Every year, thousands of United States service members return home with debilitating injuries and illnesses. Wounded soldiers and their family members often struggle to recover from their disabilities and are left to deal with expensive medical bills. With a lack of resources at their disposal, many of these families fall into financial disarray. Founders created the Semper Fi Fund as a way to help United States Armed Forces members that are injured or critically ill get back on their feet.
For over a decade, the dedicated team at the Semper Fi Fund has worked to create productive programs to the benefit of thousands of veterans across the nation.
Semper Fi Fund Mission
The Semper Fi Fund is an organization committed to helping the lives of critically ill or injured US Armed Force members and their families. The organization raises funds to create programs to provide veterans with the resources they need to transition back into society successfully.
The Semper Fi Fund’s mission is “ to ensure that no one is left behind.” To fulfill this mission, the organization has given itself a set of clear goals to achieve:
- Find eligible service members in need of assistance
- Provide financial aid at every step of recovery, from hospitalization to rehabilitation
- Help restore the quality of life to service members who are injured or ill
- Restore quality of life to the families and caregivers of those service members by relieving their financial burden
- Devote as many funds as possible to programs by reducing administrative costs
With these goals in mind, the Semper Fi Fund has created multiple inter-related programs that help recovering service members heal their body, mind, and spirit. They promise to pledge their support to those who injured veterans who need it, no matter how long they need it.
History of the Semper Fi Fund
The Semper Fi organization dates back to 2003 when a group of Marine spouses began to organize welcome home activities for the families of wounded service workers. They quickly realized that many of the families did not have the resources to travel and care for their wounded loved ones.
The desire to help these families brought the Marine spouses together to form the Semper Fi Fund in 2004. Since its establishment, the organization has helped more than 21,000 service members by raising over $180 million in donations.
The Semper Fi Fund Team
The Semper Fi Fund organization is led by a small executive team, which is overseen by an elected Board of Directors. Many of the members of the staff are part of the original group of Marine spouses that founded the organization.
The executive team is made up of a total of six members that have dedicated their lives to the cause. Members include CEO Karen Guenther, CFO Tom Benoit, VP of Community Outreach Wendy Lethin, VP of Eastern Case Management Susan Rocco, VP of Western Case Management Sondria Saylor, and Medical Director Dr. Robert Koffman.
VP of Community Outreach
VP of Western Case Management
VP of Eastern Case Management
Dr. Robert Koffman
Each member of the executive team takes on a variety of responsibilities to ensure that the organization runs smoothly. All members must periodically report their activities to the Board of Directors, who then evaluate whether or not they are meeting the organization’s goals.
Board of Directors
The Semper Fi Fund Board of Directors is made up of 12 individuals who seek to guide the mission of the organization. They keep a critical eye on how the organization is run to ensure all the activities align with their overall vision to aid critically wounded or ill service members.
Notable members of the Board of Directors are former Sony Music International Chairman Bob Bowlin and former Dartmouth College President James Wright.
Semper Fi Fund Programs
Since 2003, Semper Fi members have worked diligently to create effective programs that have helped over 21,000 service members and their families across the nation. Here are a few of the ways that the organization has worked to make a difference.
Service Member and Family Support
The Service Member and Family Support program provides financial assistance and other resources to aid the families of injured service members. Through this initiative, families in need gain access to a variety of different support programs aimed at helping them transition back to their normal daily lives.
Resources available through the Service Member and Family Support program include immediate and long-term financial assistance, service dogs, housing assistance, transportation assistance, and adaptive equipment. The Semper Fi Fund also provides caregiver support and retreats, as well as a summer camp for children.
The Transition Program focuses on easing the burden of reintegration of injured or ill service members into society. To achieve this, the organization has developed various tools to help provide education and career assistance to those looking to restart their lives outside the service.
Services provided through the Transition Program include veteran peer mentoring, unit reunions, and education and career assistance. They also hold a six-day holistic retreat that helps teach participants how to transition to civilian life successfully.
Integrative Wellness Program
The Semper Fi Fund’s Integrative Wellness Program aims to deliver holistic health therapies to assist injured and ill service workers to heal their mind, body, and spirit. The organization has spent time researching the best practices to find solutions to some of the most common mental health issues, such as PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and depression.
