Founded in 2004 by an Iraq veteran at a time when there were little to no resources available for post-9/11 vets, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has quickly become the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing new veterans and their families.
Now, with nearly 300,000 veterans and civilian supporters nationwide, IAVA is the only 21st Century veterans’ service organization (VSO) dedicated to standing with the 2.8 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan from their first day home through the rest of their lives.
Over the last decade, IAVA has become the leading advocate for its community. It pioneered historic changes, like the Post-9/11 GI Bill, VA funding reforms, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, and more. IAVA is now leading the charge on combating veteran suicide, improving support for female veterans, ending the VA disability claims backlog, and defending veterans’ education benefits.
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 and their families.
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.
Chief Executive Officer Paul Rieckhoff founded IAVA in 2004, alongside fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. After returning home from overseas, they quickly came together after becoming concerned with the way the wars were 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 veterans needed and the issues they faced. The creation of IAVA has allowed hundreds of thousands of veterans to join the national dialogue and to explain what is really happening on the ground overseas and back home.