Armed Services Arts Partnership

Where veterans thrive through the arts

aka ASAP   |   ALEXANDRIA, VA   |  www.asapasap.org

Mission

The Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) cultivates community and growth with veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers through the arts. We promote expression, skill-building, and camaraderie through classes in stand-up comedy, improv, storytelling, creative writing, and the visual arts. Our innovative approach equips veterans with transferable life skills, a renewed sense of purpose, and improved well-being, while strengthening ties between veterans and their communities through the arts.

Ruling year info

2015

Executive Director

Mr. Brian Jenkins

Main address

2461 Eisenhower Ave Floor 2

ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-4007504

NTEE code info

Performing Arts (A60)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Performing Arts (A60)

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

ASAP serves regions with significant veteran populations and arts communities, but few arts programs for veterans. The challenges that many veterans face are significant and inadequately addressed. The military transition is abrupt, and it often leaves veterans in need of social support, purpose, an expanded identity, and relevant skills in the civilian world. The issues associated with this transition can have significant mental health effects and can make coping with trauma and stress more difficult. At the same time, less than one percent of the population has served since 9/11. This manifests in communities that lack an understanding of the military experience and are under-prepared to support veterans' integration into civilian 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?

Comedy Bootcamp

Comedy Bootcamp is the first-ever stand up comedy class for veterans, service members, and military family members. Led by professional comics, the seven-week course develops the comedy writing and performing skills of participants through hands-on instruction and group feedback. Comedy Bootcamp culminates with a graduation show at a local comedy club, with each participant delivering a five minute set to a public audience.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

We offer eight-week, beginner-level short form improv classes at no cost to veterans, service members and military family members. Our improv courses provide veterans with a safe, constructive, and team-oriented environment to build valuable skills and express themselves. Oh yeah, and we typically end up laughing our butts off in the process. Our improv class culminates with a graduation show, where students invite family members and friends to support them as they take the stage for the first time! Upon graduation, alumni can participate in advanced-level improv courses through our partner improv schools. Finally, we host monthly improv jam sessions open to our alumni as well as all veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers who have intro-level improv experience.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

We partner with local writing instructors and literary organizations to offer free, beginner-level creative writing courses for veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers. The classes cover a combination of memoir and fiction, and sessions typically consist of direct instruction, group workshopping, and writing exercises. All courses culminate with an intimate public reading for family, friends, and the local community. Upon graduating, alumni will have the opportunity to enroll in further classes with our partners at The Muse Writer's Center in Norfolk and The Writer's Center of Bethesda.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

We are thrilled to offer free storytelling classes for veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers. This five-week storytelling course will help students translate experiences and stories into meaningful performances. Our master teachers walk students through the steps of identifying material, developing a narrative structure, and connecting with an audience. All courses culminate with a graduation performance for friends, family, and members of the local community.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

We partner with Virginia Stage Company to offer an all-levels acting course for theatre and film. This 7 week course for veterans, service members, and their families is led by professional playwrights, actors, and directors and covers basic acting techniques including how to find yourself or your story in the literature of theatre. This course culminates with a graduation show on a professional theatre stage, and prepares actors, directors, and playwrights to further their craft in local professional and community venues.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

We partner with The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Virginia Beach and The Art League in Alexandria to offer a free introductory drawing course for veterans, service members, military families, and caregivers. Over the course of six weeks, participants will learn the basics of drawing — including value, line, positive and negative space, perspective, and proportion. A variety of subject matters will be explored using pencil, charcoal, and other drawing materials.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

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 participants attending course/session/workshop

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of participants who would recommend program to others

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

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

98.5% of participants would recommend ASAP's programs to someone else.

Number of audience members with favorable attitudes towards the issue or interest

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

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

51.8% of audience survey respondents who identified as civilians reported their perception of the veteran/ military population changed as a result of attending an ASAP performance

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.

The Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) cultivates community and growth with veterans, service members, military family members, and caregivers through the arts. We promote expression, skill-building, and camaraderie through classes in stand-up comedy, improv, storytelling, creative writing, and the visual arts. Our innovative approach equips veterans with transferable life skills, a renewed sense of purpose, and improved well-being, while strengthening ties between veterans and their communities through the arts.

Classes & Workshops: We provide veterans with free, eight-week classes and one- to two-day workshops across an array of art forms (comedy, improv, storytelling, writing, and visual arts). These programs, which are led by top-tier teaching artists and ASAP program alumni, provide participants with a safe outlet for expression, skill-building, and social support. Classes culminate with graduation shows, which offer veterans a platform to share their stories with the public and broaden our communities’ awareness of the veteran experience.

Performances: We believe that veterans should have frequent outlets to tell their stories and showcase their talents. Therefore, beyond our grad shows, we partner with local organizations to host monthly community performances. The consistency and intimacy of these shows help build and sustain community among the military and civilian worlds.

