Bob Woodruff Foundation and ACMF Partnership Brings Flow of Support to Community in Need
Reliable access to clean water can be easy to take for granted. Turn on a faucet and place a cup under its flow. But life’s most essential resource is not assured for everyone. For those experiencing financial difficulties, and for those who live outside of common water-delivery infrastructures, economic concerns and disruptions in supply and delivery can prove disastrous.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through communities across the country, creating and compounding issues for many veterans and their families. This is why, with help from our partnership with the National Football League (NFL), the Bob Woodruff Foundation is investing in organizations like the Arizona Coalition of Military Families (ACMF)￼ACMF recently helped to manufacture and distribute water containers to veterans in need residing on the Hopi Nation.
Through this partnership and the support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, we were able to support the manufacturing of 120 containers, which were delivered to the Hopi Nation.
ACMF’s mission is to “build Arizona's statewide capacity to care for, serve, and support all service members, veterans, their families, and communities,” Nicola Winkel, ACMF’s program director told BWF. “We established the Coalition in 2009 to connect the military, government, and community, and use a collective impact model with a focus on creating a sustainable impact on the lives of those we serve.”
Winkel, who is the spouse of a veteran, is drawing on her life experiences and a desire to help drive effective change in communities.
“My husband served in the United States Marine Corps and in operations during the first Gulf War,” Winkel said. “So, this work combines a personal passion to ensure those who have served and their families have the support they need to thrive, and a professional passion for effecting systems change to improve our community through partnership and capacity building.”
The water project exemplifies Winkel and ACMF’s resourcefulness and ability to work with different organizations and agencies to get the job done.
“We were honored to received funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation for COVID-19 Relief. With a focus on northern Arizona and especially on addressing the needs of the tribal communities in the region, we knew this partnership would be very important to effectively deploy this assistance.”
ACMF coordinated with a local organization that was in contact with tribal communities to identify priority needs for veterans on the Hopi Nation as normal supply chains were disrupted due to COVID-19. Getting assistance to certain remote areas on the Hopi Nation requires a bit of effort. Those living in remote areas have to frequently travel and interact with others to acquire water on a consistent basis. In the age of COVID-19, this equates to an increased risk of exposure, especially as many veterans in the area only had five-gallon containers. Through the work of ACMF, large water containers were delivered directly to the homes of veterans where access is difficult.
“For households that do not have running water or a large water storage container, securing water on a regular basis is a time consuming and high-risk activity with the ongoing pandemic,” Winkel explained. “The organization had identified a source for 300-gallon water containers that could be delivered to homes, thereby providing access to a larger supply of water on an ongoing basis. The containers are refilled by water trucks.”
ACMF is also working to address other issues facing veterans. Their work is guided by ambitious ideas and proven strategies. But most of all, ACMF knows that no one organization can do it alone. Sustainable solutions require effective collaboration between government, non-profits, and local communities.
“Because our military, veteran, and family population frequently access care, services, and resources in multiple systems and sectors, it's vitally important that our public and private sector are working together,” Winkel said.