as an indispensable annual metric for evaluating the veteran empowerment movement.”

“I’m thankful to Got Your 6 for putting this study together which proves what many of us inherently know to be true: that veterans are engaged members of their communities. To them, service does not end when the uniform comes off; it often means being a leader in their community, a dutiful employee, a coveted neighbor and a civic asset,” said Sec. McDonald. “A sense of purpose lasts a lifetime. Our nation is stronger because of its veterans.”

“Contrary to the misguided stereotype that veterans have difficulty coping when they re-enter civilian life, this report confirms what many veterans already know: veterans continue to impact their communities in positive and significant ways after leaving the military. Veterans are not a population that requires services, but a population that continues to serve our nation,” said Rep. Perry, co-chair of the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus.

“This report underscores what so many of us see and experience every day: when our veterans return to civilian life, their mission of service doesn’t end. Whether it’s running for local office, volunteering in their communities, exercising their right and responsibility to vote, and so much more, our veterans continue to give back and serve our communities long after they leave the military. With roughly 500 veterans reentering civilian life every day, this report highlights the many ways our veterans continue to serve, and the responsibility we have to support and empower them,” said Rep. Gabbard, co-chair of the Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus.

“It is important to recognize how civic health is entwined with many of the social and political issues that are top of mind for Americans today,” said VCHI author and Got Your 6 Director of Strategy Julia Tivald. “As the VCHI reports, civic engagement is vital for strong communities, and veterans – through their consistently high engagement – are strengthening communities at higher rates than their non-veteran peers. As we search for solutions to some of our country’s most pressing issues, we should look to veterans who are continuing to lead in their communities, and also follow their example by engaging alongside them.”

Listen to “Veterans: America’s Greatest Assets” on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124 Friday, Sept. 30 at 2pm ET and Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1pm and 9pm ET.

The report also features a detailed examination of the city of Baltimore, Md., demonstrating that local veterans volunteer more than local nonveterans (30.7 percent versus 27.2 percent), participate in civic organizations (20.7 percent versus 7.3 percent), and vote at higher rates in local elections (75.8 percent v 61.2 percent).

Got Your 6 is a campaign that unites nonprofit, Hollywood, and government partners to empower America’s military veterans. Working in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and American Express – which invests in projects that provide community members with meaningful volunteer and civic engagement opportunities – Got Your 6 developed the Veterans Civic Health Index by examining data from the 2014 Census Current Population Survey (CPS), Volunteering Supplement, and Voting Supplement.

Civic health, defined as a community’s capacity to work together to resolve collective problems, has been shown to positively impact local GDP, public health, upward income mobility, and has other benefits that strengthen communities. By releasing this annual study, Got Your 6 and its partners aim to eliminate common misconceptions about veterans, while highlighting the civic strength of America’s returning servicemen and women.

Around a quarter of a million veterans return to communities across the nation each year, and Got Your 6 celebrates this as an enormous opportunity for the nation. Upon their return home, veterans should be met with high expectations and encouraged to continue their service in meaningful ways. Got Your 6 will use the 2016 Veterans Civic Health Index to create a new dialogue in America, one that explores the unique experiences of America’s veterans, in efforts to foster understanding between veterans and civilians and build stronger communities.

About Got Your 6
Got Your 6 is a national campaign dedicated to empowering veterans and strengthening communities across the nation. The campaign unites cross-sector partners who believe that veterans are uniquely suited to tackle society’s most pressing challenges. Got Your 6 believes that veterans are best served when they continue their service here at home. As a coalition, Got Your 6 integrates these perspectives into popular culture, brings together veterans and non-veterans in order to foster understanding, and empowers veterans to lead a resurgence of community here at home.

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress. Key links to products, services, and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, Plenti rewards program, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.

About The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation is one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States. The Foundation provides approximately $100 million in annual grants to nonprofits that provide direct services to low-income and vulnerable individuals and families, primarily in the United States and Israel. Grants are focused on meeting basic needs and enabling individuals to live as independently as possible. Within that focus, emphasis is placed on serving older adults and the Jewish community. Among its areas of giving, the Foundation supports organizations committed to ensuring that military members and their families effectively reintegrate into their communities.

About the National Conference on Citizenship
The National Conference on Citizenship is a congressionally chartered organization dedicated to strengthening civic life in America. We pursue our mission through a nationwide network of partners involved in a cutting-edge civic health initiative and innovative national service project, and our cross-sector conferences. At the core of our joint efforts is the belief that every person has the ability to help their community and country thrive.

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