Partnerships: Art education is a pathway toward community integration; consequently, our programs have been developed to facilitate a continued education trajectory. When someone completes an ASAP program, they can advance their artistic education with our arts partners. If they cannot afford the higher-level offerings, they may apply for support through our Scholarship Fund. This approach ensures that any veteran who wants to grow through the arts can do so with ASAP and our partners.

Training: Arts organizations and teaching artists are eager to offer programs for veterans and their families; however, they often lack the training to lead these programs. We activate teaching artists to work with the veteran and military population by training them to lead programming in a culturally-aware and trauma-informed manner.

In addition to ASAP’s leadership, which currently includes four full-time staffers, three part-time employees, and seven members on the Board of Directors, we are establishing avenues to build and expand our capacity. Our staff and volunteers serve as critical intermediaries in their local communities. We forge relationships with Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) behavioral health providers, military bases, and college student veteran service coordinators. The ongoing community ties that we foster help ensure that the veteran/military community is aware of local arts opportunities, trusts our partners, and actively refers participants to our programs.

Further, we deliver a collection of virtual trainings through our partner, PsychArmor, as well as customized in-person trainings. These trainings improve teaching artists’ veteran/military cultural competency, trauma-informed instruction capabilities, and crisis management techniques. Upon completing our trainings, teaching artists are prepared to engage with the veteran/military population.

We also develop strategic partnerships with local arts organizations, which are critical for activating the arts community to engage with veterans. Through our intro-level classes and workshops, we leverage the existing talents and resources of arts organizations to provide veterans, service members, and military families with access to the arts. However, sustained artistic engagement is even more important than artistic access. As such, our partnerships are structured so that program graduates are given the opportunity to continue their artistic practice with our community partners.

We partner with program evaluators to measure outcomes pertaining to quality of life, wellbeing, and resilience. Through our mixed-methods program evaluation design, we better understand our impact, ensure consistent programmatic improvement.

Through our capacity-building initiatives, we’ve just scratched the surface in furthering the impact of the arts on the wellbeing of veterans. We hope to continually expand our reach and hone our offerings to support veterans, service members, and military families as they integrate into their communities through the arts.

Outputs: We’ve served 1,600+ veterans through 275+ classes and workshops. Our alumni have performed for over 100,000 audience members — including shows at The White House and for President Jimmy Carter .

Outcomes: Our program impact evaluation shows that our programs produce statistically significant increases in our participants’ well-being and resiliency — and these improvements are sustained over time. To learn more, please visit asapasap.org/impact.

Key press: We have been featured in numerous major press and media outlets including CNN, ABC, NBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, and featured in The Washington Post, and Politico Magazine. To view these stories and articles, please visit asapasap.org/recognitions

Recognitions & Awards:
- Echoing Green awarded ASAP with its Global Fellowship, recognizing ASAP as one of 38 organizations changing the world in 2015.
- Americans for the Arts recognized ASAP as one of the country’s leading organizations engaging veterans through the arts in 2016.
- ASAP’s Comedy Bootcamp Course was recognized by Virginia Living Magazine as one of the “Best of Virginia” in their 2016 edition.
- HillVets awarded ASAP it's HillVets 100 award, naming it one of the 100 most influential organizations in the veterans/military space in 2016.
- ASAP was recognized on Forbes’ and Pacific Standard Magazine’s “30 under 30” list for social entrepreneurship in 2017.
- ASAP received the 2017 Newman’s Own Award in recognition of our work as one of the most innovative organizations in the veterans space.
- ASAP was featured on Preet Bharara’s “Cafe 100”, a list of 100 changemakers addressing the most pressing problems in America and around the world.
- ASAP was recognized on We Are The Mighty’s “Mighty 25 List” as one of the top 25 influencers supporting the military community in 2018.

Future: Our goal is to help hundreds of unique veterans through our classes, workshops, performances, and socials, and to reach a large audience to demonstrate the impact the arts have on the lives of veterans. We will equip instructors and instructors-in-training with the necessary tools and knowledge to successfully teach and interact well with veterans and service members. Finally, distribute $10,000 from our scholarship fund - ongoing and sustainable support to empower veterans to stay engaged with the arts.

Financials

Armed Services Arts Partnership
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Operations

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

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Armed Services Arts Partnership

Board of directors
as of 9/9/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Blayne Smith

Carter Bays

Bays Thomas Productions

James Schenck

PenFed Credit Union

Jim O'Farrell

Advanced Management Strategies Group

Blayne Smith

Applied Leadership Partners

Margaret Vanderhye

Virginia Commission for the Arts

Maureen Elias

Meg Krause

Reingold, Inc.

John Newby

Virginia Bio

Oscar Montes

Magellan Federal

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 09/09/2021

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
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data