Our Approach

The Arizona Coalition for Military Families (the Coalition) is dedicated to building the state’s capacity to work together to support service members, veterans and their families. With the core belief that everyone can have a positive impact, we are focused on empowering all Arizona residents with knowledge and skills to make a difference in the lives of those around them through four key areas:

  • Statewide Coordination and Collaboration: Ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach to supporting service members, veterans and families across all 15 counties in Arizona.
  • Professional Development and Community Education: Provide information, resources, and training to all members of the community to increase the number of providers knowledgeable about the needs of service members and their families.
  • Regional Community Capacity Building: Help individual communities throughout the state build stronger networks to support individuals and families.
  • Strategic Partnership: Connect organizations and foster collaboration among providers to have a greater collective impact.

 

National Recognition

The Coalition has been recognized as a best practice for state-level collaboration by the White House National Security Council Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and National Guard Bureau, as well as the Joining Community Forces roundtable.

The Coalition has also participated in events and convenings conducted by entities such as the Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Guard Bureau, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Military Family Research Institute and the Points of Light Foundation providing thought leadership, and recommendations based on Arizona’s programs and expertise in building community support for military members and veterans.

In fact, many best practice models, including the Coalition itself, have emerged from Arizona including:

  • Be Connected: A statewide suicide prevention initiative that builds upon our community’s existing capacity.
  • 5-Year Plan to End Homelessness: Partnership between the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as numerous community partners, in coordination with the national plan.
  • Arizona National Guard Be Resilient Program: Implemented in 2011 under the leadership of Major General Hugo E. Salazar, The Adjutant General, this program focused on building resilience, crisis response, stress first aid and connection to external resource via the Coalition.
  • Arizona National Guard/Vet Center Memorandum of Understanding: This partnership engaged the Mobile Vet Center to provide an on-site response to stress, crisis and traumatic events that occurred within Arizona National Guard units.
  • Arizona Roadmap to Veteran Employment: Engages job seekers, employment service providers, employers, and the community to connect service members, veterans and their families to employment opportunities, training, and resources.
  • Vetting Process: Using Arizona’s innovative Guidelines for CARE, a partner vetting process serves as the gateway to the Military/Veteran Resource Network.

 

Additional recognition and national conference and convening participation highlights include:

 

  • Arizona’s Be Connected program was presented in a breakout session at the 2017 VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference in Denver, CO.
  • 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.

 

Upstream Prevention

Despite significant efforts and financial investment in programs and initiatives, suicide rates among veterans have risen 35% since 2001.

To date, a majority of efforts have been focused primarily on crisis intervention. While the traditional approach must continue, it is critical to consider how communities engage and connect with veterans and their families pre-crisis.

The Coalition leverages an upstream prevention approach that provides a wider window of opportunity to reach individuals by empowering all community members with the knowledge and resources needed to help.

By utilizing a collective impact model – everyone working together toward a shared goal – we have greater potential to achieve systems change.

 

Systems Change

The Coalition believes an upstream prevention approach focused on providing resources and support to address key stressors before moments of crisis provides the greatest opportunity to achieve systems change.

Through a variety of initiatives, the Coalition works to equip all Arizona citizens with the knowledge, training, and tools needed to effectively reach out or respond in a moment of need. Whether service members, veterans and their families need help securing employment, navigating relationships or addressing financial concerns, our goal is to make sure they can easily find support and access resources.

By embedding support deep in our community, we believe we can collectively intervene earlier and more effectively.

 

Capacity Building

The Coalition is focused on building Arizona’s capacity to care for and support all service members, veterans and their families. To do this, we engage public and private sector partners to focus on four areas:

  • Statewide Coordination and Collaboration: Ensuring a consistent and comprehensive approach to supporting our service members, veterans and their families.
  • Community Outreach and Education: Providing information, resources, and training to all sectors of the community on the issues and needs affecting the military and veteran population.
  • Regional Community Capacity Building: Helping communities throughout the state build stronger networks to support individuals and families.
  • Strategic Partnership: Leveraging existing community assets, connecting organizations and fostering collaboration among partners.

Rather than providing assistance directly, the Coalition leverages a network of partner organizations that serve, employ and assist our service members, veterans and family members on a daily basis. We develop and implement strategic initiatives and builds the infrastructure necessary to support these organizations and our community’s ability to have no wrong door and no wrong person and the right resource at the right time.

 

Collective Impact

The Coalition leverages a collective impact model, meaning we are focused on uniting and empowering all Arizona citizens to work toward a shared goal of caring for and supporting our service members, veterans and their families.

The Coalition serves as the backbone organization in the model, coordinating resources and support networks statewide through various partners in order to best serve our military and veteran population.

 

Statewide Focus

The Coalition supports service members, veterans and their families, as well as organizations and community members statewide. Through a variety of initiatives and partners, we provide resources and training in all 15 counties in order to ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach to supporting our military and veteran population.