YellowRibbon Network
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HISTORY OF THE NETWORK

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According to Department of Defense studies, there are over 400,000 nonprofit organizations devoted to assisting service members, veterans, survivors and their families in the United States. Many were created in response to the shocking events of September 11, 2001. As the conflict in Southwest Asia evolved into what is now the longest war in our history, grateful Americans have contributed generously to these organizations.

Among those returning from service, one of the most critical needs is for emergency financial assistance. Out of control debt, cash flow troubles, home ownership challenges – these are just a few of the needs. With thousands of nonprofits working independently to provide financial assistance, it became obvious there needed to be a centralized database to keep track of it all.

In 2008, VeteransPlus was founded to offer financial literacy training to the growing military and Veteran population. Using a "Veteran counseling Veteran" model, VeteransPlus provided preventative & rehabilitative financial literacy education and counseling to over 390,000 men and women who have worn the nation's uniform. But together they soon learned that Heroes who required emergency financial aid would have to navigate a dense and confusing maze of organizations to receive assistance. Each organization had its own criteria, its own application process, its own detailed guidelines. There had to be a better way and that better way is the Yellow Ribbon Network (YRN).

Committed to the principle that financial assistance works best when the recipient is armed with financial literacy, VeteransPlus brought together a group of leading financial relief organizations to form the YRN. By creating a single, secure web portal as a clearinghouse of Hero data, our partners could maximize the reach of their resources, reduce difficult to track duplication of services and occasional fraud, and provide more effective ways to identify and serve the Heroes.

On November 11, 2011, VeteransPlus officially launched the YRN – an opportunity to replace miles of red tape with a yellow ribbon. Through this dynamic, internet-based communication system, we screen and verify background information of individuals or families seeking assistance, sharing that information across approved, proficient nonprofit partners. Technology enhancements allow us to confirm that an applicant is not seeking help from multiple partners for the same need or service. Ultimately, the network is about collaboration and cooperation.

The YRN also is a wonderful opportunity for donors to give to multiple organizations through one single platform, knowing their gifts will connect directly to the men and women they wish to assist. This peace of mind inevitably enhances both the number and size of donations, enabling assistance to even more recipients.