New Annual Survey by National Nonprofit Operation Gratitude Will Evaluate Progress and Influence Action in Bridging Civilian-Service Divide

Monday, 14. June 2021 13:50

Los Angeles, CA, June 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Operation Gratitude, one of the largest and most impactful nonprofits in the country for hands-on volunteerism in support of military, veterans, and first responders is launching a nationwide survey partnering with IVMF (Institute for Veterans and Military Families) at Syracuse University. Funding for the survey is provided by Prudential Financial and Starbucks. This partnership will pair IVMF’s extensive survey and program evaluation experience with Operation Gratitude’s uniquely diverse volunteer and participant audiences to span a broad range of demographics in the civilian and service communities.

Working with IVMF, Operation Gratitude will conduct the survey to measure the outcomes of the work that the organization does to bridge the civilian-service divide through service, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. The survey capture will begin on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 and end on Veterans Day. Within those 60 days, Operation Gratitude, with the help of nearly 200,000 volunteers, will support 100,000 active duty, veterans, National Guardsmen and First Responders. 

Operation Gratitude CEO Kevin Schmiegel says, “The impact Operation Gratitude has made on more than 3 million programmatic recipients and many more millions of volunteers since 2003 is evident each day in their emails, letters, social media posts, and extensive coverage in local and national media. By creating a scientific, data-driven annual survey, we can put real numbers on their words, smiles and actions, sharing the true impact we make as an organization with the world”.

“IVMF is proud to partner with Operation Gratitude on this important effort to provide valuable insights empowering us to better serve veterans and their families,” said Dr. Mike Haynie, Founder and Executive Director of IVMF. “Our research and analytics team looks forward to collaborating with Operation Gratitude’s volunteers, participants, and service recipients on this work and developing actionable data on the needs of the military-connected community for years to come.”

“Operation Gratitude has an exemplary history of breaking down barriers that help bridge the servicemember to civilian divide across the country,” said Jim Beamesderfer, Vice President of Veterans Initiatives at Prudential Financial.  “This survey provides a unique opportunity to measure the impact that will help everyone better align efforts to achieve even greater impact in our communities.”

“Supporting the mental health and well-being of our military and first responder communities is a priority for Starbucks, and this survey will provide important insights that will enable Operation Gratitude to continue facilitating meaningful connections in our communities that truly make a difference,” said Matt Kress, Senior Manager of Veterans and Military Affairs at Starbucks.

The survey will be a longitudinal study, repeated year after year to measure whether and how meaningful connections are being made between those who choose to serve (military, veterans, first responders) and the communities they serve. The ultimate goal of the project is to determine how, where, and to what extent those connections are bridging the civilian-service divide. The attitudes and beliefs of stakeholder groups on both sides of the civilian-service divide will be captured and evaluated - civilians and those who serve or have served in the military or as first responders, and their family members.

The survey results will be announced in March 2022, in concert with Operation Gratitude’s 19th anniversary and the anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude’s mission is to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide. In March of 2003, Operation Gratitude sent its first four care packages to deployed service members in Iraq. Since its inception, the organization has given millions of Americans the opportunity to go a step beyond saying “thank you for your service” through hands-on volunteerism, lifting the spirits of more than 3.2 million deployed troops, recruit graduates, veterans, military families, first responders, and healthcare heroes. For more information visit, or follow us on Twitter at @OpGratitude.

About IVMF

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families. Through its professional staff, experts and partners, the IVMF delivers best in class programs in career, vocational, and entrepreneurship education and training, while also conducting actionable research, policy analysis, and program evaluations. The IVMF also supports communities through collective impact efforts that enhance access to and delivery of care and services for veterans and their families. The Institute, supported by the University and a distinguished advisory board, along with public and private partners, is committed to advancing the lives of those who have served in America’s armed forces and their families. For more information, visit

About Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial wellness leader and premier active global investment manager with more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management as of March 31, 2021, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help to make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with nearly 33,000 stores worldwide, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at or




Danielle Tenconi
Operation Gratitude
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