For over 10 years, Folds of Honor has worked to provide the families of fallen and disabled service members with the resources they need to live. Through various fundraising efforts, Folds of Honor has been able to raise millions of dollars for families in need.
Folds of Honor Mission and Vision
Folds of Honor’s mission statement is “Honor Their Sacrifice. Educate Their Legacy.” This short yet powerful statement shows the organization’s dedication to helping the families of those who have fallen in combat. Almost all of the money raised by Folds of Honor goes directly into scholarships and other educational programs such as private tutoring.
Their logo of a folded flag represents the flags buried with lost soldiers and reminds us of the heavy price of freedom. At the same time, the flag acts as a symbol of hope and freedom to those left behind. With this logo, the organization is constantly inspired to give aid to the military families that have lost loved ones.
History of Folds of Honor
In 2006, founder Major Dan Rooney was returning home from his second tour in Iraq as an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard. When the plane landed, the Captain made the announcement that they were carrying the remains an American hero onboard, Corporal Brock Bucklin.
The Captain made a request that everyone stay in their seats until the remains of Corporal Brock Bucklin were de-boarded. Major Rooney watched from his seat as the Corporal’s twin brother walked alongside the casket to his family, including the Corporal’s child, Jacob. Major Rooney was moved by this image, thinking of his own family.
Major Rooney was surprised to see that over half of the passengers had already left their seats before they removed the casket. Frustrated by this reaction, Rooney decided he needed to do something to pay proper tribute to service members and their families.
One year later, Major Rooney established the Folds of Honor Foundation. Since it’s founding, this non-profit organization has worked diligently to create educational opportunities for families of fallen or disabled service workers.
The Folds of Honor Team
A leadership team comprising nine members oversee various aspects of the Folds of Honor Foundation. These positions include: CEO, President, CFO, VP of National Development, VP of Military Affairs, VP of PGA Relations, Director of Scholarships, Director of Donor Services, and Director of Administration & Human Resources.
Folds of Honor has a volunteer-based Board of Directors to oversee their leadership team and ensure total transparency to donors. The members of the Board of Directors are responsible for various tasks, including annual assessments of staff and policy reviews. Many of the members of the Board of Directors are executives for major companies that work with Folds of Honor to help raise money for scholarships.
Folds of Honor Scholarships
Folds of Honor uses the funds they raise to create educational scholarships for the families of those lost or injured in combat. Scholarships of up to $5,000 are awarded based on the “unmet need” of the applicant.
Students can use these scholarships to help pay for tuition costs, textbooks, room and board, tutoring, and any other educational expenses. Here are the current scholarships offered by the organization.
Higher Education Scholarship
Folds of Honor awards the Higher Education Scholarship to the spouses and dependents of service members who wish to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Applicants for the Higher Education Scholarship will have to re-apply each year they wish to use the funding.
Recipients of the Higher Education Scholarship can use the funds towards an undergraduate program at an accredited college in the United States. They may also use the funds for a technical or trade school program, provided they do not already have a bachelor’s degree.
To receive the scholarship, children or dependents of the service members must be 24 years or younger and unmarried. They also need proof of enrollment or intent to enroll at an accredited college or trade school.
A spouse of a service member has no age limitations, but cannot be re-married with former spouse’s service documents.
Children’s Fund Scholarship
The Children’s Fund Scholarship was established to help provide monetary support for dependents of service members enrolled in a K-12 education program. Recipients can use these funds for private school tuition, accredited tutoring programs, homeschooling, and other educational expenses such as books or uniforms.
Recipients of The Children’s Fund must be currently enrolled in a K-12 program to receive funds. Children that are entering Kindergarten must be at least 5 years old by September 1 of the year they are applying for. Applicants will need to re-apply each year they need funding.
How to Help
There are a few fundraising methods utilized by the Folds of Honor organization. Through these various efforts, the organization has been able to raise millions of dollars for families of service members in need. Here are some of the main ways you can give aid to Folds of Honor and those they support.
