Since 2007 this Florida Corporation has developed the Integrated Approach for increasing the level of care for our American Veterans. Through numerous and varied community collaborations, CSME has addressed a myriad of issues such as training, education, food, clothing, employment, housing, healthcare, transportation, PTSD, addictions, money management, TBI, homelessness, family counseling, bereavement, anger management, VA benefits, parenting skills, incarceration, suicide prevention, a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, and others too numerous to mention, but all affording help and hope for our veterans.
The CSME founder and CEO is Michelle D. Caldwell, a disabled, female, navy veteran, who wisely recruited assistance from Retired USMC Lt Col. David Glassman, mental health counselor Robert Donofrio and a former VISTA with the National Homeless Coalition, Janis Wilson, to help steer the organization and develop appropriate projects and programs. Healthcare (physical and mental), Housing (for the homeless and all veterans), Employment (to include a living wage), and Women's Services (the most underserved and fastest growing segment of our veteran population) are the major areas CSME has identified as most in need of improvement to help ensure the welfare of our veterans. To this end, CSME works diligently to help create awareness, understanding and resources that provide our veterans the honor they have earned and deserve.
In 2011 CSME developed a Veteran Homelessness Prevention and Outreach program called "Stripes to Stars". This program encompasses re-entry programs for veterans in transition from military to civilian life, from incarceration to freedom, and from rehabilitation to recovered. Every aspect of the program is designed to help ensure our veterans a more successful transition back into their families and communities. The "Stripes to Stars" program incorporates a variety of educational, housing, employment and healthcare options under the guidance of specially trained mentors and case workers. Each participant undergoes a comprehensive screening process that aids in matching program options tailored specifically to each veteran's needs for the successful transition to self-sufficiency in their community.
Certain options within the "Stripes to Stars" program are created for specific veteran populations such as incarcerated veterans, disabled veterans, female veterans, Native-American veterans, veteran's spouses and families, etc. And, as such, the funding for this program comes from a variety of sources including not only major corporations, but also a multitude of non-profit organizations and government agencies that contract with CSME to provide the programs necessary to fulfill their missions.
Because so little is known or understood about the women in the military, CSME decided to create something specific for women veterans that is now known as the Monument to Women Veterans Foundation. The Monument shall provide light for honoring the women who have dedicated their lives to serving the United States of America.
American women have long answered the call to come to the aid of this country in times of war. Since 1948 alone, when they were authorized to serve in combat, more than 2,000,000 have volunteered to swear an oath of allegiance and defend the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. These dedicated individuals have been an integral part of our military history. Creating a monument will make a profound and long overdue statement of appreciation and respect for these women.
World –renowned sculptor Elizabeth MacQueen has been selected to design, create and oversee installation of our nation's first monument to women veterans in the gulf coast region. Already in its initial design phase, the monument will reach upward more than 50 feet and incorporate figures of servicewomen (scaled to one-and-a-half times life size.) It will capture women in the uniforms of every branch of the US military serving in their many capacities as they have risen to the challenge, despite many adversities, to serve their country. This impressive monument and the future museum to accompany it, will tell the history, both literally and figuratively of women in service to our nation.
Ultimately, the Monument to Women Veterans will serve as a gateway to specialized services available to female veterans throughout the Gulf Coast and across the country. Women Veterans are encouraged to visit and enjoy the sense of community with fellow female patriots from all across the United States.
The Monument to Women Veterans Foundation advocates the establishment of a national monument recognizing the service and sacrifices of all women who have proudly donned a United States armed services uniform, but further seeks to provide resources and services for the numerous issues currently impacting Women Veterans to include PTSD/MTBI, sexual assault, sexual harassment, unemployment, homelessness and countless others that may arise in the future.
Therefore, the Monument to Women Veterans Foundation was incorporated in 2011 to pursue the development of a monument that would honor the women who have served their country and provide often unmet critical resources for female veteran care. In compliance with Chapter 617, F.S. (Not for Profit) Article III of the Articles of Incorporation states "The purpose of the corporation shall be the design, construction and maintaining of a monument dedicated to honoring all women veterans of the United States Armed Forces and providing ongoing recognition of the contributions of females in the US Military through a variety of public education and awareness activities, events and promotions. This will also include the raising of funds to support programs for women veterans." The Monument to Women Veterans Foundation was established as a not for profit, charitable, historical, and educational organization with an IRS registered FEIN and tax-exempt certification.
All contributions to the Monument for Women Veterans Foundation are acknowledged via tax receipt unless submitted anonymously. Contributions are accepted in honor or memory of a female Veteran as a cherished remembrance of her service.
The Monument to Women Veterans, Inc. seeks to fund not only a beautiful world-class monument, but will also provide a multitude of programs to support female veterans including a housing program with extensive supportive services. And both projects are described in further detail in the attached request.
It is understood that a piece of property would be required as a site for the monument and that retrofitting of existing building(s) would be required to establish the housing facility.