Campus News

Campaign for Carolina serves veterans

Scholarships, funds to ease the transition from military to college life and even tiny homes are just a few of the ways the University supports those who have served our nation.

Flag with fall trees
(Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Carolina is serving those who served our nation through a number of programs supported by gifts to the Campaign for Carolina.

Many of these gifts count toward the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, established in 2017 by a $20 million commitment from 1978 alumni Steve and Debbie Vetter, with a challenge to raise an additional $20 million in need-based scholarships for students with military affiliations. To date, more than $9 million has been raised by Carolina donors in support of the Challenge.

North Carolina is home to the nation’s fourth largest contingent of active duty service men and women, many of whom have dependents who want and deserve an opportunity to go to college. Programs like the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge allow Carolina to support academic excellence and create opportunity through scholarships for students who earn their place at Carolina, regardless of their ability to pay.

One of those is a $250,000 gift from Bank of America, which established a scholarship fund to provide support for military families. Through the Bank of America Military Families Scholarship Endowment Fund, the bank celebrates 100 years of serving those who serve our nation.

While not part of the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, these gifts offer important opportunities for veterans:

Boot Prints to Heel Prints established support for veterans on campus as they transition from military to college life. Given by the Kozmetsky Family Foundation, this grant honors family members who served in World War II and the Vietnam War. A special orientation for incoming undergraduate and graduate student veterans introduces resources to set them up for success on campus.

Carolina graduates Tom ’71, ’76 (MSRA, MBA) and Mary Laraine “Larry” Young ’71 (M.Ed.) Hines are long-time advocates for affordable housing in North Carolina and for services to support military veterans. When they learned about the innovative Tiny Homes Village, which will provide housing and assistance for people living with mental illness, they committed to pay for one of the homes in the 15-home community being constructed at the Farm at Penny Lane. Of those tiny homes, five are set aside for veterans.

The Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health, part of the UNC School of Medicine, the UNC School of Social Work and a nonprofit organization Cross Disability Services, led the effort to the develop the Tiny Homes Village community.

A recent $12.5 million gift from the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network will establish the THRIVE Program in the College of Arts & Sciences’ Matthew Gfeller Center. The program will launch a new initiative to make treatment for traumatic brain injuries more accessible to military veterans in and around North Carolina. This investment will enable Carolina to establish a new outreach program dedicated to treating traumatic brain injuries and related conditions, promoting overall wellness for veterans.

The Transforming Health and Resilience in Veterans, or THRIVE, will be a community-based approach to evaluate, diagnose and treat physical, cognitive and other health conditions in a month-long care program for approximately 140 veterans per year over the next 10 years. It will also provide a referral network and post-program follow-ups for as many as 400 veterans and family members every year when it is fully operational in 2022.

Carolina’s Physician Assistant Program provides educational and career development opportunities to nontraditional students, including military veterans with medical experience, who are committed to the program’s mission to reduce health care shortages in underserved communities in North Carolina. The program is funded through a public-private partnership from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the Kenan Charitable Trust and several charitable foundations.

All of these gifts and grants count toward the University’s most ambitious fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Carolina, launched in October 2017. As of Oct. 24, Carolina has raised more than 96% of its goal to reach $4.25 billion by Dec. 31, 2022.

On Nov. 3 the University’s Board of Trustees adopted a resolution in support of student veterans and military-affiliated students.