The Arizona Coalition for Military Families is a nationally recognized public/private partnership focused on building Arizona’s statewide capacity to care for, serve and support service members, veterans, their families and communities.
Launched in 2009, the Coalition was created based on a six months needs assessment. A team traveled statewide and spoke with hundreds of service members, veterans, family members, providers and community members to better understand the needs of our military and veteran community. The primary need identified through the assessment was stronger coordination and collaboration among the numerous military, government and community organizations that serve this population.
The Coalition was established as a public/private partnership and incubated within the Arizona National Guard as part of the federal Joint Family Support Assistance Program (JFSAP). In 2010, the Coalition moved under the umbrella of a nonprofit fiscal sponsor, which provides administrative support for accounting, finance and human resources.
In the decade since, the Coalition has used a collective impact model to engage partners in a common goal of strengthening how our community services, supports and employs service members, veterans and their families. Our Arizona models for state level collaboration and upstream veteran suicide prevention have been nationally-recognized by entities such as the Office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Guard Bureau, SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the White House and the New York Times.
Additional recognition and national conference and convening participation highlights include:
- Be Connected was featured in the New York Times in September 2019 as an example of a suicide prevention program with bipartisan support.
- Arizona’s Be Connected program was presented in a breakout session at the 2019 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference in Nashville, TN.
- In August 2019, the Coalition and our partners celebrated a decade of collaboration at the Arizona National Guard, exactly ten years later in the same location as the launch.
- Be Connected was featured at the signing of the President’s Executive Order for the PREVENTS suicide prevention initiative at the White House on March 5, 2019.
- The Coalition and the Phoenix VA were recognized as winners of the national VA Community Partnership Challenge for partnership in the Be Connected program in 2018.
- Arizona convened teams for the national Governor’s and Mayor’s Challenges to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans & Their Families from 2018 – 2020.
- Arizona’s Be Connected program was presented in a breakout session at the 2017 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference in Denver, CO.
- Be Connected was featured at the annual American Association of Suicidology conference.
- Arizona attended the first Implementation Academy focused on strengthening support for military families at the 2014 SAMHSA Implementation Academy in Baltimore, MD.
- In October 2014, Arizona was invited to present our capacity-building model as part of a best practice showcase of states at the first National Guard Bureau Joining Community Forces Workshop at Camp Dawson in West Virginia. In addition to a presentation of our model, there was also a panel discussion with the other best practice states. The event was hosted by General Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau. Also, in attendance were Brigadier General Ivan Denton, National Guard Director of Manpower and Personnel, The Adjutants General from all 54 states and territories, representatives of federal JCF partners and teams from the National Guard of each state and territory.
- In April 2014, Colonel James P. Isenhower, III, from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, presented the keynote address at the 5th Annual Statewide Symposium in Support of Service Members, Veterans & Their Families.
- Representatives of ACMF presented at the main conference and the Military Summit at the 2013 National Conference on Volunteerism and Service & Military Summit in Washington, D.C.
- Arizona was invited to participate in the Policy Academies as an alumni state and to provide technical assistance to other states going through the process for the first time at the 2013 SAMHSA Veterans Policy Academies in Washington, D.C.
- Representatives of ACMF, the Arizona National Guard and TriWest Healthcare Alliance presented on Arizona’s cross-sector integrated training model for suicide prevention at the 2012 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C.
- Representatives of ACMF presented at the Summit and main conference on strategies for effective military/community partnerships at the 2012 National Conference on Volunteerism and Service – Community Blueprint Summit for Change in Chicago.
- In conjunction with our annual Symposium and in partnership with SAMHSA, ACMF hosted representatives of ten states for advanced technical assistance training focused on state-level collaboration at a 2012 Technical Assistance Training.
- ACMF was invited to brief the spouses of senior military leaders, including the spouses of National Guard Adjutant Generals from every state at the 2012 Defense Leadership Conference.
- Arizona’s model is highlighted in a report released on April 2012 titled “Well After Service: Veteran Reintegration and American Communities,” focused on highlighting best practices for state-level, community-based models to support service members, veterans and their families. A representative of ACMF was part of a working group that contributed to the dialogue to develop the content of the report in support of the Joining Community Forces initiative.
- ACMF representative Nicola Winkel was invited to be a part of the Insight interview series by m/Oppenheim.
- ACMF briefed national key stakeholders and partners on our public/private partnership model for state-level collaboration at the 2011 Office of the Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs: Family & Employer Programs and Policies.
- ACMF briefed our public/private partnership model and contributed to the dialogue on best practice approaches for community collaboration at the 2011 Working Group in support of the Joining Community Forces Initiative.
- ACMF was invited to brief our partnership effort and participate in a panel focused on community support for warriors and families at the 2011 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff panel on Warrior and Family Support.
- ACMF briefed on our Military/Veteran Employment Initiative at the 2011 SAMHSA Veterans Policy Academy, a follow-up event included mini-teams from Policy Academy alumni states.
- A team from Arizona presented our public/private partnership model at the 2011 Department of Defense Family Resilience Conference in Chicago.
- 2011 Roundtable focused on veteran employment with Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
- ACMF has a lead role in implementing the action plan developed by a team of Arizona public and private stakeholders at the SAMHSA Veterans Policy Academy in Washington, D.C. in 2010. ACMF participated in follow up Policy Academies on state-level collaboration and tribal veterans in 2011.
- ACMF was invited to present the public/private partnership model used in Arizona as a best practice approach for fostering state-level collaboration in support of service members, veterans and their families at a 2010 Roundtable hosted by the White House National Security Council Staff and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
- Arizona was one of ten states to participate in a SAMHSA Veterans Policy Academy. The team consisted of leadership from key stakeholders from military, government and community organizations. The team developed an Action Plan with ACMF as the umbrella and facilitator to implement the plan.