Military spouses ‘learn and lean in’ at AUSA headquarters

Military spouses ‘learn and lean in’ at AUSA headquarters

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Eighty representatives from military family nonprofit groups met recently at the Association of the U.S. Army’s national headquarters to share resources and expertise.

Called “Learning and Leaning In,” the one-day event was co-hosted by AUSA and the Military Spouse JD Network, and held in AUSA’s Conference and Event Center in Arlington, Va.

Left to right, Josie Beets, Ellyn Dunford, Patricia Barron and retired Army Gen. Carter F. Ham. (AUSA News photo by Luc Dunn)

Gen. Carter F. Ham, USA, Ret., AUSA president and CEO, kicked off the event by relating family readiness to Army readiness, the top priority of the Army chief of staff.

“Families make valuable contributions to readiness in very real ways,” Ham said.

He added, “Today is not an end. It is one more step” in recognizing and improving the invaluable help that military spouse-led nonprofits provide to the military.

Attendees divided into small groups for discussions intended to clarify obstacles to organizational success. Funding and marketing outreach were identified as two of the top challenges.

Panel discussions included topics such as fundraising, case studies of successful programs, and ways for like-minded nonprofit associations to share resources and promote each other’s events.

The idea, said Patricia Barron, AUSA Family Readiness director, is to increase the reach of military family programs by having a “collective impact” that is greater than one nonprofit could do on its own.

The “Learning and Leaning In” event had high praise from attendees.

“Thanks again for hosting such an enlightening event. There are so many good people with a heart for helping,” one attendee said, while another described the gathering as “well done and information-packed. Every minute was valuable.”