The Frontlines streamlines resource processes by providing direct communication between the veteran and resource agencies.
About Your Organization
United States, TN, Davidson County
Country where this project is creating social impact
United States, XX
Is your organization a
How long has your organization been operating?
Less than a year
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Entry Form title
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for less than a year
THE NEED: Describe the need for your solution and the size/dynamic of the community (ies) you will engage
Veterans and their descendants represent nearly 1/3 of the total U.S. population, and yet only 8 million veterans currently access their benefits (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2010). At least 400,000 uniform record locators providing support and services are listed on the National Resource Directory. Veterans have a lot of information and services available, but no integration, and little consistency amongst them.
Moreover, since 1973, the policy of not drafting civilians contributes to a lack of national focus, and as a result, fewer Americans are taking an interest in our nation's safety. During World War II, 12% of the population fought in the war; 2% in Vietnam, and now less than 1% of Americans fight in today’s wars. (Harvard University, 2007). This lack of personal connection contributes to the overall problems our country faces.
View this video to see why The Frontlines is needed. [video:http://vimeo.com/22499479]
THE SOLUTION: Please explain what your solution offers and how it is innovative. How will you put your solution into the hands of users or beneficiaries? Be specific!
Veterans have a lot of information and services available, but no integration, and little consistency amongst them. The Frontlines (TF) filters these resources and tailors them to the individual needing assistance through use of a comprehensive database and our software. TF is the only dedicated social utility network that enhances communication and information for veterans by uniting these 400,000 record locators and organizations under one common operating system.
In addition, TF is building customized, state-approved, veteran-oriented history lessons for schools across America. Each lesson plan will entail each of our nation's wars and the overall concept that selfless service to nation is also service to oneself. These lessons will not glorify war, but instead focus on the personal stories of service, sacrifice, and commitment to one another. By bringing the stories and veterans to the classroom we seek not to promote military service, but rather make a personal connection with our nation’s youths that inspires selfless service in whatever avenue it manifests.
THE MODEL: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference through use of information technology and media
The Frontlines (TF) accomplishes our mission by providing customized resources, blog, forum, and personalized social networks so that users can interact with one another, and possibly connect with former service members. Additionally, TF encompasses all forms of storytelling by utilizing social media in order to allow individuals to share their stories through videos, pictures, letters, art, or songs. There is also the ability to post book, movie, and gear reviews of items of interest by those affiliated with the military.
The disconnect between resources and veterans prohibits those in need from gaining valuable information. “Today due in part to the surge in claims from Iraq/Afghan wars, VBA has a backlog of 400,000 claims. VBA now takes an average of 177 days (six months) to process an original claim, and an average of 657 days (nearly two years) to process an appeal” (The Long-term Costs of Providing Medical and Disability Benefits, 2007).
A mobile device application will extend the communications methods beyond The Frontlines website and allow veterans to access information from anywhere.
THE MARKETPLACE: Who are your peers and competitors? What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Nearly 400,000 resources are listed on the National Resource Directory, however, none of them are found and accessed under one umbrella until now. The Frontlines is the only dedicated social utility network that enhances communication and information for veterans by uniting the over 400,000 uniform record locators and organizations that support veterans under one common operating system.
In an effort to increase our services, we are grateful to Warrior Gateway who has given us 44,000 services and organizations as part of our growing database.
This Entry is about (Issues)
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
Serving our country for over 17 years has solidified my unwavering belief in selfless service. In addition, it has provided me insight between military and civilian cultural divides. I am continually reminded of our civic duty to care for those who have selflessly sacrificed for our country. Recently diagnosed with a recurrent medical condition, I have confronted the associated stigma of serving my nation within an altered capacity. I frequently travel to Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital. During one of these visits, I witnessed a soldier struggling to adjust his camouflaged backpack. This individual battled silently, without assistance, but instead with stares as he exited the medical hospital. This young soldier was a dual amputee, facing a military discharge, and forced to re-learn life without legs. This soldier inspired me to launch The Frontlines (TF) website.
