ABOUT US

Catalogue for Philanthropy:

“…among the best small charities in the Washington, DC region.”

  • Federal Employer Identification Number: 36-4567583

HISTORY & MISSION

In 2005, the father of an injured Marine introduced some local businessmen to staff members at the busiest military hospitals in Washington, DC. That very day, as they were learning which needs were not being meet, they had a chance to help a stressed-out mother.

She was far from home after rushing to be by the side of her son, who’d been wounded and medevaced out of the combat zone. She had nowhere to stay, so they made a reservation for her at a nearby hotel and paid for it. Then they found out that the hotel shuttle wasn’t available at the odd hours when she needed to get to and from the hospital. So they got her a rental car and paid for that, too. Having seen the need firsthand, those businessmen joined with others to launch the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

Founded to serve the injured coming back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, YRF also recognized the importance of keeping the family together during the critical recuperation phase. The first programs provided free hotel rooms and apartments for visiting family members, free rental cars, and free cab rides to just about anywhere in the Washington, DC, area. They’re still among YRF’s most popular services.

In 2008, YRF built a large brick patio behind the Mologne House, where family members and outpatients lived at the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After the ribbon-cutting by then-Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, the patio became a gathering place for injured service members and their families, with four gas grills, two fireplaces, and tables and chairs. YRF also installed a gazebo near a fish pond, creating a quiet place for peaceful retreat, and a playground for the children of the injured.

Also in 2008, the first annual Yellow Ribbon Fund/Army Navy Country Club Golf Classic for Injured Service Members teed off at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va. The unique format included foursomes of three donors plus one injured service member; more than two dozen injured troops play in the fundraising tournament each year.

Later that year, YRF broke new ground with its innovative Family Caregiver Program. While enabling family members to be with their injured loved one helped in the recovery process, it became apparent that the caregivers themselves needed more support during such a difficult time. Starting with therapeutic massages for the caregivers, the program grew to include many forms of support for the whole family — YRF is still one of the only organizations with activities for children.

In 2009, YRF’s first Gala was held at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Md. It was a huge fundraising success, and the event has continued to grow at other area venues.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wound down, YRF expanded its focus to the long-term needs of our nation’s injured veterans. In 2011, YRF’s Ambassador Program boosted the effort to recruit volunteers around the country, who help the injured rebuild their lives after they return to their hometowns.

In addition, YRF and a corps of military veterans now working on Wall Street initiated Volunteer Lawyers for Veterans. This dedicated group of expert volunteers provide free legal service and guidance to veterans.

During the merger and move of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital, YRF was invited to serve as one of only four go-to service providers. The others were the Red Cross, USO, and Operation Homefront, all much larger charities. We’re in good company!

Since the hospital merger, YRF has installed a playground at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. It’s right next to Building 62, where the injured live with their families during outpatient treatment. The new Walter Reed was also missing an outdoor gathering area, so YRF constructed a patio with barbecue grills as well.

Today, the Yellow Ribbon Fund continues to provide practical support to injured service members and their families while they’re at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, and after they return to their hometowns. Since our beginning, more than 80 cents of every dollar spent has gone directly to programs and services, thanks in part to our small staff and a volunteer force that has grown to more than 1,300.

YRF has enjoyed support from celebrities such as comedian Stephen Colbert, pop legend Stevie Nicks, and journalism icons Bob Schieffer and Bob Woodward. Recognition of YRF’s efforts has come from:

Washingtonian Magazine: “One of the best charities in Washington, DC.” (December 2008)

Catalogue for Philanthropy: “Among the best small charities in the Washington, DC, region.” (2009-2010 & 2013-2014)

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce: Dick Price Community Service Award (2012)

The Yellow Ribbon Fund provides:

  • Free hotel stays, rental cars, and cab rides for visiting family members.
  • Free apartments to keep families together during months or years of outpatient treatment.
  • Family caregiver support — we’re one of the only service organizations to offer childcare and family-oriented activities, plus stress-relieving massages, spa visits, dinners out, and more.
  • Social events and outings to cultural and sporting events that build confidence and offer relief from the grueling rigors of recovery.
  • Innovative mentoring that helps injured service members build new lives through education and career guidance.
  • Ongoing support after injured service members leave the hospital and return home, to ensure no one falls through the gaps.
  • Pro bono legal services when injured service members need an advocate to stand up for them.

LEADERSHIP

Board of Directors

Edward J. Quinn, Jr. – Chairman
Lt Col John Adams, USAFR (Ret.)
Dr. Jim Barsamian
Peter M. Black
James S. Bugg, Sr.
SFC Jason Burr, USA (Ret.)
CAPT James Carman, USN (Ret.)
ADM Bruce DeMars, USN (Ret.)
Nader Elguindi
Lt Gen Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr., USAF (Ret.)
Mo Gauthier
Joseph W. Jacques
John F. Jaeger
Annie McChrystal
GEN Stan McChrystal, USA (Ret.)
Vito A. Pampalona
William J. Scott
CAPT David A. Tarantino, USN

Staff


Mark E. Robbins, CAE Executive Director
Jessica Allen Family Caregiver Program Director
Amanda Basek Ambassador Program Director
Mandi Garza Family Caregiver Program Coordinator – Ft Campbell
Kristin Henderson Communications Director
Nodira Hughes Communications Coordinator
Mia Itoh Administrative Director
Ashley Keene Events & Volunteers Director
Julie Keys Administrative Assistant
Jessica Klein Family Caregiver Program Coordinator – Walter Reed
Diane Shoemaker Lodging & Transportation Director
Robert J. Talbot Mentoring Program Director
Judy Tart Advancement Director
Nicole Trieber Wellness Program Director