Every year, millions of Americans rely on charitable donations to help with a variety of needs from medical care to college expenses. The men and women of the Navy-Marine Corp are no exception to the millions who can benefit from financial assistance. Many turn to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society for assistance.

Whether you or someone in your family is a current or former member of the Navy-Marine Corps or just want to know how you can help, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

History of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

The idea of the Navy Marine Relief Society was brought to fruition after an Army-Navy football game in 1903. A suggestion was made to split the nearly $10,000 in proceeds of the game to benefit the orphans and widows of military service members, and in 1904 the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society began its mission of helping military families.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) developed their interest-free loan program for active members of the Navy and Marine Corps during World War I when paydays were frequently delayed. During World War II, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Reserve Fund was created to help the military members and their families.

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society hired its first registered nurse in 1922 when there was an increasing need for health care services for the spouses and children of military personnel. Today, registered nurses are still an integral part of many of the services provided by the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and they make house calls and offer primary care and advice.

Nurses continue to make in-home visits to service members who have returned home from combat zones and are struggling with issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other injuries.

Since the 1960s, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has created more services, such as educational assistance and counseling programs, to meet the needs of service members and their families better.  

The Mission of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

From the early days when the non-profit organization was started, the sole mission of the NMCRS was to provide financial and educational assistance to members of the U.S. Naval Service as well as their family.

Whether the assistance is to help in an emergency or to improve one’s quality of life, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society strives to help eligible Navy-Marine Corps members live independently, responsibly, and with confidence, health, and happiness.

With over 180 NMCRS offices, including one at the Camp Pendleton address, ashore and afloat, Navy and Marine Corps members have easy access to the help they deserve and need.

Who Is Eligible for Assistance from the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society?

If you think that you or someone you know may be eligible to receive assistance from the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, you should contact the organization directly to obtain more information. Typically, the following qualify for some of the services through NMCRS:

  • Retired and active-duty members of the Navy and Marine Corps. Reserves members may be eligible for some assistance
  • Dependents of members, including widows, widowers, or orphaned children
  • Former spouses who never remarried and were married to a service member for at least 20 years of marriage during active duty
  • Uniformed members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Some of the Services Available

Many of the services that the NMCRS provides today are similar to the services available when the organization started. For a full list of services available, contact the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Eligible members may receive assistance to help with basic living expenses like food, housing, car repair, funerals, and other needs on an emergency basis. A Quick Assist Loan (QAL) is a loan for up to $500, which members can use for family emergencies or basic needs.

Education assistance

With education assistance, eligible family members of service members can get a post-secondary education to improve their skill set and provide a better life for themselves and their families. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society education assistance program consists of interest-free loans and grants for two or four-year undergraduate or post-secondary education.

Children and spouses of active-duty or retired Navy or Marine Corps members are eligible to apply for assistance as well as the children of deceased service members. For full details on eligibility and the assistance program, contact NMCRS directly.

Budget planning for expectant parents

Not only does the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society strive to help service members’ children of all ages, but expectant parents can get take a free workshop that helps better prepare for a new baby. The Budget For Baby Workshop includes tips on how to save money and create a family budget. The workshop is a great networking opportunity for parents to meet other Navy-Marine Corps parents.

How Does the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society Rate as an Organization?

Many organizations are devoted to helping military service members, as well as veterans. But some provide better resources and services than others. Here’s how Charity Navigator, an online organization that evaluates charities, rates the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Charity Navigator gives NMCRS an overall score of 92.53 out of 100 and a four-star rating, which means that it exceeds industry standards and does better than similar charities. The financial score for NMCRS is 89.44 out of 100 with an accountability and transparency score of 100 out of 100.

The financial health score is based on financial information provided by NMCRS. Tax returns and the IRS Form 990 are just a few pieces of financial documents that are considered in the score. The accountability and transparency score is based on a number of specific factors, including how easy it is to use the NMCRS website.

According to the latest information available, NMCRS’s revenue was $23,971,035 in 2015 and approximately 86 percent of the contributions went directly back into the programs and services.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s financial snapshot

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

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s most recent IRS Form 990 is available for 2017. We extracted the following financial data from the organization’s most recent publicly available Form 990 and tax return for their fiscal year ending December 2017. This financial statement can give you a clearer picture of how they use their resources.

Percentage of donations spent on services

  • Total donations and grants: $17,850,761
  • Spent on services and grants: $23,575,421
  • Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 132.06 percent

Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising

  • Total revenue: $25,976,121
  • Fundraising expenses: $1,739,462
  • Paid to professional fundraisers: $0.00
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on fundraising: 6.69 percent

Administrative and overhead costs

  • Overhead expenses: $2,674,536
  • Property assets: $1,919,318
  • Investment assets: $118,248,407
  • Paid to officers/directors: $1,877,091
  • Highest paid officer/director: President $328,083
  • Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors salaries: 7.22 percent

How To Get Involved

The NMCRS continues to thrive and provide top-of-the-line services for service members and their families because of generous donations. If you are interested in getting involved or making a financial contribution, there are a few ways that you can help.

Shop online

Whether you are looking for a baseball cap with the Navy logo to wear to show your support or are searching for Marine surplus, The Marine Shop is a great place to start. The money you spend goes to programs that help Navy-Marine Corps service members and their families.

Become a volunteer

According to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, volunteers make up roughly about 90 percent of the society’s workforce. Volunteers also ensure that more of the funds raised go back into the programs and services rather than to administrative costs.

Not only can becoming an NMCRS volunteer offer invaluable help to the service members who need it most, but it can open up more opportunities in your future when you add it to your resume. If you live near one of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s offices, contact them for a volunteering opportunity.

Volunteers may assist clients directly, teach workshops, or help update and organize the database and other administrative duties. If there is a Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society thrift store in your area, you can sign up to volunteer and help run the store.


If you don’t live near an NMCRS office or don’t have the time to volunteer, you are always welcome to donate online. You can choose a monetary donation of your choice and even make your contribution in honor of someone. Don’t want to contribute online? You can send your donation to:

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

Attn: Development

875 N. Randolph St. Ste 225

Arlington, VA 22203

Monthly donations are an easy and convenient way to show your support year-round. All you need to do is set up for recurring contributions when you donate online.

When donating online, look to see if your employer participates in matching donations for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Matching contributions are an easy way to raise as much as possible for an important organization.

Other Ways to Support the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

You don’t need to be a retired service member or to have a family member who served to contribute to NMCRS. As you plan your will, trust, or other estate planning documents, you may want to consider making the organization part of your legacy.

Want to hold a fundraising event for NMCRS, have a vehicle that you’d like to donate to the organization, or want to donate your stocks and bonds? Like many other organizations, all donations to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society are tax deductible.

Now that you know more about the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, there are many ways that you can be part of an organization that strives to provide high-quality services to the hundreds of thousands of men and women of the Navy-Marine Corps.

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