USAA grant will support 40 challenges this year to broaden reach and support suicide reduction efforts
Research Triangle Park, N.C. – Stop Soldier Suicide, a leading social impact organization working to reduce America’s military and veteran suicide rate, has received a philanthropic gift of $250,000 from USAA to help fund 40 Facebook Challenges throughout 2022 beginning April 1. The effort is focused on helping at-risk veterans and military personnel manage suicidal thoughts and behaviors through a first-of-its kind, trauma-informed service model of care.
“USAA is committed to supporting our military community and helping make an impact in the nationwide effort to reduce veteran suicide,” said Justin Schmitt, AVP of Corporate Responsibility at USAA. “The work that Stop Soldier Suicide is doing is a critical component to saving lives and we’re incredibly supportive of their work.”
Facebook Challenges help Stop Soldier Suicide and other cause-based charities raise awareness and resources. The Challenges ask participants to commit to a one-month fitness regimen performing physical feats like running 100 miles, cycling 250 miles, or doing 2,000 burpees. Stop Soldier Suicide asks that its Challengers share their progress with their Facebook friends to raise awareness and elevate the conversation around military and veteran suicide. Additionally, Challengers are encouraged to set up fundraisers so friends can reward their progress with donations to a good cause.
“The Facebook Challenges have allowed Stop Soldier Suicide to continue its mission of providing critical, trauma-informed care to struggling service members and veterans,” said Stop Soldier Suicide CEO Chris Ford. “Now with the support of USAA, it’ll allow us to activate and inspire thousands of new Challengers in support of our cause, bring more awareness to the issue of suicide, arm more Americans to look for signs of risk, and ultimately help us save more lives.”
In 2021 alone, Stop Soldier Suicide’s Facebook Challenges engaged with 124,000 supporters, who created some 78,000 individual fundraisers and brought in more than 285,000 donations. Stop Soldier Suicide’s use of this powerful new community engagement tool was so successful that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, highlighted the nonprofit as an example for others to learn from.
Retired Navy veteran John “T.J.” Blake was among the first and most committed participants in the Stop Soldier Suicide Facebook Challenges. Blake said the Challenges brought unexpected purpose back to his life. “That sense of purpose was just gone,” he said, “and now it’s not.”
To learn more about the partnership, readers can visit Take on the Challenge to Reduce Military Suicide.
About Stop Soldier Suicide
Stop Soldier Suicide (SSS) is the only national nonprofit focused solely on reducing the military suicide rate. Our vision is a nation where service members and veterans have no greater risk of suicide than any other American. The goal of SSS is to reduce military and veteran suicide rates by 40 percent no later than 2030, saving more than 2,400 lives per year. SSS was co-founded in 2010 by three Army veterans and has grown over the last decade into the most innovative suicide intervention effort the country. SSS provides consistent, confidential, trauma-informed care for service members and veterans at highest risk for suicide through its one-of-a-kind suicide intervention model, innovative use of data insights, and a technology-first approach. These services are all provided completely free of charge to our clients, regardless of period served or discharge status. To learn more or to donate, please visit StopSoldierSuicide.org.