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|Founder||Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher|
|Focus||Service members, veterans and their families|
|Method||Construction of comfortable temporary lodging facilities near military hospitals and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers|
|Kenneth Fisher, Chairman and CEO|
Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans' families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. These homes are located at major military and VA medical centers nationwide, and, in Europe, close to the medical center or hospital it serves. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. Since its inception, the program has saved military and veterans' families an estimated $400+ million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation.
Currently, Ken Fisher, Zachary's grand-nephew, continues the legacy and serves as the Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation.
The Fisher House program was founded in 1990, after Pauline Trost, wife of Admiral Carlisle Trost, former Chief of Naval Operations, made Zachary Fisher aware of the need for housing for military families during hospitalization of a loved one.
The Fishers entered into a "public-private partnership" with the government, who allowed Fisher to build on their land, after which the home was "gifted" back to the military, to operate in perpetuity. He helped ensure that families could have "a home away from home", enabling them to be a part of the healing process.
The organization has also covered death gratuity payments of $100,000 USD to families of soldiers killed in the line of duty during government shut-downs. During the 16-day 2013 government shutdown, they provided $750,000 in grants to 30 families.
Fisher House Foundation, Inc. is an international, not-for-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for members of the military, veterans, and their families. The Foundation builds comfort homes at military and VA medical centers and gifts them to the government. Other Quality of Life programs include the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs, ongoing assistance to Fisher Houses, scholarships, support for continuing rehabilitation initiatives, and individual assistance to members of the military and their families during a crisis.
|Fisher House Foundation - Building a Fisher House|
In 1991, the first Fisher House was opened, at the National Naval Medical Center (now Walter Reed Military Medical Center) in Bethesda, Maryland. President and Mrs. Bush joined Zachary Fisher, and his wife Elizabeth, to dedicate the house.
Zach and Elizabeth continued to use their own money to build additional homes - one for the Army at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC; one for the Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Today, there are 76 Fisher Houses in operation, in the United States and Germany, with partnerships with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Help for Hero's, to open UK housing. Other locations have grown and expanded, from the original square footage, in order to not turn away those in need.
Fisher Houses have up to 21 suites, with private bedrooms and baths. Families share a common kitchen, laundry facilities, a warm dining room and an inviting living room. Fisher House Foundation ensures that there is never a lodging fee. The average stay of a family at the centers is nine days, but the longest stay is three years.
Fisher House Foundation also operates the Hero Miles Program, using donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge. The Foundation also manages a grant program that supports other military charities and scholarship funds for military children, spouses and children of fallen and disabled veterans.
According to the organizations website in 2013, it has served more than 180,000 current and former military families in its history, with an estimated 19,000 served in 2012. It also estimates that it has saved military families close to $200 million USD in lodging and transportation costs. Other estimates in 2018, state that the organization has served 335,000 families since 1990 and saved families $407 million USD.
Over the years the Fisher House Foundation has partnered with other foundations, organizations, and companies in order, to raise money, stock the homes, and help those at the homes and military families. Some of those include;
In 2018, the foundation was recognized as the top charity for supporting the military, veterans and their families, based on accountability, transparency and financial reports. Charity Navigator, a US charity rating agency, has designated the foundation with a four star rating for 14 straight years in 2017.