Empowering heroes and their families

aka YRF   |   Bethesda, MD   |


Founded in 2005, the mission of Yellow Ribbon Fund is to provide support to severely wounded, injured or ill American service members, their caregivers, and families during lengthy medical recovery and reintegration into civilian life.

Ruling year info



Vito Pampalona

Main address

P.O. Box 41048

Bethesda, MD 20824 USA

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NTEE code info

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Many wounded, injured, or disabled veterans rely for their day-to-day care on informal caregivers: family members, friends, or acquaintances who devote substantial amounts of time and effort to caring for them. Time spent caregiving can lead to the loss of income, jobs, or health care and exact a substantial physical and emotional toll. To the extent that caregivers’ well-being is compromised, they may become unable to fulfill their caregiving role, leaving the responsibilities to be borne by other parts of society. In response to the need, Yellow Ribbon Fund developed the Keystone Program. Keystone is defined as the central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together. Therefore, stronger individual(s) providing supportive care is a keystone to the progressive stability arch of patient transition. Without them, those facing obstacles of treatment, rehabilitation, and transition into civilian society will face a lower assimilation success rate and a lower quality of life.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Crossroads Program

YRF provides lodging, housing and transportation to families of severely wounded, injured or ill service members receiving medical treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. We provide free rental cards, hotel stays, and fully-furnished apartments to keep families together during the sometimes lengthy recovery process. We also provide assistance to families visiting their hospitalized service member.

Population(s) Served
Military personnel

From its start, YRF has paid special attention to the needs of military caregivers. Since caregivers are often the linchpins of their families, YRF has created the Keystone Program to provide caregivers sanctuary, skills, and stability through monthly respite and social events, and education and educational life skills training. Our recipients (Crossroads and Keystone) are eligible to apply to attend special retreats where they can relax in a protective environment, network with others facing similar life issues, and bond closer as a family unit. Feedback from some caregivers state that only these retreats succeed in getting their disabled veteran out of the house. We also send six or more families each year to a "make-a-wish" type dream vacation to Disney World. We believe that strengthening the family unit keeps the family strong, reduces the chance of suicidal thoughts, and provides overall life-coping skills.

Population(s) Served

YRF engages patients recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and helps them escape from the monotony of hospital and rehabilitation life by hosting on-base events like holiday parties and social gatherings and off-base events such as trips to sporting and cultural events in the Washington DC area.

Population(s) Served
Military personnel

Where we work


Dick Price Community Service Award 2012

Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce

One of the best small charities in Washington, DC area 2010

Catalogue for Philanthropy

One of the best small charities in Washington, DC area 2008

Washingtonian magazine

One of the best small charities in Washington, DC area 2017

Catologue for Philanthropy Greater Washington

One of the best small charities in Washington, DC area 2018

Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington

One of the best small charities in Washington, DC area 2019

Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington

One of the best small charities in Washington, DC area 2020

Catalogue for Philanthropy Greater Washington

2021 Military Nonprofit Improving Quality of Life 2021

Newman's Own / Fisher House

Nation's Finest 50 Award 2023

Nation's Finest

Affiliations & memberships

Catalogue for Philanthropy 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of nationwide chapters to support families

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Keystone Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Chapter growth depends on number of eligible and interested recipients and availability of a qualified coordinator.

Program services expense ratio

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Goal is to maintain program services spending at a minimum of 80 cents of every dollar spent. Results are confirmed by an independent audit.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We offer supplemental assistance to wounded, ill and injured service members and their caregivers – that bridges the gap between their needs and earned benefits – enabling families to stay together during critical recuperation phases. Our priority has always been to keep families together during the recovery process for wounded, ill, and injured service members. We do this by providing housing and transportation during recovery and with family caregiver support when and where it is needed.

Our Crossroads Program provides free fully-furnished apartments, hotel stays and rental cars for
visiting family members and patients returning for medical treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Our purpose in providing these services is to relieve the family from crushing financial cost of medical travel and lodging while receiving treatment for injuries or illnesses acquired as result of their military service to our country. Recipients of our services are referred to us by medical staff at Walter Reed Hospital

Our Keystone Program offers peer-to-peer support, family retreats, health and wellness opportunities, life skills development, training and job placements to military caregivers.

Our Keystone Program goals are to:
- Grow the number of chapters across the country
- Increase the number of appropriate activities that promote health and wellness, life skills development, and peer-to-peer network support.
- Strengthen the family be encouraging participation in our events, activities, and retreats.

Our overall goal is to keep these families together and help them overcome the difficulties of dealing with often lifetime medical struggles by providing a safe and nurturing environment.

