We achieve the first part of our mission through the patriotic ceremony at the beginning of the Patriot Benefit, our primary fundraising activity on Patriots' Day, September 11th.
We achieve the second part of our mission by providing scholarship money to partner institutions who match our contributions and distribute the money to the dependents of deceased or 100% disabled veterans. These individuals qualify under the Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) Program under Chapter 35 of the GI Bill.
HOAPF supported numerous veteran-related organizations before changing our focus to supporting the dependents of deceased or 100% disabled veterans in 2021. We distributed $277,500 to our 12 partner institutions in December of that year. They agreed to match our contribution, administer the scholarship program, and report back to us annually.
Our first round of scholarships provided in excess of $450,000 of scholarships to to 173 DEA-qualified students in the Fall of 2022. This is an average scholarship amount of $2,600, though three students received $10,000 each. Our partner institutions have an additional $100,000 of funding for Spring 2023 scholarships.
In December of 2022, HOAPF distributed $500,000 to 11 new partner institutions in addition to our original 12 partners. They will match that amount, and distribute the money in the Fall of 2023 and Spring of 2024. This will result in 400 scholarships averaging $2,500 each.
Our 2023 budget calls for us to distribute $1,000,000 to 40 partner institutions, all of which will be matched and result in 800 scholarships.
We refocused our mission in 2020 from helping veterans in a variety of ways, to providing scholarships to the dependents of deceased or 100% disabled veterans. There are in excess of 180,000 dependents receiving stipends through the Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) Program of the GI Bill, and therefore the need is great.
Our model of requiring matching money from our partner institutions, asking them to administer the scholarships and report back to us annually, while simultaneously maintaining a low administrative expense ratio, has proved to be a very successful model. Both the large quantity of DEA-qualified students and our unique model has resulted in rapid growth of the HOAPF.
We signed five-year Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with five inaugural institutions and distributed $113,000 for DEA scholarships in 2020. We are based in Kansas City, and therefore initially recruited partners from post-secondary institutions in both Kansas and Missouri. We added seven partner institutions and distributed $277, 500 in 2021. This included expanding our footprint to include partners in Iowa, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. In 2022, 11 additional schools signed MOUs, and we distributed $500,000 to our partners. Schools in South Dakota and Tennessee were added as our geographic footprint expanded. All of these amounts were matched, and scholarship amounts averaged $2,500 per recipient.
We accomplished all of this while maintaining an all-volunteer organization. The rapid growth proved to be too much for our group of dedicated volunteers, however, and we hired Kelly Campbell-Goodnow in March of 2023 as our Executive Director. With her leadership, we have become more strategic in both our fundraising and recruitment of additional partners.
Our 2023 budget calls for $1,000,000 in disbursable income and an expansion to 40 partner schools. The chart below indicates that we do not currently have partners in the nine states with the highest number of DEA-qualified students. We are therefore targeting our recruitment of partner schools in these states. We are also looking to expand the number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that we have as partners, as well increase the number of technical schools and community colleges.
Thank you again for your generosity and support. I promise I will work very hard and eventually give something back to others, possibly a scholarship to future students like myself. By awarding me the Heart of America Patriot Foundation Scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus on the most important aspect of school, learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.
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Heart of America Patriot Foundation, 13725 Metcalf Avenue, #364, Overland Park Kansas, 66223
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