First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden met at the White House today with Leadership 18, a coalition of national non-profit chief executive officers, to discuss military family matters. They were joined by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his wife Deborah Mullen, Dr. Cliff Stanley, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and other White House officials. The First Lady and Dr. Biden have issued a national call to action to address the unique challenges facing military families, build stronger civilian-military community ties, and engages and highlights the service and sacrifice of military families. The meeting today provided an opportunity to discuss ways to build a lasting national commitment to support and engage military families.
Leadership 18 is a coalition of the some of the country’s largest and most well respected human development non-profit CEOs. Altogether, the 22 member organization serves more than 87 million people annually and has more than 5.5 million staff and volunteers. The coalition represents long established charities, faith-based organizations, and nonprofits focusing on social and health issues supporting and promoting the safety, health, well-being, social and economic development of individuals and families.
Leadership 18 attendees included: Peter Goldberg, Alliance for Children and Families; Gail Mc Govern, American Red Cross; Roxanne Spillett, Boys and Girls Club of America; Father Larry Snyder, Catholic Charities USA; Kathy Cloninger, Girl Scouts of the USA; Judy Vredenburgh, Girls Incorporated; Jim Gibbons, Goodwill Industries International; Jill Schumann, Lutheran Services in America; Dr. David Shern, Mental Health America; Stephen Bennett, United Cerebral Palsy; Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide; Charles Gould, Volunteers of America; Neil Nicoll, YMCA of the USA; and Lorraine Cole, YWCA USA.
Earlier this month during a speech at a summit hosted by the National Military Family Association, the First Lady challenged every sector of American society to mobilize and take action to support and engage military families today and for decades to come. During the May 12 speech the First Lady said, “One percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, but we need 100 percent of Americans to support them and their families. This has to be all hands on deck.” The hope is that events like this one build a coalition to make this a reality.
Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady