To our Friends and Supporters:
When I started this organization in 2012, America was in the longest period of war in our history and our nation was not prepared for the serious implications being imposed on millions of military and veteran families. I established the Foundation to study the issues facing these families and act swiftly on their behalf. In 2014, we released our historic RAND Study from the East Room of the White House and declared the challenges facing 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers were creating a national crisis that deserved a holistic national response. I am so proud of all we have achieved together leading that response and launching countless new programs and initiatives to support our nation’s hidden heroes. Looking ahead, we are just months away from releasing a new comprehensive national study from RAND, laying the groundwork for a bold new chapter in our mission.
As many of you know, the Foundation and its partners took a considerable step forward in passing a major piece of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, The Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act. Upon final passage, this transformative piece of legislation will vastly increase support for veterans and caregivers across America.
To continue this forward momentum, I am proud to share that later this morning, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Board of Directors will elect a distinguished leader, the Honorable Bob McDonald, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, as the next Chairman of our Board.
Secretary Bob McDonald has been a long-time friend and partner of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and he was the ideal choice for our next Chairman. For more than four decades, he has led an accomplished career in business and governance, including 33 years with Procter & Gamble, serving in the roles of Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. In 2013, he was nominated by President Barack Obama to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and was confirmed unanimously.
In 2020, Secretary McDonald was selected as the George W. Bush Institute’s April and Jay Graham Fellow, advocating for post-9/11 veterans and building awareness of the issues they face while transitioning to civilian life. Currently, he is Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates, furthering the values and ideals of the United States Military Academy.
Our Foundation first began working with Secretary McDonald after he was confirmed to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2014. From his first days in office, he recognized that supporting caregivers needed to be an integral part of his plans to modernize and transform the VA experience for veterans and their families. Under his leadership, the VA partnered with our Foundation to create the National Convening for Veteran Caregivers, which remains the premier annual event driving new policies and reforms in support of America’s hidden heroes. He also created the basis for the largest expansion of VA caregiver benefits in history, bringing pre-9/11 caregivers into the VA’s network of assistance while strengthening resources for caregivers of every era.
In addition to his exceptional record of leadership, Secretary McDonald embodies the spirit of a true servant leader. In our years working together, I have greatly admired his dedication to those who serve in uniform, and their caregivers and families. As a graduate of West Point and a decorated Army officer, Secretary McDonald carries a deep-seated sense of duty and a personal understanding of the sacrifices we ask of our military and veteran communities. As Chairman of the Board, he will continue our Foundation’s tradition of working on a bipartisan basis to unite the nation behind our mission.
As we complete this transition on the Board, Steve Schwab will continue to serve as the Foundation’s CEO as we head into a pivotal year. Steve’s bold and visionary leadership of the organization since 2014 gave me the confidence that this was the right moment to pass the baton of the Board Chairman. Steve has built a top-notch staff to work with Secretary McDonald and our stellar Board of Directors. On January 1st, I look forward to taking my new role on the Board as Founder and Chair Emeritus and will continue to remain involved in our mission.
At these reflection points in our Foundation’s journey, I am always inspired and filled with gratitude for all we have accomplished together, since I first met those caregivers in the quiet halls of Walter Reed 12 years ago.
Thank you for being a part of our movement. I look forward to all we will accomplish in the new year.
With warmest regards,