These 10 Wounded Veteran Charities Have Big Impact

Representatives for the Great Aloha Run, Semper Fi Fund and the Wingman Foundation pose for a photo. (U.S. Marine Corps/Harley Thomas)
Representatives for the Great Aloha Run, Semper Fi Fund and the Wingman Foundation pose for a photo. (Harley Thomas/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

How do you find the best wounded veterans charities? With thousands of registered charities benefiting injured service members, veterans and their families, it can be hard to know where best to send your donation dollars.

Services like Charity Navigator, however, help donors sift through charities to find which have the best financial practices and impact. Charity Navigator uses a rating system to examine a charity's financial health as well as accountability and transparency. Four stars is the service's highest rating, while a "plus impact" designation means the organization has contributed an additional layer of results reporting data.

Related: How to Give to Military Charity Associations

Charity Navigator recently shared a list of 10 outstanding wounded veterans charities that have been recognized for their efforts to assist injured troops and their families.

10 Highly Rated Wounded Veteran Charities

The Gary Sinise Foundation

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars

"Serving honor and need"

The Gary Sinise Foundation was established under the philanthropic direction of Gary Sinise, an actor and 40-year advocate for the nation's military and defenders. The foundation's outreach supported those who sacrifice to defend the United States: active duty, veterans, first responders and their families.

The foundation achieves its mission through a number of programs designed to show gratitude for these American heroes through entertainment, family support and acts of appreciation. The foundation builds specially adapted homes for severely wounded veterans, hosting daylong morale-boosting celebrations at military medical centers across the country and providing meals to veterans and their families across the country. The foundation is committed to ensuring veterans' sacrifices are never forgotten.

Semper Fi Fund

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars plus Impact

"Serving those who preserve our freedom"

The Semper Fi Fund was founded by a dedicated group of military spouses at Camp Pendleton, California, in 2003. The fund provides direct financial assistance and vital programming for combat wounded, critically ill and catastrophically injured service members and their families during hospitalization and recovery.

The fund also helps to provide housing assistance to injured soldiers and their families, opportunities for children of wounded warriors to attend summer camp, canine assistance and ongoing transportation assistance, along with several other unique programs aimed at easing the transition for wounded soldiers and their families.

Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars plus Impact

"Providing support and assistance to the U.S. military's special operations community"

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation was founded in 1980, after the daring attempt to rescue 53 American hostages in Iran, which ended in the tragic loss of eight servicemen who left behind 17 children. A promise to take care of those 17 children has become the noble mission of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation to educate more than 1,200 children and support families of injured servicemen and women with medical bills.

The foundation provides immediate financial grants to severely combat-wounded and hospitalized Special Operations personnel and their families. It also ensures full financial assistance for post-secondary education to children of Special Operations personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Fisher House Foundation

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars plus Impact

"Helping military families"

The Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military and veterans' families can stay free of charge while their loved ones are in the hospital. These homes are located at military and VA hospitals around the world and offer comfortable private rooms with community spaces for families sharing similar experiences.

The foundation operates a program to use donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as they recover. And, they provide financial support to other military charities, and families and children of injured, disabled or fallen veterans.

Freedom Service Dogs of America

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars

"Free a hero to save a hero!"

Freedom Service Dogs of America (FSD) unleashes the potential of shelter dogs by transforming them into custom-trained, life-changing assistance dogs for people in need, including injured service members and veterans. These service dogs are taught to open doors, pick up items, turn on lights, pull wheelchairs, go for help and a number of other actions. FSD is donor-funded and doesn't charge its clients for any of its services. It also provides lifetime support for service dogs and their owners.

Air Warrior Courage Foundation

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars

"Where camaraderie and caring continue"

The Air Warrior Courage Foundation was formed by military aviators to "care for their own." It works closely with the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association in Virginia to do so. The foundation provides active duty, guard, reserve, retired military personnel and their families with financial assistance for medical, educational and other extraordinary expenses not covered by current military support systems.

Operation Second Chance

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars plus Impact

"Providing support for the soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center"

Operation Second Chance provides support for soldiers and Marines while they are being treated for injuries at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After service members have been released, the organization helps them with their transition back into active duty or civilian life. The operation aims to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of servicemen and women, assist in the modification of housing to accommodate disabled veterans, assist families of wounded service members and facilitate the transition of wounded service members back into society.

Hope for the Warriors

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars plus Impact

"Restoring: Self - Family - Hope"

Hope for the Warriors was founded by military families at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in 2006, as they witnessed, firsthand, the effects war imparts on service members and their families. The organization firmly believes those touched by military service can succeed at home by restoring their sense of self, family and hope. To achieve this, the organization provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans and military families that are focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement and connections to community resources.

Operation Homefront

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars plus Impact

"Building strong, stable and secure military families"

Operation Homefront's mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families so they can thrive -- not simply struggle to get by -- in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.

Their programs offer relief by providing critical financial assistance and transitional housing programs, resiliency through permanent housing and caregiver support, and recurring family support to help military families overcome the short-term "bumps in the road" so they don't become long-term, chronic problems. Over the last 15 years, Operation Homefront has helped more than 3,500 caregivers who provide care and support to injured or disabled service members and veterans.

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

Charity Navigator Rating: Four stars plus Impact

Making a difference for Sailors, Marines, and their families

Incorporated in 1904, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has been meeting the needs of Navy and Marine Corps members, their families, widows and children for more than a century. They aim to provide financial, educational and other assistance to military members, their families and survivors in need. They use financial and non-financial resources to identify solutions to meet emerging needs and are committed to using their funds responsibly to help the most people.

These are just a few of the great organizations serving our nation's injured and fallen soldiers. Take a look at our Veteran and Military Hot Topic for even more highly rated charities serving this important population.

This post originally appeared on Charity Navigator.

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