Frequently Asked Questions

How much support do you provide to Gold Star Family Members?

NSF is honored to provide support for its Gold Star and Surviving Family Members through numerous wellness programs and events. 15% of the total NSF Programs budget is allocated toward Gold Star programs. Our fallen warriors and their families are never forgotten.

Who is eligible for NSF scholarships?

The NSF empowers active-duty SEAL and SWCC personnel, their spouses and children, our SEAL and SWCC veterans, as well as the children and spouses of retirees, by awarding scholarships for higher education. We also support quality education options for dependent children in duty locations where choices matter to the overall success of the student. Additionally, the NSF provides funding for standardized college entrance exams for qualified transitioning NSW service members. The educational support we provide is independent of Navy programs and provides additional financial resources that would not otherwise be available.

Does the NSF support veterans?

The health and welfare of our veteran community is extremely important to us. The NSF supports both SEAL and SWCC veterans through our Veterans Crisis Assistance Fund, Death Support, Human Performance Support, and Frogman Reconnect events.

Why do you need my support? Shouldn’t “Big Navy” or the VA cover these needs? And haven’t we significantly downsized our deployments and presence overseas in recent years?

NSF does not overlap with support provided by the government but instead fills gaps in coverage that are outside the scope of DOD or the VA. We also review our programs annually to change with the needs of the NSW community. Much of what we do is not related specifically to overseas presence. Regardless, NSW forces will continue to be deployed overseas for the forseeable future and we will continue to meet their needs wherever and whenever they operate.

Why does the NSF have so much money you are not spending? Why do you need an endowment?

It takes a significant amount of resources to sustain the NSF’s ongoing programs and commitment to the warriors, veterans, and families of NSW. Challenges unique to NSW also require that we keep higher levels of reserve funds than the average non-profit. These include the nature of the work SEALs and SWCCs do, the unpredictable mortality rates in NSW, the probability of catastrophic events, unpredictable risks that emerge from political activity, and the economic risks we face due to recessions. These factors collectively create a critical need to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Foundation to support the NSW community. In addition, the NSF needs the ability to invest in large-scale projects that involve substantial funding over many years. And we are currently looking at sourcing some of these projects. In support of these combined needs, the NSF endowment is designed to last forever, provide a steady stream of funding over a long period of time, and ensure the NSF’s ability to provide critical support to NSW in perpetuity.

Why are the staff of the NSF paid while other non-profits are run by volunteers?

Running a non-profit the size of the NSF requires a full-time staff. However our staff is extremely small (about 20 people) and we operate on a hybrid model using both paid staff and volunteers to support our mission. Both groups are selected from a diverse pool of talent to include professionals and community members. Staff salaries are reviewed annually by the Board of Directors (BOD) compensation committee and salary surveys are reviewed to ensure pay levels are at median market rates.

What’s the make up of your Board of Directors and are they paid?

The NSF’s Board of Directors (BOD) is 100% voluntary. No BOD Members receive any compensation for their work on behalf of the NSF. The BOD is comprised of a minimum of 60% SEALs, and a mix of former officers and enlisted personnel. The remaining board seats are filled by NSW spouses and business professionals. As of Jan 2021, our BOD is comprised of 13 former SEALs and 7 civilians.

How do you spend marketing dollars, ensure that you advertise in ways consistent with the SEAL Ethos, and work with companies like Kill Cliff?

It’s important for the NSF to share only unclassified information about the dynamic community we support, as well as stories of how donor-supported programs have made a real difference in the lives of SEALs, SWCCs, NSW support personnel, veterans, and their families. This helps ensure we maintain our existing support and expand upon it. We take great pains to ensure we maximize every marketing opportunity to get the most out of every dollar spent. Much of the ad space we receive is donated. We also hold ourselves to the highest standard when it comes to how we advertise; we would never compromise the safety of the families and operators we support. In addition, the NSF establishes and maintains corporate partnerships with companies that share a commitment to the ethos of the NSW community and the principles on which the NSF was founded. These relationships are beneficial to the NSF in terms of financial commitment and marketing opportunities not organic to the NSF itself. We are extremely committed to marketing in a way that is consistent with the SEAL Ethos, both organically and via our partners.

How does the NSF support its events with active duty personnel?

The NSF is honored to provide NSW Active Duty families and Gold Star Surviving Families (GSSF) with the opportunity to travel to signature fundraising events each year. The NSF takes care to allow all NSW and GSSF families equal opportunities to attend. Each family submits their request to attend an event through the NSF registration link provided ahead of the event each year. Selection of attendees is random and always based on spots available vs. number of families who registered, as well as if they have previously attended the event. The NSF supports the attendance of Active Duty NSW service members, with prior JAG approval, regardless of rank and rate, and assesses equal command representation at each Signature Event. Additionally, the NSF puts forth a diligent effort to accommodate at least one event request from each NSW/GSSF who registered their interest to attend.

Is your support preferential to any specific geographic region, command, rank, or marital status?

The NSF supports all NSW members and their families, regardless of their location or marital status. There is no preferential treatment given to members of any command or specific ranks.

How much assistance goes to support personnel?

Legally our support of active duty cannot be limited to SEALs and SWCCs. This includes all of our programs, gifts, and opportunities. Veteran assistance does not include support personnel and is only aimed at SEAL and SWCC veterans.

How does the NSF support brain and mental health programs to include experimental treatments?

The NSF interacts with a wide variety of service providers, treatment facilities, and non-profits in the support of mental health and brain treatment programs. In all cases, our support is customized to the needs of the individual. We begin with basic interventions that have been proven to be effective (e.g., sleep, nutrition, exercise, development of coping skills, etc.) before moving to other types of treatment. The NSF also continually assesses new interventions and supports numerous adjunctive and emerging therapies. NSF began investing in various clinical trials focused on alternative/experimental modalities in 2020. This included a $50,000 backing of MDMA assisted therapy research by MAPS. As with all of our funded treatments, the NSF strives to ensure they are both safe and effective. We require data analyses from all partners and work with a psychologist and Scientific Advisory Board to assess the efficacy of NSF-created programming and to evaluate the efficacy of partner programs.

Has COVID impacted NSF’s support?

NSF support has been unwavering during COVID-19. We also added additional means of support for families specifically affected by COVID via our Family Assistance Program.

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