Case Studies

Spirit of America

Spirit of America is a nonprofit organization that supports the missions of deployed United States personnel around the world, promoting initiatives that show and advance the promise of a free and better life. Whether by partnering with the US Armed Forces, diplomatic personnel, or local organizations in priority countries, Spirit of America advances the best of American values through nimble, need-driven suppprt.

Methods

“Spirit of America partners and collaborates with America’s troops and diplomats all around the world to support them and the people they help, wherever they’re serving,” says Founder and CEO Jim Hake. Founded in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Spirit of America has stationed members of its team around the globe. Its unique partnership with the US Department of Defense empowers it to work alongside deployed US troops and provide private assistance to meet the local needs they identify—the only organization approved to do so. By layering its own entrepreneurial nimbleness on top of the military’s existing efforts, Spirit of America can respond quickly and powerfully wherever its help is needed.

Impact

Throughout 2021, Spirit of America provided long-term and crisis-response support via 56 projects in 25 countries, facilitating the safety and security of nearly 650,000 civilians. Perhaps the most visible example of its work came in August, when Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul fell to the Taliban. The resulting refugee crisis was an all-hands-on-deck scenario, and Spirit of America used its relationship with US Central Command to help organize flight manifests and get at-risk Afghans to the Kabul airport for evacuation. “There’s no playbook in a situation like that,” says Hake. “But because we could build on the investment that the United States has already made around the world, we could act fast and see large-scale effects from modest investments.” 
In addition to helping thousands of civilians evacuate, Spirit of America distributed essential resources like clothing and sanitary products to more than 30,000 evacuees on US military bases in Qatar, Germany, and Kosovo. And when a plane carrying 121 Afghan refugees needed a host organization in order to land, Spirit of America secured landing clearance in Albania.
It continues to cover living expenses for all 121 of these evacuees, including 38 children—nearly all of whom have now arrived safely in the United States.

How The Satter Foundation Has Helped

The Satter Foundation is proud to support innovative and insightful founders like Hake. By making ongoing investments, the foundation aims to help position Hake and his team to continue to respond quickly and effectively the moment a need arises while continuing to work toward long-term priorities.

What's Next

The year 2022 is already a busy one for Spirit of America as it works with the US military and State Department to support Ukrainians in their fight to defend democracy. During the first month of the conflict, Spirit of America provided more than 52 tons of gear and supplies to Ukrainian forces, including medical supplies, food, helmets, body armor, and communications equipment. And the organization’s work will only grow from here: It is in the process of doubling its  staff and scaling up its efforts around the world. The organization’s leadership is confident that with more staff and more capacity, it can move closer to its goal of protecting and advancing democracy anywhere it is threatened. Even better, it has seen that the world is hungry for opportunities to support its work. “Spirit of America is the embodiment of patriotism without politics,” says Hake. “And when you give people the opportunity to help the country in that way, there are still lots of Americans across the spectrum who say yes.”

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