As a veteran of WWII, Jack Kagan experienced the realities of war and saw first hand the ways in which veterans are underserved once their years of service are over. The alarming truth is about 83% of US military members have experienced some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of their service just since 9/11. Many of their significant needs go unresolved, and disabled veterans are impacted most. Jack’s personal love of sailing and other water sports together with this passion for helping veterans, led to his legacy of finding and supporting non-profits who enable veterans (especially disabled veterans) to sail, dive, and learn other skills on or in the water. At the Jack Kagan Foundation, we are committed to sustaining this legacy. We support several non-profit programs that strive to achieve these goals, or who provide other important services for veterans. Our grant recipients are chosen from some of the most effective veteran assistance programs in the US., and who have proven their ability to help veterans who live with disability and trauma. Our team researches and reviews these organizations often, refreshing our list of grantees as decided by the our Board.
"It was a treat to have Marc and Joanne come to Annapolis to see the CRAB fleet at Sandy Point State Park. Showing them the mainsail featuring the JKF logo and the boat’s name, Little Bit, was a great way to start the sailing season. Little Bit is a beautiful and busy sailboat that has brought much joy and pleasure to our special guests with disabilities, wounded warriors, and local children from at-risk communities." -Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB)
Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB)
CRAB’s mission is to bring the thrill, freedom, and therapeutic value of sailing to people with disabilities, recovering warriors, and local youth from at-risk neighborhoods. CRAB provides sailing experiences and instruction to over 1,000 guests every year from its base of operations at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, MD. Thanks to the numerous CRAB volunteer skippers, crew, and support staff, sailing programs are held every week from April through October and include Family Sail Sundays, Group Sails, Sailing Camps and Clinics, and Regattas.
In 2017, the CRAB fleet was modernized and six new Beneteau First 22A boats (A for Adaptive) were acquired and modified for guests. In addition, the fleet offers a Martin 16 with a “sip & puff” steering system that allows a quadriplegic skipper to adjust the sails and move the tiller.
Jack Kagan became very interested in CRAB, and envisioned replicating their efforts one day. He began supporting them with significant donations of both funding and materials. The Foundation continues this legacy of support, and has purchased three Beneteau boats for CRAB. Each of the three boats is named for a Kagan family member or one of Jack’s boats – the Little Bit, the Lainie (for Elaine Kagan) and the Andrea (his deceased daughter). The Foundation is also supporting their effort to acquire a new marina to expand the fleet.
Diveheart works to build confidence, independence and self-esteem in children, adults and veterans of all abilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities. Utilizing certified adaptive dive buddies, Diveheart provides safe and inclusive activities for adaptive divers to enjoy the wonders of the aquatic world. Diveheart focuses on abilities – not disabilities – to instill the can do spirit in order to inspire participants to take on challenges that before might have seemed impossible.
Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. They have programs across the globe.
Horses for Heroes
A unique horsemanship, wellness and Skill-set Restructuring™ program based in Santa Fe, NM the Horses for Heroes program is provided free of charge to all post-9/11 veterans and active military. The program focuses on those who have sustained Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), physical injuries, or experienced combat trauma during their time in service to our country.
Here, veterans are hand-on with horses. They begin with groundwork and progress to riding, as well as participating in other aspects of ranch life including working cattle. Horse and veteran bond through communication, trust and understanding of the horse’s natural instincts. Acknowledging the value of the military skills that each participant possesses, horsemanship and ranch skills area a perfect template for restructuring those skills.
The ranch is drug and alcohol free – and the program is run by comrades, not counselors.
Servicemembers Undertaking Disabled Sports (SUDS)
SUDS is designed to help improve the lives of wounded, injured and ill service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program is for service members who have a permanent physical disability requiring adaptation. By training the warriors in a challenging and rewarding activity it can help facilitate the rehabilitation process and promote mobility. Offering this venue provides the warrior with a sport they can enjoy during their rehabilitation and throughout their life.
SUDS was established in February of 2007 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. Run by a dedicated staff of volunteers, they are passionate about helping our service members learn about adventure sports.
U.S. Sailing Center for Martin County (USSCMC)
USSMC began as a handful of dedicated sailors committed to the development of a community sailing center. They were granted a charter from US SAILING. Bolstered with this endorsement the United States Sailing Center – Martin County opened for business in 1992 on the shores of the old Jensen Beach Causeway.
The initial Sailing Center consisted of a modest tent, a camper and a few donated boats.The facility became designated by the United States Sailing Association as a US Sailing Center. This honor recognizes that USSCMC exceeds all the required standards set forth by U.S. Sailing and maintains an impressive commitment to high quality public access to sailing. The USSCMC hosts large-scale elite events like Junior Olympics on an annual basis.
Canine Companions for Independence (CCI)
Founded in 1975, Canine Companions for Independence® is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. They have locations throughout the country.
Canine Companions Provides Assistance Dogs for:
- Adults– Adults with disabilities are partnered with service or hearing dogs to increase independence.
- Children – Assistance dogs perform physical tasks for children with a range of disabilities to increase independence with support from an adult.
- Veterans– Wounded veterans and veterans with disabilities are matched with assistance dogs for greater independence.*
- Professionals – Assistance dogs are expertly trained and partnered with a working professional in a health care, visitation, criminal justice or education setting.
The mission of the 23rd Veteran organization is simply to “provide happier, healthier lives for veterans living with trauma.” Personal trainers, positive psychologists, and military personnel collectively created the ’23V Recon Playbook’. This playbook is a unique 14-week exposure focused on removing the negative effect of trauma.
The 14 weeks consist of an outward-bound type of outdoor adventure, intense focus on fitness training and positive psychology, and exploring/addressing trigger associations.
Based on self-reported data, this is a very effective program for military and veterans who have experienced trauma.