IAVA was founded in 2004 by Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff and fellow veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. After returning home from their tours, these veterans came together after quickly becoming concerned with the way the war in Iraq was being portrayed in the media and the overall plight of newly returned veterans. There were many policy experts and talking heads on TV, but very few people who had actually served on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. There was no one talking about what wounded veterans needed and the issues they faced. The creation of IAVA allowed thousands of veterans to join the national dialogue, and to explain what was really happening on the ground overseas and back home in the United States.
Today, IAVA is the voice of the 2.8 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, raising awareness in the media, on Capitol Hill and among the general public. IAVA is the country’s first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 400,000 member veterans and supporters nationwide. Our mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. We address critical issues facing new veterans and their families, including mental health injuries, a stretched VA system, inadequate health care for female veterans and GI Bill educational benefits. We also provide valuable resources and empower veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community. Through education, advocacy and community building, we strive to create a country which honors and supports veterans of all generations.
Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator.
Mission: Improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Vision: An empowered generation of veterans who provide sustainable leadership for our country and their communities.
IAVA strives to build an empowered generation of veterans who provide sustainable leadership for our country and their local communities. We work toward this vision by supporting new veterans through programs in four key impact areas: health, education, employment, and building a lasting community for vets and their families.
IAVA is unique in the VSO community in that it creates impact in those critical areas through a comprehensive model of providing assistance to veterans and their families, raising public awareness about veterans’ issues, and advocating for supportive policies from the federal to the local level.
Assistance: Through both online and on-the-ground engagement, IAVA creates, optimizes and expands assistance to veterans. IAVA hosts hundreds of events nationwide each year – called VetTogethers – creating opportunities for vets and their families to connect with each other and gain access to customized health care, education and employment services. Online, IAVA provides a unique support network that empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community.
Awareness: IAVA advances public awareness around the unique challenges and opportunities facing new vets. IAVA makes veterans a part of the national media conversation, shaping the dialogue and connecting the 99% of the population who have not served in Iraq or Afghanistan with the 1% who have.
Advocacy: Led by veterans, IAVA’s non-profit, non-partisan work ensures that Iraq and Afghanistan vets and their families are supported, protected and never forgotten by our elected officials and leaders. Since 2004, IAVA has been a juggernaut in Washington, D.C., creating and driving the national conversation on issues like Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the New GI Bill, unemployment, and female veterans’ issues.