The Aurora Foundation is pleased to publish it first Annual Report. Over the past four years, our Board of Directors and volunteer staff members have all worked hard to identify the best way to support our veterans on campus. With a Focus on Retention and Graduation, the Foundation gives grants that create programs at colleges, universities, and community colleges. With a second Focus Area on helping veterans enter the workforce, Aurora’s Internship Program works with organizations in the public and private sectors to establish paid internships for student veterans. The hosting organization receives a grant that pays for the student veteran. You’ll see the results of our efforts in the Annual Report, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
As Aurora’s Founder and Chairman Tom DeWitt noted, “Today’s veteran on campus is not like those of the World War II era, when that generation had their college plans interrupted by a call to serve. No, today’s veteran is more likely to view education as a temporary stop between military service and entering America’s workforce as a civilian.” Getting a degree is not necessarily the goal. In fact, what studies we have show that somewhere between 10 and 30% of veterans on campus actually get their degree. Putting that in perspective with the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, funded at nearly $80 Billion, that’s a very low return on our taxpayer investment. DeWitt continued, “In today’s economy and workforce development, we need every skilled, certified, and degreed person to contribute their talents and leadership abilities. That means our Nation’s Heroes are a vital component to America’s prosperity.”
With the support of corporate and private donors, along with the volunteers at SNVC, Aurora has touched the lives of 17,000 veterans who have returned to colleges and universities across the United States, and funded nearly two dozen internships. We are seeing the retention rates improve, though this is a slow and somewhat ambiguous metric to track. As we work more with those who have received grants from Aurora, both in academia and in industry, we will continue to support our veterans’ return home, joining them in the journey from “boots to books to business.”
When asked what the future holds for Aurora, Beth Miller-Herholtz, Director of Communications replied, “We remain committed to our mission with continued focus on programs at higher education institutions and internships. We are anticipating the successful launch of the University of North Carolina website, called the Educational Positioning System, in the first quarter of 2013, as well as our first “cyber event” with those who have created “Green Zones” at their schools. We are seeing internship programs expand at our corporate sponsors, like CACI, the RitzCarlton, and Washington Scholars, where we will be placing more student veterans in key roles. We are also looking forward to developing strategic relationships with the Veterans Administration and other non-profits that are equally committed to our veterans’ workforce development progress.”
For more information about how to donate to the Foundation, please click here or contact the Aurora’s Project Coordinator, Ellen Hembree (info@Aurora4vets.org).
In support of Aurora’s mission to enable student veterans to successfully graduate from college and enter the workforce, Aurora offers grants to higher education institutions to support the student veteran population. Aurora has given grants for faculty training and awareness of veterans issues, one-stop shop resources for veterans on campus, veteran-only curriculum, peer-to-peer mentorship, and other needs identified by schools. The Foundation also assists student veterans with the identification of full-time, paid internship opportunities in various fields and industries. Student veterans have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in their areas of interest and gain insight into the civilian workforce. To date, the Aurora Foundation has graduated interns in a variety of industries including National Security, Finance/Banking, Law, IT, and Marketing. To learn how you can apply for a grant, an internship or to sponsor one of our student veterans, please contact Ellen Hembree, at info@Aurora4vets.org.