Operation Gratitude

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Mission Statement & Facts

Operation Gratitude seeks to lift spirits and meet the evolving needs of our Active Duty and Veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of our Military.  Operation Gratitude annually sends 150,000+ care packages filled with food, hygiene products, entertainment and handmade items, plus personal letters of support, addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed overseas, to their children left behind, and to Veterans,  New Recruits, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers.  Through Collection Drives, Letter Writing Campaigns, Craft Projects and Financial Donations, Operation Gratitude provides civilians anywhere in America a way to say “Thank You” to the men and women of the U.S. Military through active, hands-on Volunteerism.
Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations.  For safety and security, the assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California.
Since its inception in March, 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have assembled and shipped more than One Million Care Packages.
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New Recruits, Veteran, Wounded Warrior and Care Giver Care Package Programs:

Operation Gratitude coordinates package deliveries to the graduates of Boot Camps in all Military branches and newly commissioned officers from the Service Academies.  Operation Gratitude works with representatives at Military hospitals, Wounded Warrior Transition Units, VA Hospitals and Veterans’ Organizations to provide care packages for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers to let them know they are never forgotten and because it is never too late to say, “Thank You.”

In addition, Operation Gratitude sends “First Responder Care Packages” to veterans who volunteer to assist with natural disaster and crisis relief efforts world-wide, to thank them for their continued service.

Battalion Buddy Program:

In cooperation with Family Readiness Officers and battalion leaders nationwide, Operation Gratitude provides special stuffed toys – known as Battalion Buddies – to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel as their units prepare to deploy.

Our special “Battalion Buddy” care packages contain a large, cuddly stuffed animal, along with other special snacks and items. The Battalion Buddy packages are given to each child at their parent’s pre-deployment or farewell event so the child has something to hug while their Mommy or Daddy is away.

The Battalion Buddy Program is designed to serve and encourage the young children of deploying troops and offer them some degree of comfort while their parent is far away, serving their country.

Who We Serve:

Operation Gratitude sends packages to Wounded Warriors, Veterans, New Recruits and Deployed members of all Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and to units from all states and territories. While we will send at least 150,000 care packages per year, we know the recipients share with their comrades, so we project that at least 250,000 service members will be directly touched by our program annually. In addition, the impact of our program on morale is felt generally throughout the Military (2.7 million people) and by the loved ones of those who serve (several million more).

Demographics of Population Served::
The demographics of Operation Gratitude recipients mirror the overall makeup of our Armed Forces, which in turn closely reflect the American population. The 2008 published survey results:
African-American: 12%
Asian: 3%
Caucasian: 65%
Hispanic: 13%
Native American: 2%
Other (describe): 5% Declined to Specify
The gender demographics of our recipients also reflect the overall makeup of our Armed Forces, which is approximately 85% male and 15% female.


OUR FINANCES

DOWNLOADS:

2013 Reports
2013 Financial Statement
2013 Form 990

2012 Reports
2012 Financial Statement
2012 Form 990
2012 Annual Report

2011 Reports

2011 Financial Statement
2011 Form 990
2011 Annual Report

2010 Reports

2010 Financial Statement
2010 Form 990
2010 Annual Report

2009 Reports

2009 Financial Statement
2009 Form 990
2009 Annual Report

2008 Reports

2008 Financial Statement
2008 Form 990
2008 Annual Report

Operation Gratitude is a California corporation, granted 501(c)(3) exempt status by the IRS, and recognized as a charitable organization by the California Franchise Tax Board.

More than 95% of all donations are devoted to Program Services.

 Operation Gratitude is proud to have received a 5-Star rating and earned the Guide Star Exchange Seal, demonstrating our commitment to transparency. 
Audits by state and charitable watchdog groups have determined that we meet all  standards for charitable accountability. 

This is a tribute to the patriotic spirit of the many key volunteers who devote themselves to the organization without pay in order to express appreciation to the Military.

Operation Gratitude is proud to employ Veterans to fulfill key management functions.

All contents of  Operation Gratitude packages are donated by individuals and groups through collection drives, or by companies that donate their own products.  In-kind donations of products and services averages $10-12 Million/year.  Our cash budget for 2014, to ship up to 150,000 packages, is $2.25 Million. Our overall cost to assemble and ship each package is $15; the donated contents of each package are worth  $75-$100.

Tax Returns, Audited Financial Statements and the Annual Report are available online at www.guidestar.org or by clicking on the Download links above. To read reviews of Operation Gratitude, click: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/operation-gratitude-inc/

For more information or to receive hard copies of our financial materials, please email: cheryl@operationgratitude.com  or mail a request to: Operation Gratitude; 16444 Refugio Rd; Encino, CA 91436

BOARD MEMBERS:

Martha “Marty” Martin, Board Chairman
Richard E. Saklad, Treasurer
Sue Jensen-Pollard
Captain Jordan Blashek, USMCR
Robert A. Raskin
Sharman Borncamp
Tommy Reuter

OFFICERS, STAFF & KEY VOLUNTEER PERSONNEL:

Carolyn Blashek, Founder & CEO
Cheryl Zerah, Corporate Secretary & Chief Financial Officer
Chris Clark, Chief Development Officer
Angel Cuevas, Director of Operations
Dana Chotiner, Director of Corporate Relations and Special Events
Ann Hamilton, Social Media and Communications Manager
Kelly South, Paracord & Special Projects Manager
Bob Raskin, Inventory Manager
Esther Katzman, Troop Database Manager
Nancy Levy, Donor Manager
Medhanie Habte, Donor Manager and IT Specialist
Penny Alfonso, Volunteer & Community Service Coordinator


PRIVACY POLICY:

Operation Gratitude will never sell, rent or otherwise release supporters’ information to anyone. We will use your email address and/or phone number only in regard to questions about donations and to email our Newsletters (3-4x/year) and Press Releases (when exciting events occur). If you do not want to receive these notices, please email info@operationgratitude.com 


SECURITY PROCEDURES:

This Website has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control. The security measures used on this site include, but are not limited to, industry-standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, firewalls, and internal policies to maintain the security of stored data. While we follow generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage, is 100 percent secure. Therefore, while we strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.