CreatiVets

Nashville, TN   |  www.creativets.org

Mission

CreatiVets’ mission is to empower wounded veterans to heal through the arts and music.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Mr. Richard Casper

Main address

672A Westboro Drive

Nashville, TN 37209 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-3617663

NTEE code info

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Every year, according to the Department of Defense, approximately one in five post-9/11 veterans are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About 12% of Gulf War veterans and 15% of Vietnam veterans also struggle with post-traumatic stress in a given year, and between 50,000 to 400,000 veterans may suffer from the effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The social and economic costs of post-traumatic stress and TBI are immense, and the Department of Veteran Affairs reported in July 2016 that the veteran suicide rate in the United States averages 20 suicides per day.

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?

Introduction to Art for Combat Veterans

Introduction to Art for Combat Veterans is a three-week, fully accredited summer art program conducted in partnership with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), University of Southern California, and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Classes enroll 8-10 students each, they are held on campus, and veteran participants are provided with art materials and supplies, meals, and lodging in a dorm with their classmates. Creativets programs include tuition, materials, travel, food, and housing at no cost to the participant. The cost per veteran is roughly $7000-$7500. Students have full access to studios and equipment at the school, and the program gives them an opportunity to create and discuss art with some of the best art instructors in the country. Through the process, veterans learn the benefits of using art as a form of stress and anxiety relief, as well as a way to tell their stories.  Upon completing the three-week program, participants are given an opportunity to share the pieces they have created at a gallery exhibition. Through this showcase, the graduates themselves help raise public awareness about the challenges facing veterans and help other veterans see how art can assist in addressing the psychological and emotional struggles that arise from combat-related trauma. Students who complete the program graduate with college credit and alumni status at the institution they attended.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with disabilities

Songwriting is particularly effective in relieving the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress because it builds new sensory pathways to traumatic memories, without requiring direct verbal expression, which so many veterans resist and avoid. This 3-day songwriting program is held in Nashville, Tennessee, and CreatiVets’ innovative peer-to-peer approach offers a safe environment where the excitement of working with hit songwriters outweighs veterans’ anxiety, so they learn to express thoughts and feelings, while avoiding the stigma associated with therapy. Capturing veterans’ experience in their own voice presents a deeply personal story with a universality that other veterans can understand and relate to. Veterans complete the program with more than their own song to listen to or play whenever they want; they have a new strategy for helping themselves cope with anxiety and depression.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with disabilities

This program is identical to our Nashville-based program, with the exception that the write is typically scheduled in conjunction with a CreatiVets event outside of Nashville where professional songwriters are already attending. These writes are arranged for veterans who are unable to travel.

Population(s) Served
Adults
People with disabilities

Zac Brown’s Camp Southern Ground—located near Fayetteville, GA—hosts residential summer camps for youth ages 7-17, while dedicating the rest of the year to “Warrior Week” sessions for military personnel, veterans, and their families. For one of these, CreatiVets offers a weeklong songwriting program. The curriculum covers basic song structure, idea development, elements of co-writing and storytelling, as well as songwriting method and technique. Together, each “tribe” of 3-5 veterans develops song ideas based on their real-life experiences or current challenges. Tribes then work with professional songwriters to hone and develop the song idea, while ensuring that the voice of each member is heard and included. On the last night, each tribe presents its song idea and the songwriters perform the songs as part of an emotional and meaningful finale. CreatiVets provides the curriculum/structure and recruits the professional songwriters, while Camp Southern Ground provides meals and lodging.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with disabilities

Words & Music is the cornerstone K-12 program offered by Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (CMHOF), which provides education resources for language arts, music, and other curriculum. Conceived as a way to keep wait-listed—and at-risk—veterans engaged and excited about our programs, CreatiVets partnered with CMHOF to develop and provide a 5-part online Words & Music course. The first four classes teach basic songwriting, while the last focuses on writing with a professional songwriter. In this format, unlike our other programs, veterans are not required to address their military experience while learning about songwriting. This allows veterans to jumpstart their songwriting education prior to addressing their unseen wounds of war in one-on-one or group sessions. This program has proven successful in preparing veterans for CreatiVets intense peer-to-peer songwriting programs, and as reinforcement for those who have already completed a songwriting program.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with psychosocial disabilities

Where we work

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 veterans with PTSD served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans, People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

CreatiVets music and art programs provide a nonthreatening way into mental health treatment for veterans often resistant to traditional forms of therapy.

Veterans who report increased satisfaction in their mental health

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans, People with disabilities

Related Program

Introduction to Songwriting for Combat Veterans - Nashville, TN

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

CreatiVets asked 20 participants in our recent songwriting program several questions regarding their current physical and mental health through pre and post program surveys.

Veterans who report increased satisfaction in their physical health

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans, People with disabilities

Related Program

Introduction to Songwriting for Combat Veterans - Nashville, TN

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

CreatiVets asked 20 participants in our recent songwriting program several questions regarding their current physical and mental health through pre and post program surveys.

Net promoter score

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Veterans

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This was the percentage of veterans who would recommend our programs to fellow service members. We have worked diligently to ensure that we maintain a 100% NPS

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.

