It is natural and admirable to want to help people. Currently, there are many charities dedicated to helping people and supporting those in need. The only problem is that it is not always easy to tell which are out to make real progress and which are fraudulent. It is easy to be caught up in a pessimistic approach, but that is not what we want you to think about. Caution is important, but good charities do exist. The Gary Sinise Foundation is one of the good ones.

Led by a man who cares about the people who protect the country, it is out to accomplish positive results. If you’ve heard of the foundation, maybe you don’t know what it accomplishes. Maybe you want to get involved with the charity yourself. Whatever the case is, we’re going to tell you everything that you need to know about the Gary Sinise Foundation.

What Is the Gary Sinise Foundation?

Gary Sinise is a known figure when it comes to military advocacy. In the 1990s, moviegoers knew him as Lt. Dan, but he has been an advocate for veterans since the 1980s. As a descendant of Vietnam vets, the cause hits close to home for him. He founded the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011 with the mission to support veterans and first responders, along with their families.

They have several programs they’ve designed to not only support but entertain and boost the morale and spirit of deserving individuals and their families. The R.I.S.E program, for instance, helps build homes, which helps disabled veterans in their day-to-day lives. They also have outreach programs to help families deal with loss and trauma. The basis of the foundation is to use several avenues to help at once.

Gary Sinise Foundation’s Reputation and Ratings

Charity Navigator rates the Gary Sinise Foundation with a perfect score. It received four out of four stars, and CN awarded them an overall score of 100 out of 100 for both financial management and accountability and transparency.

Gary Sinise Foundation’s financial record

Tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations are required to file a Form 990 or 990EZ with the IRS.

The Gary Sinise Foundation filed their most recent tax return for their fiscal year ending December 2017. We’ve extracted the following financial data from their tax records so you can make an informed decision about donating your time and money.

Percentage of donations spent on services

  • Total donations and grants: $23,449,723
  • Spent on services and grants: $14,767,452
  • Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 62.97 Percent

Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising

  • Total revenue: $23,804,308
  • Fundraising expenses: $952,351
  • Paid to professional fundraisers: $0.00
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on fundraising: 4.00 percent

Administrative and overhead costs

  • Overhead expenses: $718,680
  • Property assets: $282,430
  • Investment assets: $0.00
  • Paid to officers/directors: $450,000
  • Highest paid officer/director: Executive Director $250,000
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors salaries: 1.89 percent

Why Is the Gary Sinise Foundation Important?

If you ask most people about the importance of our first responders and military, the answers are obvious. These people risk their lives with the mission to protect civilians. High-stakes jobs such as these aren’t something to take lightly. What happens when these people are in need? So many soldiers and first responders end up severely injured or losing their lives on the job. When this happens, there isn’t always much help for them or for their families.

USMC GySgt. Guillermo Tejada Home Dedication

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The Gary Sinise Foundation is about restoring hope to those who have lost family members or who are going through a trauma that most civilians cannot understand. Not only is it a hopeful foundation, but it also seeks to offer real tangible help. The variety of programs offered are just some of the many ways that the Gary Sinise Foundation helps people. It is important because it gives to a group of people who sometimes give everything for us. Without it, the military and first responders may see little hope or receive little help. Consider disabled veterans, for instance; they do not always receive the housing that they need, much less accessible housing. This is just one of many ways that the Gary Sinise Foundation gives back.

How You Can Get Involved in the Gary Sinise Foundation

If the Gary Sinise Foundation is something that you believe in, then there is no harm in wanting to get involved. The question is usually how to go about it. What can you do? Given that there are many programs and the foundation is always expanding, you can expect that there are just as many ways for you to help.

Here, we will outline several ways you can be involved in the foundation’s work.

1. Donations

These charities cannot run by themselves. Donations not only help veterans, first responders, and the families of these national heroes, but it helps the charity continue to run so that it can bring the spirit of helping to more people. In order to continue the foundation’s work, donations are incredibly valued. If there are not any events in your area to volunteer for, donating can sometimes be one of the best options.