Become a Wingman
In military terms, a wingman is a pilot whose duty is to support another pilot in dangerous flying environments. Folds of Honor uses the term “Wingman” for those who commit to a recurring monthly donation to help provide support to those who need it.
Monthly donation levels start at $13 per month. This number has great meaning to those who have lost loved ones in the service, as it represents the number of times the American Flag is folded during a military funeral. Wingman donators can also choose to give a larger monthly gift of $26, $39, $52, or a custom amount.
By joining the Squadron of Wingmen, you will gain access to an exclusive monthly Folds of Honor newsletter. These newsletters provide regular updates about a family receiving support from the organization. Applicants will also receive a Wingman kit filled with various items to show your support and pride.
Patriot Golf Day
Folds of Honor facilitates various fundraising events throughout the year, with the most notable being the Patriot Golf Day. Patriot Golf Day takes place every year during Labor Day weekend in various locations across the US.
Folds of Honor works with the PGA of America and the USGA to garner support from public and private golf facilities to hold fundraising events across the nation. Those who wish to participate in the event can either search for a participating golf course or contact their local courses to create their own teams.
Folds of Honor provides all participants with fundraising tools to help make their Patriot Gold Day a success. The tool kit includes marketing materials, best practices, donation forms, participation letters, and more.
There are a few ways that you can volunteer your time to Folds of Honor. The organization relies on the activities of their chapter members and other groups or individuals dedicated to making a difference.
Those looking to fundraise for Folds of Honor are encouraged to use their creativity find ways to raise money. Many groups raised money through marathons, golfing events, birthday gifts, corporate fundraisers, and more.
Folds of Honor has a simple registration site that allows groups or individuals to create their own fundraising page. From there, you can choose your participation type, fundraising goal, and whether or not you want to make a personal donation.
Other ways to give back
Just because you can’t make a donation or volunteer your time doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to help Folds of Honor. One of the best ways to support the organization is through spreading their message and sharing their story. Folds of Honor provides marketing kits to those who wish to advocate for the organization through print and social media.
You can also support the organization by purchasing merchandise from their online store. They sell a variety of different items, including apparel, accessories, water bottles, flags, and more. All proceeds go directly to the Folds of Honor scholarship funds.
Folds of Honor is a charitable non-profit organization with a highly esteemed reputation. Charity Navigator, a site dedicated to rating charities, gave the organization a score of 98.23 out of 100. When broken down into categories, Folds of Honor received a financial rating of 97.50 and an accountability and transparency rating of 100.
Charity Navigator also reports that the organization uses approximately 87.9 percent of their funds for program expenses on average. This makes Folds of Honor one of the best charities dedicated to military family education.
Folds of Honor financial details
Tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations are required to file a Form 990 or 990EZ with the IRS.
Folds of Honor’s most recent IRS Form 990 or 990EZ available is for 2016. We extracted the following financial details from their tax return for their fiscal year ending December 2016. This financial data can give you a clear snapshot of how well Folds of Honor utilizes donated fund.
Percentage of donations spent on services
- Total donations and grants: $18,750,302
- Spent on services and grants: $11,771,153
- Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 62.77 percent
Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising
- Total revenue: $18,783,662
- Fundraising expenses: $678,777
- Paid to professional fundraisers: $0.00
- Percentage of total revenue spent on fundraising: 3.61 percent
Administrative and overhead costs
- Overhead expenses: $692,987
- Property assets: $3,040,620
- Investment assets: $9,201
- Paid to officers/directors: $760,391
- Highest paid officer/director: CEO $210,800
- Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors salaries: 4.04 Percent
Throughout over a decade of work, Folds of Honor has helped over 2,500 service member families with their educational expenses. With a highly transparent leadership team, you can be sure that nearly all of the money donated will go directly to the cause.
As the organization continues to grow, Folds of Honor continues to look for new ways to aid those who have lost loved ones in combat. If you’re looking for a way to pay tribute to fallen service workers, Folds of Honor has many volunteer and fundraising opportunities to help you give back.