CreatiVets is looking to tackle the challenges that veterans face involving their physical and mental health, wellness, and quality of life. Our programs are uniquely designed to provide therapeutic options for those veterans who resist other treatment approaches or may be unaware of their conditions or issues inhibiting their rehabilitation recovery. CreatiVets hopes to bridge the gap in services with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). We prioritize the quality of our programs so we can have the highest level of impact on a veteran. Our programs give veterans tools that they can use for coping with stress and anxiety often associated with PTS.

Additionally, CreatiVets will be prioritizing community engagement. We hope to eliminate the division between communities and break down barriers and stereotypes. To date, we have been able to accomplish this through art exhibits and other outreach events in local communities.

The immediate and central outcome that CreatiVets seeks is the prevention of suicide. In the long term we want to see veterans continuing to improve their mental state by using the tools they acquire through our programs. We want our programs to offer more than a glimpse of the healing that is possible, we want to jumpstart their journey and then support them as they continue to learn and grow.

We want veterans who have taken part in CreatiVets programs to continue using these tools to manage their own symptoms of anxiety and depression, and we also want them to share their success and to be an example for other veterans. Seeing how exponential the healing can be has been a pleasant surprise. Getting veterans through the program has an immediate positive effect on those participants. But afterwards, it’s been amazing to watch how our alumni stay in touch, spread the word, and want to be involved in helping other veterans in their own communities. Veterans who go through the programs experience obvious benefits, but when other veterans see the artwork or hear the songs, it helps them as well. We want to promote and repeat the expected, as well as the unexpected, positive outcomes we’ve seen.

One of our biggest assets are our partnerships with the universities that host our Introduction to Art for Combat Veterans courses. Students have full access to the studios, equipment, and facilities at each institution and complete the program with college credit and alumni status. Our flagship program has been held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) since 2015, and it continues to be a central draw for veterans whose anxiety is outweighed by the excitement of attending a world-class art institution. While we have worked with other schools (Virginia Commonwealth University [VCU] and the University of Southern California [USC]) we continue to have a special relationship with SAIC. Our co-founder and Executive Director, Richard Casper, is from Illinois and when he realized that expressing his own feelings through art was having a positive effect, he applied to SAIC and was accepted. That was the beginning of a relationship that we hope will continue for a long time. The faculty and staff at SAIC have been incredibly supportive, and the fact that they believe in the CreatiVets program and help facilitate whenever they can has had an incredible impact on the success of our programs. That is one reason that four CreatiVets participants, after completing our program, have applied and been accepted to a four-year degree program at SAIC.

Beyond the special partnership we have developed with prestigious universities, CreatiVets has a number of important relationships with partners such as Tee It Up for the Troops who have funded CreatiVets for five consecutive years, The Road Home which has referred a number of veterans to CreatiVets programs, and The Tech for Troops Project which has been providing laptop computers to art program participants.

Furthermore, we have built relationships throughout the songwriting/music industry. Some of these partnerships include the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Vanderbilt University as well as numerous songwriters and producers. By working with these exceptional organizations and individuals, we are able to offer our veterans a once in a lifetime songwriting experience that allows them to tell their own unique story in a creative way. Once the veteran has completed our songwriting program they return home with not just their story in song format, but also with an understanding of the songwriting process and the skills to continue their journey in music.

CreatiVets is very proud of expanding our current programs, scaling our programs while sustainably serving more veterans, as well as introducing a new range of offerings. This current fiscal year, we will have nearly tripled the number of veterans served through all our programs.

In October 2019, we launched a new songwriting program in partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music in Nashville, Tennessee, which will be held on campus each semester. This program gives us a firm, year-round, permanent footing in the Nashville music and songwriting community, something that we’ve needed to support the explosive growth of our songwriting cohorts hosted at the Grand Ole Opry each quarter.

In February of 2020, CreatiVets launched a new program working with the Dallas Museum of Art serving veterans in the Dallas/Ft. Worth and surrounding area. This partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, along with Bush Institute, Sammons Center for the Arts, and Nasher Sculpture Center, is an extended 6-month program enrolling up to 12 veterans per class that covers collage, photography, and drawing and other media as available.

Finally, to create and maintain a presence in the Chicago-area veteran community, CreatiVets opened its first brick-and-mortar facility in Bridgeport during the Fall of 2019. We will be using our space to display CreatiVets graduate work from our programs year round. We will rotate out pieces in the space that are on display as we collect more. Through the Bridgeport Art Center we will be able to participate in 3rd Fridays/Open house every month (https://bridgeportart.com/3rd-fridays/). With our work being displayed we will have constant foot traffic into our space that will provide the potential for future partnerships, as well as increased donations. The art center also has a lot of gallery space throughout the building where we will be able to showcase larger collections of work in the future. The class space will be used to continue programming for our national and local veterans. During the SAIC program, the space will showcase the class’s final exhibition.

We will also be using the space in collaboration with our ArtReach program for drawing and collage. The pieces created during this local program will also be exhibited at our Bridgeport space.

Serving as a workshop, gallery, and veteran community center, this multi-purpose space allows graduates to stay involved through community classes, continue to use the skills they’ve learned, to act as mentors for other veterans who may be interested in our programs.

Financials

CreatiVets
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

CreatiVets

Board of directors
as of 2/18/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Bryce Jenney

Sheila Yepsen

Jordan Pettit

Brandon Deatherage

Nanette Leonard

Nate Carden

Larry Felts

Bryce Jenney

Will Parker

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? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/18/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data