Illinois Joining Forces

Overview and Mission

Illinois Joining Forces serves as a statewide public-private partnership that promotes the efficient delivery of Growth and Wellness initiatives for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families at the community level throughout the State of Illinois.

We strive to improve the quality of life of every service member, veteran, or family here in the State of Illinois. We do this by applying our principles of Growth and Wellness at the community level.

- Jaime Martinez, Executive Director, Illinois Joining Forces

IJF partners with organizations at the community level to aggregate, and makes easily searchable, information on all military and veteran resources in the state. IJF centers their support around 7 Task Forces -- Careers, Women Veterans, Health and Wellness, Families and Survivors, Housing, Material Needs, Veteran Programs. Through these task forces, IJF works with Task Force Leaders who are experts in each category. With their guidance, IJF can coordinate efforts to more effectively serve Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.

Program Impact

GPD provided $140,000 to help launch IJF, which is now recognized as a leading model for delivering critical resources, information and support services in coordinated way across community organizations and across sectors.

IJF’s guiding principles are to close the gap of available resources by improving communication and collaboration between military, government and community partners; develop Veteran Support Communities (VSCs) throughout the state to bring support as close to home as possible; and provide solutions to policymakers for addressing inefficiencies and redundancies.

IJF aggregates, and makes easily searchable, information on all military and veteran resources in the state. Participating community organizations are grouped into one of nine categories--behavioral health, education, legal support, children and families, benefits and emergency assistance, housing and homelessness, employment and job training, and women veterans—and coordinate their efforts to more effectively serve their constituents.

Program Impact

GPD provided $140,000 to help launch IJF, which is now recognized as a leading model for delivering critical resources, information and support services in coordinated way across community organizations and across sectors.

IJF’s guiding principles are to close the gap of available resources by improving communication and collaboration between military, government and community partners, develop solution-based working groups to overcome obstacles in delivering quality services, and provide solutions to policy makers for addressing inefficiencies and redundancies.

There are currently over 45,000 private not-for-profit veteran serving organizations (VSOs) around the United States, each with its own mission and approach. They rarely collaborate and very often are competing for the same funding resources to assist the same veterans. Illinois Joining Forces seeks to bridge the gap between the VSO’s, the veterans they serve, and the State of Illinois Veteran’s Administration.

John DeBlasio - Founder of GPD Charitable Trust

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