How the Coast Guard Foundation Works

Coast Guard Foundation Support

A Coast Guard helicopter at work
A Coast Guard helicopter at work
Erik Simonsen/Getty Images

Founded in 1969, the Coast Guard Foundation (CGF) has been working with Guard members and their families for more than 40 years. It's a nonprofit organization governed by a board of 100 trustees and within that group, a 30 person board of directors. The operation's headquarters are in Stonington, Conn., and it only requires a staff of 10 civilians, plus a lot of volunteer hours, to meet the foundation's objectives. You may notice that only civilians work for the foundation. While it supports a military armed service, it isn't technically associated with the Coast Guard.

Each year the Coast Guard Foundation, through its private and corporate donors, contributes more than $4 million on average to the help support Coast Guard members and families [source: Coast Guard Foundation]. How exactly does the foundation provide support? The list is long and wide-ranging. It works with eight different scholarships to provide ongoing educational opportunities for Guard members, as well as the children of active service members. It also has various programs to help further education, raise awareness of Coast Guard accomplishments, provide for the fitness needs of active duty members and much more.

Here is a list of some of the projects the Coast Guard Foundation tackled in 2008 and 2009:

  • Carried out a public relations campaign tied to the search and rescue efforts of the Guard
  • Set up an e-commerce site to help fund some of the CGF programs
  • Raised funds for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • Awarded 16 scholarships to children of active duty members (in total, the Foundation provides scholarships to 73 dependent children in college)
  • Through the "Books for Boats" program, provided gift cards to Coast Guard cutters to help stock ship libraries
  • Distributed calling cards to members stationed in the Middle East
  • Established the Family Disaster Relief fund to help families of members lost in the line of duty
  • In 2005 and 2006, distributed more than $1 million to 250 member families affected by Hurricane Katrina

This is just a taste of what the CGF does to help maintain the morale, fitness and education of Coast Guard members. Why is it important to have an organization like the CGF? Anne Brengle, CGF president says it best:

"The culture of the Coast Guard is to turn away from public recognition. [They] protect us, guard us and rescue us, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Here at the Coast Guard Foundation, we see our job as 'rescuing the rescuers,' through a range of programs and support systems. It is very rewarding to be here for the men and women of the Coast Guard, and especially their families, when they need us most."