Blue Star Families

aka Blue Star Families   |   ENCINITAS, CA   |  https://bluestarfam.org/

Mission

Our Mission Founded in 2009 by military spouses, we empower military families to thrive by connecting them with their civilian neighbors, both people, and organizations, to create strong communities of support. Our Vision Blue Star Families is establishing and fostering engagement and partnerships to create recognizable, consistent communities that support health and resilience that military families need to succeed. We engage military families and community members by delivering solutions to the challenges faced by military families. Our Impact More than 1.5 million military family members around the world have benefited from our programs, and that number continues to grow as we expand our programs and, working with our community partners, discovering innovative new ways to help.

Ruling year info

2009

Chief Executive Officer

Kathy Roth-Douquet

Co Principal Officer

Noeleen Tillman

Main address

441 Saxony Road The Hive/ Barn 2

ENCINITAS, CA 92024 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

80-0369895

NTEE code info

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

Voluntarism Promotion (T40)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our military, which deploys around the world to protect our nation, is an all-volunteer force. Those who choose to serve on our behalf willingly make the deep sacrifices that military service requires. Military family life challenges include:
1. Dealing with the isolation that comes from frequent moves, often to remote locations far from family and friends
2. Accommodating those moves while caring for the family and keeping the household running
3. Managing child care, schooling, and continuity of education issues
4. Enduring economic insecurity with heightened employment and financial challenges
5. Overcoming the staggering rate of military spouse unemployment – 21% compared to national average of 4%
6. Coping with the worry and loneliness of long separations from the service member during deployments
7. Handling the scarcity of quality family time and the limitations of activities due to cost
8. Caring for a wounded service member with a disabling physical or mental injury or illness

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?

Blue Star Books

Blue Star Families, with the help of partners, has given hundreds of thousands of books away to more than 560,000 military kids across the world. Blue Star Books also features book clubs for military and civilian families.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey (aMFLS) provides a comprehensive understanding of the experiences and challenges encountered by military families. It remains the largest and most comprehensive survey of active duty, veterans, and their families.

This seminal survey provides a yearly “snapshot” of the state of military families, offering crucial insight and data to help inform national leaders, local communities, and philanthropic actors. Most critically, the publication and widespread use of this survey create opportunities to support the health and sustainability of our all-volunteer Force by increasing dialogue and understanding between the military community and broader American society.

Blue Star Families conducted its 9th annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey in April-May, 2018 with over 10,100 respondents including military spouses, active duty service members, veterans, and their immediate family members participating in the survey.

Population(s) Served
Military personnel
Families

In collaboration with the DoD, the National Endowment for the Arts, and museums across America, free admission for the nation’s active-duty military personnel, including the National Guard and Reserves, and their families.

Population(s) Served
Military personnel
Families

Provides active-duty, veteran, and Gold Star families free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests with the America the Beautiful par

Population(s) Served
Military personnel
Families

Honors, recognizes, and supports military, Veteran, and family caregivers by hosting social events, online support groups, and providing opportunities for communities to engage with our caregivers.

Population(s) Served
Caregivers

Connects military spouses to meaningful career resources, employment, certifications, and more through our virtual community, Spouseforce.

Population(s) Served
Unemployed people
Military personnel
Retired people
Self-employed people
Veterans

Created for families to establish connections to their local communities, pursue new adventures, and broaden their horizons through educational and fun activities during summer break.

Population(s) Served

Since 2009, we have relied on the efforts of dedicated volunteers to achieve our mission of empowering our military families to thrive through strong communities of support.

Population(s) Served

Welcome Week provides fun and creative opportunities for military families to meet and engage with members of their new community, helping ease their transition and create a greater sense of belonging to feel at home.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Families
Children and youth
Adults
Families
Children and youth
Adults
Families
Children and youth
Adults
Families
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Vetty Award for Leadership 2019

Academy of US Veterans

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

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

Adults

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Books Gifted To Military Children

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

Children and youth

Related Program

Blue Star Books

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Membership growth

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

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Military Spouse Income Impact from Obtaining a Job Through Our Resources

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

Adults

Related Program

Blue Star Careers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Exclusive Member Events Per Year

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

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of Participants taking the annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey

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

Adults

Related Program

Annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The annual Military FamilyLifestyle Survey serves as the go to document of military family life for both the government and service organizations across the country.

Number of Military Family Visits to Blue Star Museums Per Year

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

Adults

Related Program

Blue Star Museums

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

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.

At Blue Star Families, our mission is to help military families address the challenges of the military lifestyle with innovative strategies. Since our founding, our Chapter-based model has given Blue Star Families grassroots level access to organize military families to tell their story and create community to both identify and solve problems. This Chapter model has proven very successful in helping military families get connected and supported right where they live. Blue Star Families brings together public, private, philanthropic, and military communities to better serve local military families. We identify opportunities and provide resources that speak directly to their real and current needs. Throughout the nation, we currently have over 30 volunteer-driven Neighborhood Chapters and 11 fully-staffed Chapters.

Blue Star Families will focus on creating a sense of belonging to the local community through Increasing a sense of belonging to the local civilian community and improving or changing military family policies. Blue Star Families also aims to improve member engagement by increasing volunteerism, diversifying program options, improving Blue Star Families’ role as the thought leader in the local community, improving overall member engagement. Blue Star Families plans to develop and maintain sustainable local chapters by growing local and national membership, diversifying membership, developing additional local and national partnerships, improving brand recognition, building credible infrastructure, delivering Blue Star Family core programs, and supporting Chapter sustainability.

Blue Star Families remains committed to ensuring the programming and services offered to members continue to support the mission of reducing the challenges of the military lifestyle. Through online programming surveys and the results of the annual Military Family Life Survey, Blue Star Families is able to identify areas of need and strategies and programs to support military families overcome isolation, increase community connection, and gain meaningful employment.

While rebranding our volunteer-led chapters, we conducted a community landscape analysis to determine locations where we could leverage industry presence and military service members. We started 2020 by sustaining 11 locally-staffed chapter locations: Washington, D.C.; St. Louis, Missouri; Jacksonville, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah; Nashville/Clarksville, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois; Baltimore, Maryland; San Diego, California; New York City, NY; Tampa, FL; Dayton, OH.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    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,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve,

Financials

Blue Star Families
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

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.

Blue Star Families

Board of directors
as of 3/11/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Sheila Casey

The Hill

Term: 2011 -


Board co-chair

Gwendolyn Bingham

Retired US Army Lieutenant General

Term: 2020 -

Charles Eggleston

Three Seven Consulting

Nada Stirratt

Facebook

Jennifer O'Connor

Northrop Grumman Corporation

Todd Finger

McDermott, Will & Emery

Whit Cobb

PAE Systems

Mara Motherway

Booz Allen Hamilton

Sheila Casey

The Hill

Chris Bogdan

Booz Allen Hamilton

Bryan Tucker

CSX

Brianna Keilar

CNN

Larry Spencer

Armed Forces Benefit Association

John Vonglis

GAMCO Investors, Inc.

Gwendolyn Bingham

Retired US Army Lieutenant General

Mary Murphy

Attorney and Policy Consultant

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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/8/2021,

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
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/08/2021

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

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • 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.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.