Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation received the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award on November 14 in a ceremony at the Pentagon.
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation received the 2022 Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award on November 14 during a ceremony at the Pentagon. The ceremony was presided over by Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth.
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation provides college scholarships and educational counseling to Gold Star children and has served over 3,000 students with over $74 million in support. Fallen Patriots also provides internships and career placement opportunities with many of our corporate donors.
“The impact that [Children of Fallen Patriot Foundation] makes to lift the financial burden from our Gold Star families to increase the educational and financial standing of those surviving children, and to realize our fallen service members' dreams of setting their children on the road to success is immeasurable. The contributions of this foundation maintain the legacy of Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher's generosity and dedication to service,” said Secretary Wormuth.
The Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award honors and recognizes a private-sector individual or organization that has demonstrated exceptional patriotism and humanitarian concerns for members of the U.S. Armed Services.
The award was established in 1996 and named for Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, philanthropists who founded and supported multiple military and veteran nonprofits, including the network of 96 comfort homes that bear their name, the Fisher House Foundation.
“It is incredible to look back and realize that it has been two decades since we founded Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation,” said David and Cynthia Kim, founders of the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation. “We are proud of every student we have served - and we continue to strive towards our goal of providing college scholarships to the 25,000 Gold Star students that have lost a parent in the line of duty.”
On average, there is a $25,000 funding gap for four years of college beyond government programs.
Corporate Development Officer and Retired Army Col. Steve Smith emphasized that the foundation’s accomplishments are the result of the people who work there and the donors who give, and they’re all focused on the Gold Star families they serve. Our donors are great patriots who continually honor the sacrifice of our fallen service members and their families.
“We respect every one of our families and the sacrifices that they made, as do our donors. That frankly appeals to people in a way that is very heartening to see.”
Students who receive the grants are much more likely to graduate than their peers, thanks in part to the educational counseling and scholarships provided by the program.
“Our graduation rate of all the scholars who have completed college to date is 91 percent, as compared to 46 percent for the U.S. writ large. And then when you compare our students to the equivalent on the other side, children from a widowed household, it's 91 percent to 23 percent,” said Smith.
All of the foundation’s educational counselors are Gold Star children and Fallen Patriots grant recipients. As the students get advice on school, they also find a support network that they may otherwise never have found.
“Our graduates and our staff Gold Star staff say all the time that, prior to connecting with Fallen Patriots, unless they had a sibling, they never met another Gold Star in their life,” said Smith. “It creates a family for them, lifetime relationships that just flourish.”
“It has introduced me to an entirely new support system that I never thought I would have,” said Kayla Martin, a Gold Star daughter and scholarship recipient. “It motivated me to work hard and finish school and reminds me every day that my Dad’s life means something. I like to look at it as my Dad still being here for me and supporting me even after he is gone.”
Fisher House Foundation Chairman and CEO Ken Fisher congratulated the Children of Fallen Patriots team.
“It is deeply humbling to see how so many organizations and individuals serve our military and veteran communities,” Fisher said. “Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation clearly sees how the entire family sacrifices when a loved one serves, especially when they are lost. Zach and Elizabeth would be proud of your work.”
Interested parties can help a potential student or donor reach Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation at https://www.fallenpatriots.org/.