Spirit of ’76 is a social media challenge grant to pair up to 76 service dogs with military vets in need. The campaign was put forth yesterday by Dog Bless You—a community led by Charlie Annenberg Weingarten, vice president of The Annenberg Foundation and founder of philanthropic media organization site explore.org. “Dogs are the guardian angels of the human soul, and few people need or deserve them more than those who have served our country,” said Annenberg. “If we entrust dogs to help critical missions on the fields of war, we should entrust dogs to help take care of our men and women at home.”
Since its founding in 2011, Dog Bless You has used challenge grants to brings search and rescue dogs to locations ravaged by disasters, pair guide dogs with the blind, and bring more than 40 service dogs to veterans with PTSD. This year’s challenge grant, valued at up to one million dollars, will be the biggest initiative in the community’s history. The organization never asks for donations, believing that the commitment of time and show of support is the best vehicle for creating awareness and engagement around important issues.
From PTSD to those with life changing injuries, the organization will feature new pictures, videos and stories of war veterans and their dogs every day. And, work with dozens of service dog organizations to foster discussions aimed at educating and inspiring.
Participating organizations include Pets to Vets, Soldier’s Best Friend, Puppies Behind Bars, Freedom Service Dogs, Paws for Purple Hearts, Paws and Stripes, Patriot PAWS, and ECAD, with more to be added during the course of the campaign.
Here’s how to help: From now until Independence Day (July 4) Dog Bless You will donate a service or companion dog to an American veteran in need for every 1,000 followers to its Facebook, Pinterest, or Tumblr pages. It’s that easy!