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The United Service Organizations of North Carolina (USO-NC), founded in 1941, is the lead organization charged with supporting military servicemen and women in the state of North Carolina. Eleven percent of U.S. military active duty forces call North Carolina home. With seven major military installations, North Carolina has the fourth largest demographic of active and reserve duty components in the country.
USO-NC is an independent 501C-3 organization chartered by national USO as a self-sustaining separate operating entity. USO-NC is wholly reliant on funding from private grants, donations, corporate gifts and sponsorships, and fundraisers. It receives no direct funding from the national USO or from the government.
With five centers statewide, USO-NC serves an average of 650,000 troops over the course of a year. Three travel-based centers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Raleigh Durham International Airport along with the Fayetteville Airport host an average of 13,075 visitors per month. In the past year, we have performed over 150 dignified returns and aided nearly 1500 family members of the Fallen by Honors support team. Two installation-based centers at Fort Bragg and Jacksonville (the oldest operating USO in the world) serve an average of 50,000 troops and their families, providing assistance with Rack Packs, care packages, deployments and homecomings. The USO-NC Mobile Unit travels statewide to support troops and their families in remote locations and at deployments and homecomings, with the secondary mission of disaster relief.
Beyond the traditional interest of providing troops with all the comforts of home, USO-NC has stayed relevant in the 21stcentury by offering support services and programs to military families. Statistics suggest that the impact of military deployments on soldiers and their families left behind is undue emotional, psychological and financial stress. The strain on the parent left behind often creates mental health issues that can have negative effects on children’s ability to thrive at home and at school. A recent Rand Corporation study links military parents’ deployments to their children’s lower academic achievement scores and increased mental and behavioral health problems.
USO-NC, its sponsors and 700 volunteers are passionately invested in helping to alleviate some of these challenges. This past year, USO-NC supported hundreds of troops with meal needs by hosting local holiday meals and distributing grocery store food cards and food pantry items. USO-NC actively helps keep troops and their families connected by providing an online video messaging tool funded by private donors and sponsors called the Smiles over Miles program. USO-NC has a statewide education initiative in the works designed to teach reading skills to elementary school military children who have fallen behind academically. Finally, USO-NC is in the planning stages of a children’s bereavement camp initiative called Camp Erin in partnership with the Moyer Foundation for children of fallen warriors.
USO-NC has experienced rapid growth over the past years in response to troop growth and evolving needs of military families in North Carolina. In the past year, the number of military personnel and families USO-NC served increased by 50%. USO-NC actively pursues corporate sponsorships, grants and individual donations both to address this need and to perpetually sustain the organization. In the past year, the organization successfully increased its funding from contributions by 30% and from grants by 100%. USO-NC successfully stewards its funding by keeping fundraising expenses at 8% and administrative expenses at 8% of budget.
More information on the USO-NC can be found HERE.