A Note of Thanks from the Founding Director

by Kristen L. Rouse

I wanted to express my personal thanks to you for your continued support of the NYC Veterans Alliance as a grassroots startup, working to connect, advocate for, inform, and empower our community in ways that complement and enhance the work being done by so many here in NYC and beyond.

Last June our working group issued the first-ever policy paper on NYC veterans policy, the product of more than a dozen veterans and service providers. We held our first public event last July with the Forum on NYC Veterans Policy, featuring amazing veterans and advocates, and introduced by John Oliver. In August, we launched our Community Calendar, and since then have maintained continuous postings of nearly 500 events for veterans, service members, and their families across the NY Metro area as a free service to our community.

Since last year, we have brought our community together to source policy solutions. We’ve consistently spoken up and testified on issues important to our community, and received coverage in the news. We’ve collaborated with a number of different veterans organizations in NYC, and we continue to seek ways to empower and engage our community.

We’ve significantly influenced five local laws and policies that have been implemented, to include passage of landmark legislation creating the NYC Department of Veterans Services. We’ve sent veterans to Washington, D.C., for training and support to become more engaged as civic leaders and to run for elected office. We have ongoing dialogue with public officials on legislative initiatives and policy. And we’re actively working with leaders and innovators in civic tech to integrate new ideas and solutions to improve the lives of veterans, military members, and their families.

It might be easy to take for granted that it takes time and money, even on our shoestring budget, to accomplish all that we’ve done in the last year. As Founding Director of this organization, I have made major investments of both my time and personal finances to launch the Alliance as a startup, and I continue in my sixteenth month of working as a full-time volunteer to ensure mission success. Membership dues and individual donations have helped with covering our overhead costs, as well as providing modest compensation for the veterans who have invested their time and labor on what we have accomplished. But our progress and forward momentum has relied most heavily on the work and generosity of countless members, volunteers, and supporters.

The road to success can be a long and bumpy one, and I know this personally as a veteran who has chosen to advocate for and empower other veterans as part of my own reintegration back home following three Afghanistan deployments. Our work may not be as smooth or perfect or quick or complete as we wish it could be, and both our supporters and our critics have been key to our continued growth and improvement. There is much for all of us to do to improve the lives of veterans, service members, and their families, and we have much to gain by working together as a community. I am personally honored to have your support as we forge ahead.

Please see below on how you can be involved in our future successes!



Kristen L. Rouse
U.S. Army Veteran
President and Founding Director

Here's how you can get involved: 

Check Out Our Community Calendar! We provide the most comprehensive listing of events across the NY Metro area for veterans, military members, and their families as a free service to our community. See what’s happening during Fleet Week and events throughout the Metro area to commemorate Memorial Day, and let us know about your events by sending notices to [email protected].

Join us in Albany on Tuesday! Yesterday the Veterans Equality Act passed in the NYS Assembly for the third time, and we simply cannot allow Governor Cuomo to veto it for a third time. The NYC Veterans Alliance will stand with the VFW and the NY State Council of Veterans Organizations in Albany on Tuesday morning to call on our NYS legislators to ensure that this bill is signed into law this year. Please email [email protected] if you are available to be there with us.

Volunteer with Us! We have new volunteer positions posted on Idealist for a Policy & Legislative Coordinator, Membership Engagement Coordinator, Community Outreach Coordinator, “Get Ready to Run” Program Coordinator, and “Super Tuesdays” Voter Registration Coordinator. Positions are unpaid, but a modest monthly stipend is available. Apply today!

Dare to Lead on June 18! Scholarship for Women Veterans & Spouses. Are you a woman veteran or spouse who wants to be more engaged as a civic leader--or even run for office? We've partnered with VoteRunLead open up DARE TO LEAD, VRL's daylong women’s leadership conference, to women who have served in any branch of the military, as well as women who are spouses (or widows) of a military member or veteran. Full Scholarships are available for NYC, Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Nashville, and the deadline to apply is May 22nd. 

Get Ready to Run! Do you want to be more engaged as a civic leader? Have you thought about running for office? We’re building our program to encourage men and women in our community to run for office. Learn about our new partnership with RunforOffice.org and sign up to participate in the programs we’re developing to get you more involved and trained as a leader!

Become a Member or Donate! Every dollar is an investment in connecting, advocating for, informing, and empowering our community. We promise results for that investment—and you’ll have our gratitude for this vital support because we cannot do this without you!