In addition to donating your own money, you can put on competitions, races, and other fundraising events in the name of the Gary Sinise Foundation. The best way to get involved is to contact the charity to find out how to be a voice for them. Ask them how you can gather more donations or help with events. Of course, if a single donation is what you prefer, you can do that too. 

As of right now, you can donate in the following ways:

  • Event fundraising
  • Amazon Smile
  • Stock Gifts
  • Calendar CheckMatching gifts
  • Wills and trusts
  • Mail-In donations
  • CFC
  • Calendar CheckOnline donations

One thing to keep in mind about donating is to make sure that you always go through their website or talk to a representative who is working for the foundation. Do not be a fool for scammers or other people who may be using copycat names or pretending to fundraise. Not when, in reality, they may pocket the money. You should contact the foundation through their dedicated routes with any questions you may have.

2. 5/10k runs

Are you a marathon runner? Is it a lifestyle you trained for or is it something you have considered without branching out to it? There is no wrong answer here. Beginners and advanced runners are both welcome. When it comes to Gary Sinise Foundation events, 5K and 10K runs are incredibly common. The Gary Sinise Foundation holds several of them a year. Charity running is a great way to donate and to push yourself toward a new goal. The point of charity runs is to give to others but to lead you toward self-improvement. Not only will you be someone who gives back to a community of people who defended and served the country, but you’ll become stronger, physically and mentally.

3. Lt. Dan Band

Lt. Dan Band

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Why not have a little rock and roll with your charity? The Lt. Dan Band not only performs at military bases, but it also performs at its own festivals and holds charity and benefit concerts regularly. These performances are not only fun for the audience, but the funds raised go toward the entire goal of the Gary Sinise Foundation. Attending a concert is investing in a charity and having a good time.

4. Serving Heroes

Serving Heroes is all about food and bringing people together through it. This program feeds veterans and first responders a hearty meal. This is one way that the Gary Sinise Foundation can say thank you to the people that they designed the charity to help. You can be a part of it too. Getting involved with Serving Heroes is not too difficult. They have venues across the country and five major traveling centers, with plenty of opportunities to donate or volunteer.

5. Invincible Spirit Festivals

The Gary Sinise Foundation holds Invincible Spirit Festivals at military hospitals around the country. These festivals are set up like a fair. They have cookouts, live entertainment, and even a show performed by the Lt. Dan Band. These are fairs dedicated to hope. They restore morale among people who are undergoing medical treatment. Medical rehabilitation can be grueling, and these festivals help. Volunteering to be a part of it is not only fulfilling, but also helpful.

invisible spirit festival

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6. Snowball Express

The Snowball Express happens once a year in mid-December. This is an event set up for the families and children of fallen veterans. Met at the airport, families attend a large event with entertainment, food, and activities. The Gary Sinise Foundation needs sponsors, donors, and volunteers to keep this program alive and to continue to encourage children.

7. Arts and entertainment

man and woman dancing in a theater

Are you a part of the arts and entertainment industry? If you run a theater group or take part in theater or entertainment, you can get involved also. One program that the Gary Sinise Foundation supports is an Arts and Entertainment Outreach. The arts are an invaluable source of hope for people. Not only can they serve as an escape, but they can also increase our spirits and help us to learn about not only ourselves but the world around us. This program brings veterans into theaters for a dinner and dress rehearsal performance. As an always-expanding program, it could come to your theater too.

As you can tell, there is no wrong way to help, as long as you can give your time or a piece of yourself to one of the programs. Support is not always about money, although money and donations do help. If you cannot donate, consider all of the other options for getting involved.

Conclusion: Your Help Is Invaluable

Volunteer help and donations are what keeps charities like these alive. Not only does it support veterans, plus their families, but it helps keep the organization running so that it can assist more people. Each year, more veterans receive help. The foundation has been there for countless families and children.

What you can do is simple. For some people, giving is enough. The avenues to donate are plenty, and they use the money appropriately. If you cannot donate or if that isn’t enough, then you can take part in different events or volunteer your time to help.

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