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
Since our November 11, 2010 launch, within the first 90 days I personally collected over 1,000 videos, art, audio, pictures and songs from a wide variety of sources and individuals, and posted them on The Frontlines website. My personal expenses to create, launch, and collect veteran and their family's stories has been $16,861 (as of February 26, 2011). In comparison, the Library of Congress which has an FY 2010 of $699.4 million (increase of $52.6 million, or 8.1% above FY 2009, p. b) and their Veteran History Project has “amassed approximately 60,000 collections” since October 27, 2000 but “with approximately 10 percent of collections digitized’ (Library of Congress, p. 210). While I applaud their efforts, it is my firm belief that in an era of fiscal responsibility we can do better.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
By expanding the networking capability of the website to better facilitate communications between all veteran-related organizations at the federal, state, and local level, we plan to increase by 75% the number of veterans and their families that access the services of our website and the number of veteran “dossiers” by 90% by January 1, 2012. We also plan to partner with nonprofit organizations specifically serving the veteran community by 50% within two years, 75% within three years, and 90% within five years. Moreover, we plan to increase our web traffic steadily throughout the next five years eventually reaching at least 12,500,000 hits monthly by 2016.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
To increase number of veteran and family access by 75% and veteran dossiers by 90%
Expanding the networking capability of the website to better facilitate communications between all veteran-related organizations
Expand Search Engine Optimization to better reach targeted online populations as well as build a mobile application
Partner with nonprofit organizations specifically serving the veteran community in order to spread news about TF
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Creation of Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan history lesson plans to promote selfless service in America
Hire program administrators to write plans utilizing gathered veteran dossiers
Identify schools willing to implement TF lesson plans
Fund lesson plans in schools
How many people have been impacted by your project?
1,001 - 10,000
How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?
More than 10,000
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured
What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?
In an effort to keep the service free to veterans and their families, The Frontlines has, thus far, been self-sustained by founder Nathan Tierney. As a community-oriented business, and not a non-profit, funding has been difficult to come by in the form of grants. Nathan is looking into either becoming a non-profit or selling the company if funding does not come through soon.
How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?
The Frontlines will not only offer a convenient location for veterans and their families, it will create an online marketplace of ideas, fellowship, and propriety for generations new and old.
Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?
Nathan Tierney's passion for increasing civil activism and ownership will not be bound strictly to The Frontlines. The creation and maintenance of The Frontlines has only increased his fervor. The Frontlines may soon seek non-profit status or corporate buy-out. No matter what the form, The Frontlines is destined to meet the needs of veterans and their families for free for years down the road.
Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding
The Frontlines seeks to not be a mere tool or application but an ideal and a symbol from which others may be inspired toward selfless service. Expanding the role of The Frontlines beyond a content based storytelling website into a platform that provides resources and education is dependent upon our ability to develop innovative ways of empowering veterans and their families. To sustain the website we rely on Google Adsense and our affiliate with Amazon. These are influenced by the amount of traffic to The Frontlines.
Tell us about your partnerships
Storytellers receive no money for their efforts. However, 100% of all donations made on The Frontlines is given directly to the nonprofit organizations Wounded Warrior Project, or The Fisher House. Future plans are to expand the choices of vetted nonprofits that support veterans and military families. Giving individuals the freedom to choose and donate to vetted nonprofits is essential in creating self governance.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?
Presently, we have interns and volunteers from Georgetown, Iowa, California, Tennessee, South Korea, Kentucky and elsewhere helping to spread the word about The Frontlines. These dedicated men and women are imprinted with a spirit of selfless service, leaders in encouraging active citizenship, community development, and are building social capital through their efforts on behalf of active duty, veterans, and military families. Through volunteer efforts we serve to enhance engagement and confidence between government, organizations and citizens.
Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply
Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Pro-bono help (legal, financial, etc.), Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.
Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply
Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list
Spreading awareness about our existence and generating a national/international traction is perhaps the most difficult endeavor of any new idea or movement. While we have been innovative in our methods, new ways of spreading awareness are always of interest.
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences
The Frontlines is the first social network designed to empower all members of the armed forces through resources and education.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences
The Frontlines streamlines resource processes by providing direct communication between the veteran and resource agencies.