Supporting Those Who Support You

A Snapshot of Local Veteran Charities and Services

November is a time for pumpkin pie, turkey and cooler weather, but it is also a time to remember and honor those who currently serve, those who have served and those who have died for our country. Here are a few charitable organizations and services in Middle Tennessee that assist our veterans, that you can support.

Next Response Foundation 
Next Response is a charitable organization that assists veterans and first responders in their times of need. Founder and CEO, Todd Nichols, a former Army Special Forces Green Beret, knows firsthand the sacrifices these heroes have made to secure our freedom and keep our country safe. This nonprofit Franklin-based 501(c)(3) gives back to those heroes by helping improve their quality of life, and alleviating the burden of stress that can come with their service. Assistance includes helping to build homes for veterans in need, providing financial assistance and veteran outreach. The organization is true to its motto, “When life happens, we respond,” by doing what needs to be done, no matter how big or small the task. Next Response recently collaborated with the American Legion and Boy Scouts to help do lawn care for veterans who needed assistance, and installed air conditioning in another veteran’s home during the hot summer. Join the team to support our everyday heroes in Middle Tennessee and do the “11.11.11 Challenge” by donating $11, doing 11 push-ups and challenging 11 friends to do the same.

Williamson County Veteran Services

The purpose of this service is to help veterans navigate the sometimes overwhelming process of filing claims and obtaining rightful benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Many times, veterans do not know what information is required or what needs to be done to receive a benefit and therefore a claim goes unfiled or is denied. Williamson County Veteran Services Director, Ben Welch, is happy to help guide veterans through the process, determine what benefits, if any, can be claimed and how to proceed if a claim is denied. This service is free of charge and benefits received are tax-free. If you are a veteran and believe a benefit is owed to you, contact Williamson County Veteran Services or reach out to Ben Welch at

We Are Building Lives 

Founded in 2007 during a First Methodist Church Bible study, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is dedicated to eliminating homelessness among our country’s veterans. They provide clothing, food and shelter to veterans in need and help transition them back into society. This is accomplished through two major projects. The first, called Academy House, shelters up to 11 homeless veterans (there is currently a waiting list of more than 50 individuals) and serves 11 Middle Tennessee counties. There is an 88 percent success rate of helping them get back into a home. So far, We Are Building Lives has assisted 1,100 veterans.  Project Advance helps veterans from becoming homeless when they are behind in bill payments. They have helped more than 100 families thus far, but the need for help has grown. A $25 donation not only goes to a family in need, but also the donor receives a challenge coin and tumbler as a thank you. We Are Building Lives is looking to expand monthly donations to help even more in need.

Operation Stand Down Tennessee (OSDTN)
Operation Stand Down is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit veteran-owned comprehensive agency serving veterans in Tennessee with the mission of connecting veterans to career, community and crisis services. In addition to legal services, peer engagement, and service referrals, OSDTN strives to “Engage, Equip and Empower Veterans” by offering career support, including helping them build their resume and network, and providing mentorship and conducting mock interviews. They also offer transitional housing support, which provides veterans a safe place to stay while they look for housing, and helps those struggling to find affordable housing. This is accomplished through a 90-day program that can be expanded up to two years, depending on the circumstances. Another service helps with urgent needs such as food insecurity, transportation and financial assistance. OSDTN has offices in Nashville, Clarksville and Columbia and served 3,500 veterans in 2022. Visit for upcoming events, such as the Music City Cares Veterans Day Benefit and for other ways you can support.

CreatiVets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of empowering wounded veterans and helping them heal through art and music. Richard Casper, a Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient, and Linda Tarrson, co-founded the organization in 2013, in Illinois. The headquarters transitioned to Nashville in 2020 to have better access to the music community. CreatiVets offers a number of creative outlets including a songwriting program, which provides veterans a free three-day trip to Nashville where they can partner with songwriters and musicians to write and express themselves through music. CreatiVets also has visual arts
opportunities, having recently teamed up with Belmont University to offer a three-week summer Visual Arts program which culminates in a Visual Arts show featuring participating veterans’ work. Creative art programs, such as those offered by CreatiVets, have been shown to help reduce PTSD symptoms and depression.

Tennessee Folds of Honor
This 501(c)(3) charitable organization provides life-altering scholarships to family members of disabled and fallen soldiers and first responders. This organization has awarded 44,000 scholarships since 2007, of which, 41percent went to minatory recipients. The Children’s Scholarship seeks to provide support to students in grades K-12 and includes private education tutoring, and required books and uniforms. The Higher Education Scholarships are awarded to spouses and children currently attending or recently accepted into a three or four-year degree program. In 2022, the University of Tennessee partnered with the Folds of Honor Foundation to establish Vols of Honor endowment scholarships to offer additional financial assistance to UT students receiving a Folds of Honor scholarship. Upcoming Folds of Honor events include “Heroes and Holidays 2023,” a fundraiser being held on
December 7, in Franklin, centered on the Folds of Honor mission. Check out the website to learn more about this and other events as well as ways to contribute.

Additional Organizations Offering Veterans Assistance

Disabled American Veterans,
We Pick Up,
Wounded Warrior Project,
Pets for Patriots,
K9s for Warriors,
Gary Sinise Foundation,
Downtown Franklin Rotary Club,
Post 215 American Legion, Franklin,
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW),

“Peace has victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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