A Dallas nonprofit's summer fundraising campaign has a very specific goal: to provide educational scholarships to 118 spouses and children of fallen and wounded U.S. service members.
It's a mission of the Folds of Honor North Texas chapter and being called, simply, "Operation 118."
The campaign kicked off Memorial Day Weekend and will continue through Labor Day. Independence Day, the patriotic holiday that falls in between, is a day when many Americans consider how they can support servicemen and women, organizers say. And the need is greater now than ever.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, charities like Folds of Honor are seeing higher demand for critical services along with uncertainty surrounding fall fundraising events. Folds of Honor typically holds a gala the Saturday of Veterans Day weekend every November.
“I know that North Texas is a giving community, and we will get through COVID-19 and continue to successfully live out our mission," says Sarah Duncan, regional developmental officer of Folds of Honor North Texas, in a release. "Folds of Honor has been supporting the loved ones of the fallen and disabled since 2007. Our hope is that during this critical time, people will — now more than ever — give and support our work through Operation 118."
For 13 years, Folds of Honor has given scholarships to the families of military men and women who have fallen or been disabled while on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. In 2019, they awarded 4,500 scholarships nationwide and 118 in North Texas. This year's target number of 118 in DFW was chosen to match last year's total.
Scholarships are worth $5,000 each and support tuition and tutoring for children in Kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as higher education tuition assistance for dependents and spouses.
The 118 spouses and children who receive the scholarships will be “legacy recipients” — those who received scholarships last year and plan to continue their education in the 2020-2021 school year.
"With the support of the community, Folds of Honor North Texas can continue to help equip and educate the loved ones of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice through the Operation 118 campaign," Duncan says.
For more information and donations, visit the Folds of Honor website.