Following the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, like many Americans, Jim Hake wanted to respond -- and he did so very creatively, by founding Spirit of America, a non-governmental organization with the mission to provide very practical assistance to Americans serving in the military overseas, and to assist those individuals in need who are located in the places where those Americans are serving:
We were founded in 2003. Since then we have provided millions in targeted assistance to help US troops to help local people in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa: Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Pakistan, Djibouti and Kenya.
We've established a groundbreaking model for partnership of a nonprofit organization with the US military. Our support is fast, flexible and decentralized. It improves conditions and relationships on the front lines. It makes our troops safer and more successful in their mission. And, it helps people in remote areas that official aid programs don't often reach.
The financials and Annual Reports of accomplishments are posted at the Spirit of America website, and 100% of every dollar contributed goes directly to the specific project that you decide to contribute to; it’s your choice. There is no funding from the government or the military.
Among the members of the Advisory Board is the Hon. George P. Schultz, author of “Turmoil and Triumph My Years As Secretary of State,” described by reviewer Robert David Steele as having some “extremely thoughtful views on competition in the information age, and very strong explicit angry statements against the "cult of secrecy." Secretary Schultz’s most recent book is “Issues on My Mind: Strategies for the Future," co-written with Henry Kissinger, which was released by the Hoover Institution Press in July.
General (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal describes Spirit of America as “a philanthropic rapid response team – one that offers humanitarian and economic assistance at the request of our troops and in support of our nation’s interests."
The goodwill of the American people,” he says, “can make a deep and lasting impression – and most importantly, “it helps to make our troops safer and more successful in their mission.”
We provide whatever our troops need to help the local people. We offer goods and expertise. We also create programs that involve the Americans in helping local people in unique ways.
Goods: we've provided sewing machines, school supplies, tools, water pumps, solar lights, midwife kits, winter jackets, sandals, medical supplies and much more.
Expertise: we provide troops access to private-sector know-how through our partnership with GLG [Gerson Lehrman Group]
Research. Troops only need ask us a question. We've connected troops with experts in flood control, road construction, business creation and more.
Solutions: Our School Partners program pairs American schools with schools in countries where US troops serve. Students videoconference and US schools assist their overseas partner.
For those interested in learning more about the particular projects currently sponsored by the Spirit of America, or in following the progress of past and ongoing projects, an email newsletter is available at their website. There is also a blog with details about many of their projects.