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Veterans Innovations Program

The Veterans Innovations Program was created to provide assistance to veterans and their families facing financial hardships due to deployments in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Funds are provided to veterans and families in need through two programs within the Veterans Innovations Program.photo of soldier holding child

  1. Defender’s Fund
  2. Competitive Grant

We work with the veteran and their family to match their individual needs with the appropriate Veterans Innovations Program fund and other veteran or non-veteran programs and services.  Our goal is to make sure the veteran and their family has access to all veterans benefits and the tools they need to provide for themselves and their families.

Money comes into the Veterans Innovations Program from several sources:

  1. Original funding was provided by the Washington State Legislature.

  2. Individuals and businesses may make donations to the Veterans Innovations Program


Defenders' Fund
Veterans may be eligible for a one time grant  to provide crisis or emergency relief or assistance with transition to education, training, or employment providing that the veteran:

•Received an Honorable Discharge

•Deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, or Noble Eagle receiving GWOT Expeditionary Medal

•Is experiencing financial hardship where income is not sufficient to meet basic needs

•Presents a discernable positive outcome

•Request is within the grant funding capabilities

•Submit complete application packet with required supporting documentation

Veterans will be screened to determine whether they need additional assistance, such as claims preparation.
Payments will be made to creditors such as landlords or utilities to directly resolve the financial hardship.
The Defenders' Fund is meant to supplement other funding opportunities such as: County Veterans Assistance Funds, Minuteman or other private organization funds.
Click here for an Application
Contact your retention NCO or

Individual Grant Program
The Competitive Grant Program goes beyond the initial emergency assistance provided through the Defender’s Fund, and focuses on activities that will help veterans and their families obtain sustainable family-wage employment. 
Applicants must have served in Operation Noble Eagle; Operation Iraqi Freedom and/or Operation Enduring Freedom or awarded a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary.   (National Guard, Reserves and Active Duty are eligible to apply.)
Individual grants are tailored to meet the needs of the veteran or their family.  Below are examples of how a grant could be used:

  • Supplement wages for on-the-job training or apprenticeship programs;
  • Tuition payments for education or certification programs; and/or
  • Supportive services such as transportation assistance, housing, child care, or other needs-related payments necessary to enable an individual to resolve crisis situations, enter training or employment, and/or retain employment.  

Click here for an Application

The Need
Over 60,000 Washingtonians have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Some are on active duty, and many are your friends and neighbors serving in the National Guard or Reserve. 
Both the veteran and their families feel the effects of these extended deployments.  When our military personnel come home, WDVA is ready to help get them back on their feet through the Veterans Innovations Program.  We also offer help to families while their servicemember is deployed.family
Whether they need a job, education and training, mental health counseling or help with rent or mortgage payments, the Veterans Innovations Program identifies supportive services to meet their individual needs.

The Results
Since 2006, the Veterans Innovations Program has helped over 1000 veterans. For some that help was a living stipend that allowed them to go to school. For others it was help getting caught up on mortgage or rent payments and back on a path to financial stability. And for others it was repairing the family car so they could get to work on time!
The great thing about the Veterans Innovations Program is that each veteran is helped down his or her own path to self-sufficiency. There is no one way that will work for all veterans. WDVA is committed to helping each veteran succeed.

You Can Help
Because only 1% of Americans are serving in the military, most do not feel the effects of extended absences from families or the difficulty of welcoming home a servicemember who is physically or emotionally scarred by war.
We must not forget these men and women – and their families who also serve – as they continue to put their lives on the line. You can show your support to Washington’s Veterans by Description: Description: yellow ribbonmaking a donation to the Veterans Innovations Program:
Veterans Innovations Program
PO Box 41150
Olympia, WA 98504


Program Goals and History

Veterans Innovations Program Goal: Develop a results oriented program that considers the long-term well-being of the veteran and their family and focuses on employment or financial stability, education/training, health care and housing.

Veterans Innovations Program History: The 2006 State Legislature passed Second Substitute House Bill 2754, the Veterans Innovations Program. The bill does the following:

  • Creates the Veterans Innovation Program (VIP) for the purpose of providing veterans who served in recent military action with crisis and emergency relief, as well as education, training, and employment assistance.
  • Creates two separate programs within the VIP: Defenders' Fund Program and the Competitive Grant Program, and terminates the VIP on June 30, 2016.
  • Create the Veterans Innovations Program Account in the state treasury.
  • Gives Washington National Guard and Reserves returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan, their spouses, and dependents priority in the Washington basic health plan.

    Visit the Health Care Authority website for more information and to apply for coverage.

$2 Million was appropriated in the 2006 supplemental Budget and WDVA was given the authority to use funds to staff the program.

VIP Statutes
43.60A.160      Veterans innovations program.
43.60A.165      Defenders' fund -- Eligibility for assistance.
43.60A.170      Competitive grant program.
43.60A.175      Receipt of gifts, grants, or endowments -- Rule-making authority.
43.60A.185      Veterans innovations program account.