There are a variety of services available to injured or ill veterans through the Integrative Wellness Program. This includes neurofeedback fitness training, acupuncture, massage therapy, recreational sports, and therapeutic arts. They also provide updated education on PTSD and other mental health issues on their website.
LCpl Parsons Welcome Home Fund for Vietnam Veterans
The Semper Fi Fund has recently created the LCpl Parsons Welcome Home Fund for Vietnam Veterans to help expand their mission to care for injured veterans from all US service branches. This fund is dedicated specifically to injured Vietnam veterans that need financial assistance.
To be eligible for the LCpl Parsons Welcome Home Fund for Vietnam Veterans, the applicant must suffer from one of the following health issues:
- Loss of limb
- Burns over 50 percent of the body
- Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
- Illness linked to Agent Orange exposure
Recipients of the LCpl Parsons Welcome Home Fund will be provided grants to help pay for housing, transportation, or medical costs. The transportation grant can be used to purchase or modify adaptive vehicles, while service members can use the housing grant to cover adaptive home construction costs. The medical care grant can be used for any medical expenses not covered by insurance or Veterans Affairs.
How to Help
The Semper Fi Fund offers many great ways to give back to those service members who have made serious sacrifices to protect their country. Here are a few ways you can lend your support to veterans who need it.
Hosting a fundraising event is one of the best ways to help the organization raise the money they need to keep their programs running strong. Fundraising events are held throughout the year, organized through the support of individuals, businesses, community organizations, and clubs across the nation.
Community members looking to raise money for the Semper Fi Fund should communicate with the Community Outreach Team via their online contact form. Individuals or groups looking to host a fundraising event will gain access to dedicated fundraising resources that will help make the event a success.
There are plenty of ways to donate to the Semper Fi Fund. The easiest way to donate is through their donation site, which guides you through the donation process. You have the option of making a one-time donation, a recurring gift, or a gift in tribute.
Other ways to donate include gifts of stock, legacy society giving, life insurance gifting, endowment funds, and vehicle donations. You can also donate by shopping through various charitable donors, such as Amazon Smile. You can see a full list of the participating retailers on the Shop to Support site.
The Semper Fi Fund is constantly on the lookout for members of the community willing to volunteer their time to help injured and sick veterans. These volunteers help with various aspects of the organization, from fundraising to raising awareness in the community.
One of their largest volunteer initiatives is the Community Athletes group, a network of athletes working together to raise money for the organization. These athletes compete in marathons, triathlons, cycling, and other events as a way to gather donations and spread awareness throughout their community.
Semper Fi is one of the most esteemed charitable organizations in the US, especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility and transparency. Charity Navigator has given the organization an overall rating of four out of four stars, with a total score of 98.23 points out of 100. This makes it one of the highest rated charities on the site.
Due to their low overhead costs, Semper Fi can dedicate over 90 percent of their funds directly to their program expenses. This makes the Semper Fi Fund one of the most successful charities of its kind.
Semper Fi Fund 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.
The Semper Fi Fund’s most recent IRS Form 990 or 990EZ available is for 2017. We extracted the following financial data from the organization’s most recent publicly available tax return for the fiscal year ending June 2017. This financial statement can give you a clearer picture of how responsibly the Semper Fi Fund uses their resources.
Percentage of donations spent on services
- Total donations and grants: $36,019,754
- Spent on services and grants: $29,424,862
- Percentage of donations toward grants and services: 81.69 percent
Percentage of revenue spent on fundraising
- Total revenue: $36,227,797
- Fundraising expenses: $840,988
- Paid to professional fundraisers: $0.00
- Percentage of total revenue spent on fundraising: 2.32 percent
Administrative and overhead costs
- Overhead expenses: $1,782,913
- Property assets: $99,262
- Investment assets: $8,375,126
- Paid to officers/directors: $612,106
- Highest paid officer/director: President $143,500
- Percentage of total revenue spent on officers/directors salaries: 1.68 percent
For over a decade, the Semper Fi Fund has worked hard to provide aid for combat-wounded US service members and their families. With complete dedication to their mission, the Semper Fi Fund has been able to help over 21,000 veterans and their family members recover and integrate back into society.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to give aid to veterans, the Semper Fi Fund is always looking for donations and volunteers ready to devote themselves to the cause.