Contributing Author

The Mission Continues Drives Progress for Active Duty & Veteran Services

The Mission Continues empowers veterans facing the challenge of adjusting to life at home to find new missions by redeploying veterans in their communities, so that their shared legacy will be one of action and service. The Mission Continues Fellowship & Service Platoons program was recently chosen by the Leadership Council as the CLASSY Award Winner for Active Duty & Veteran Services.

To determine the winners, the Leadership Council applied their own expertise to judging criteria developed by the CLASSY Awards in partnership with the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, a recognized authority on analyzing social impact within and across causes to assess programs that are poised to drive social progress. The criteria looks at (1) Scale and Scope of the Problem or Issue Addressed, (2) Strength of Strategy Employed, (3) Impact To-Date, and (4) Organizational Effectiveness and Resource Management.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Fellowship and Service Platoons Programs
Program Name

United States

Start date

Meredith Knopp
Program Director


44% of Post-9/11 veterans report difficulties readjusting to life after the military. More than 2.5 million struggle with translating their military skills to opportunities here at home. These veterans are in need of a connection to a new mission and sense of purpose.

Through the Mission Continues (TMC), veterans serve their country in new ways by engaging in the organization’s action-oriented programs. The first, The Fellowship, harnesses veterans’ strengths, skills, and their compassion and empowers them to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in their community on a daily basis. The second, The Service Platoons, brings teams of veterans who are working together with partners at the local level to build stronger communities and tackle pressing issues.

“The Mission Continues addresses the challenges of returning warriors in the simplest way. They understand the desire to give back and the impact their projects will have on the participants and the beneficiaries,” said John Hanson, Senior Vice President of the United Service Organizations (USO), and Leadership Council member on the Active Duty & Veterans Services board.

For the Fellowship program, The Mission Continues partnered with The Center for Social Development at Washington University on a multi-year study that examined the personal, professional, relational and societal impacts of community service on post-9/11 veterans’ transition from the military to life at home.

[su_quote cite=”John Hanson, USO” class=”top5″]The Mission Continues found a high-profile, valuable way of making sure we continue our respect for the people who defended us. Supporting the troops is easy, giving them a chance to re-enter society requires a leap of faith, and TMC helps with both sides of the equation. TMC found a new way to teach the rest of us what the value of military service really can bring to society. [/su_quote]

Results showed that purpose-driven civic service activities positively affect personal, family and community life. With this knowledge, the Fellowship harnesses veterans’ strengths and skills and empowers them to serve in their community over the course of six months. Service Platoons bring together teams of veterans with local community organizations and volunteers through monthly service missions.

“No matter how much Americans say they support the troops, most Americans will never meet returning veterans, and will not focus on how hard readjustment is,” said Hanson. “They also are not aware that these men and women have the skills and desire to contribute to communities across the nation. Once they get that foothold, it should be easier for troops to readjust and for the public to think about the value these troops bring to us.”

In 2013, the Fellowship & Service Platoons programs reported that 91% of Veteran participants reached their employment goals and 100% regained their sense of purpose. TMC’s goal is to engage 100,000 veterans in this solution of service by 2018.

“The CLASSY Award is a tremendous honor and a testament to this generation of veterans’ commitment to serve our country,” said Meredith Knopp, Vice President of Programs at Mission Continues.

Since receiving the CLASSY Award in May, The Mission Continues has welcomed another 100 veterans to their fellowship program, and engaged hundreds more through Mission Continues Service Platoons. Launched in the fall of 2013 with five pilot Service Platoons, the program has since expanded to 25 active and forming Service Platoons nationwide, including Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

Veterans involved in the Fellowship and Service Platoon Programs have most recently been featured in The New York Times, The Military Times, and USA Today.

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The Mission Continues accepts the CLASSY Award for Active Duty & Veteran Services live on stage at the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards in San Diego, CA on May 3, 2014
The Mission Continues accepts the CLASSY Award for Active Duty & Veteran Services live on stage at the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards in San Diego, CA on May 3, 2014

About The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to serve our country in new ways. Through two programs, The Mission Continues has deployed thousands of post-9/11 veterans in their communities to focus their talents and energy to tackle challenges facing us at home. It’s a model that provides reciprocal benefit for the veteran and the local community.

By empowering veterans to serve at home, The Mission Continues seeks to change the national conversation about veterans so that this generation leaves a positive legacy of service and personal success.

About the CLASSYs

Since it’s inception five years ago, the CLASSYs have recognized the efforts of thousands of exceptional organizations and individuals, providing public insight into our world’s greatest achievements. With the insight and participation of experts and institutions, the CLASSY Awards has established a new way of measuring social impact across causes at a global scale. This methodology provides insight into the program strategies, outputs, outcomes and growth of these bold solutions relative to the problem being addressed.

The yearlong initiative to discover the most innovative and effective models identifies and evaluates organizations in eight major cause categories, including Active Duty & Veteran Services, Animal & Wildlife Welfare, Educational Advancement, Environmental Protection, Health Services, Human Rights & Social Justice, Poverty & Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief & Public Safety.

CLASSY Awards Nominees are selected through an intensive evaluation process created and developed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Center for High Impact Philanthropy. For the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards, organizations were evaluated through a five-step process that began with 3600 organizations. After a pre-application form was submitted, applicants completed a 20-minute phone interview. From there, those that passed were asked to complete a Nomination Profile in order to be eligible for a CLASSY Award. The Top 5 Nominees in each of the 25 cause categories were announced, narrowing the pool down from 3600 to 121. The 121 Nominees were then passed onto the Leadership Council, whose respective boards collectively determined the 25 Finalists and ultimately the 8 Winners.


Photo: The Mission Continues Facebook page.

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