Our strategies for managing our Keystone Program include:
- Increase the number of caregiver chapters throughout the country, primarily focusing on areas where large numbers of disabled veterans reside.
- Expanding programs to provide educational opportunities, networking and bonding.
- Providing activities and retreats to caregivers to promote their wellness, give them respite from the burdens of caregiving, and strengthen their families.

We have been building and nurturing partnerships with nonprofit organizations serving similar communities to help us achieve our objectives. Such partnerships include Wounded Warrior Project, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Fisher House, Luke's Wings, Code of Support Foundation, FourBlock, VetAdvisor, Military Veteran Caregiver Network, and Vail Veterans Program. We also maintain a strong presence and healthy relationship with the military medical staff and case workers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The latter refer military families in need of assistance and help us screen to ensure we are assisting deserving individuals.

Our chapter caregiver coordinators reach out to medical facilities serving the local veteran population, including military and Veterans Affairs hospitals, and help identify military caregivers needing assistance.

Our Keystone Program caregiver coordinators give us extra strength in experience and contacts as each coordinator is also a caregiver of a wounded, ill or injured American veteran. Thus, they fully understand the challenges, issues, and obstacles military caregivers face in their daily lives and those of their military veteran.

If our budget allow, we offer retreats at special locations across the country to provide caregivers a closed and safe environment to develop their physical and mental well-being, thus providing them renewed strength to continue their caregiver duties. Retreat locations have included a West Coast location, an East Coast location, and special retreats at Patriot Point on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland through a special relationship we have with Patriot Point and the Military Bowl Foundation.

In 2021, we began offering a special family retreat in southern Florida at the Ocean Reef Club where we bring 10-15 families whom we feel have special needs or difficulties where a respite would be beneficial. We solicit applications from our recipients for the limited number of spots. We then provide four days of special activities and full accommodations for these families where we promote networking, story telling, and bonding. We also provide club members and donors to meet our families to gain a fuller understanding of the challenges the families face and how the donations make a difference in the lives of our recipients.

Keystone Program chapter growth has been as follows:
FY 2019 - 6 chapters
FY 2020 - 11 chapters
FY 2021 - 10 chapters
FY 2022 - 10 chapters
FY 2023 - 10 chapters
FY 2024 - 10 chapters

In FY 2021, we successfully launched a national chapter for military caregivers who do not reside in one of our local chapter areas. The National Chapter members are provided virtual and online support, including family activities, training, and networking. This chapter had over 600 unique members as of mid 2023. But all caregivers can participate in National Chapter events.

In FY 2023 we launched a Jacksonville NC chapter and relaunched our dormant Ft. Liberty (formerly Ft. Bragg) chapter. We have also analyzing a request for a chapter in cental California and a couple of other areas.

The presence of our Keystone Chapters are based in part on our ability to attract participants and finding qualified and suitable local leadership for those chapters. Thus the number of active chapters has fluctuated from year to year. We are also competing with other veteran service organizations, some with much larger resourses. The strength of a local chapter depends in part on our ability to hire a local, qualified part-time coordinator and sustained interest by Chapter members.

Keystone Program Partnerships: In FY 2021, we leveraged connections with Wounded Warrior Project, VetAdvisors, and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation for financial and strategic assistance, allowing us to maintain and grow our Keystone Program in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic. These partners helped us improve our metrices to provide us with outcome-based performance measure. We've had approximately 300 participants using the MyVetAdvisor mental health application, in partnership with Rose Health and VetAdvisors. We also implemented a case management program to improve our metric information, track the status and participation rate of our Keystone members, and record Crossroad services (lodging, temporary housing, and local transportation) provided to disabled veterans and their families. We also implemented anoymous surveys to collect feedback on the quality of our activities and other items of interest. In 2023, we began a concerted effort to ensure that all Crossroads recipients are automatically enrolled in our Keystone Program so that they receive follow-up assistance back home after their medical treatments.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 10/24/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Pampalona Vito

Vito Anthony Homes

Term: 2022 - 2025

Gary Bowman

Vito Pampalona

Vito Anthony Homes & Building Company

Joseph W Jacques

Jacques Financial

William J Scott

Merrill Lynch

Adam Shepherd

Go Energistics, LLC

Timothy Sullivan

John Vollmer

Sean W. Spicer

RigWil, LLC

Thomas Lynch

Iron Point Partners, LLC

Jennifer Christman


Anatolio B Cruz

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Lloyd H. Polmateer

First Financial Group

Frank Rewold

Frank Rewold & Sons

Tripp Shreves

The Monument Group at Wells Fargo Advisors

Lisa Slater

Dillon Behr

RPS-Executive Lines

Ben Harrow

PAM Jets

Janelle King

Osprey Management

Chris Bock

Trevor Pampalona


Mike Moore

Caliber Home Loans

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/24/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/03/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.