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Operation Gratitude Survey Will Evaluate Civilian-Service Divide
Since its start, Operation Gratitude has worked 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. Operation Gratitude continues to support, encourage and offer thanks to those in service to our country. Photo Courtesy Operation Gratitude

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.”

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.

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

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 them on Twitter at @OpGratitude.