Veterans Voices Writing Project, Inc.
406 W. 34th St.
Suite 103
Kansas City MO 64111-3043
Arts & Aging Performing at VPC
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 701-6844
Mission Statement

To enable military veterans to experience solace and satisfaction through our writing program.

Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Priscilla A. Chansky BSJ, CAE
Board Chair Mrs. Deann Mitchell CFP, CDFA, ShFc, CFS
Board Chair Company Affiliation Frontier Wealth Management
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1984
Former Names
Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement

To enable military veterans to experience solace and satisfaction through our writing program.

Background Statement

The Veterans Voices Writing Project was founded in 1946 to encourage veterans to write about their experiences. Soon, this therapeutic writing program received the endorsement of the Veterans Administration. Veterans began writing and competing for prizes such as pens, pencils and other writing supplies, magazine subscriptions and even an occasional typewriter. So that veterans could see their work in print, the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Theta Sigma Phi (now The Association for Women in Communications) started a publication, Veterans’ Voices, in 1952. The first issue was a mimeographed, hand stapled and hand addressed edition consisting of 18 pages -- 12 prose and six poetry. In 1972, the VVWP headquarters was moved to Kansas City (from New York) with Sally Keach as the chairperson. In 1974, Margaret Clark was named editor of the magazine and now serves as editor-in-chief. 

Today, Veterans' Voices is a 64-page magazine, professionally published three times per year with a four-color cover. The entire magazine staff is volunteer -- an editor-in-chief, prose editor, poetry editor and proofreader. We salute those veterans and volunteers, who for over 60 years, have given their inspiration, experiences and time to create a voice for veterans. Current volunteer editorial staff is Margaret Clark, editor-in-chief; Tina Hacker, poetry editor; and Cathy Lutz, proofreader. The only paid part-time staff is Priscilla Chansky, Administrative Director, who is a journalist and association executive, who was hired in 2003 and has brought expertise in public relations, grant writing and fundraising to the organization.
Impact Statement

“Every day, approximately 22 American veterans commit suicide, totaling over 8,000 veteran suicides each year — I repeat, 8,000 veteran suicides each year.” –Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senate hearing, Feb. 3, 2015  

On April 3rd, 2017, Rich Wangard, Veterans' Voices magazine author, wrote:  "I wish all of you knew the impact you are having on us veterans.  Of all Eras!  You all do the most important thing any human can do for another human.  By inspiration, compassion, caring, and "Hard Work",  you all contribute to saving some veteran's life. We are all dismayed by the fact that we are losing 7,200 vets a year by suicide!"
 
About 13 percent of U.S. adults are veterans and the average age of male veteran suicides was 59.6 years old.
 
 
We want to reduce the number of veteran suicides by helping to heal the hidden wounds of war through writing therapy.
 
Veterans Voices Writing Project serves over 30,000 veterans with submissions and readership of the magazine each year. VVWP produces three 64-page issues of Veterans' Voices magazine annually and donates 15,000 copies to be distributed to almost 200 VA facilities across the country. Magazines are also mailed to subscribers and donors.
 
VVWP receives between 750-900 manuscripts and art pieces from veterans throughout the United States. Some 270-315 veterans have their work published in Veterans' Voices and receive a small award or stipend for their efforts. The Kansas Audio-Reader Network records Veterans’ Voices for distribution to sight and hearing impaired veterans.
 
“I had a choice on that day to either write or commit suicide and I chose to write. It lets me write out emotions that I feel and I can forget about it for awhile. This is the only place where I can ‘let my demons loose’ and really express myself.”
--Tim Segrest, US Army Special Forces
 
“At first, I just read the magazine. Then eventually I decided to start writing. Once I did, I found it gave me a better understanding of myself and also helped me in communicating with my family.”
 -- Juan Aguilar , US Army
 
“Being published in Veterans’ Voices has made me very proud and helped me overcome the trauma and abuse I experienced in the military. I have many military friends that read and appreciate the magazine.”
 -- Leah Ann Jones, US Marine
Needs Statement

Our goals for the coming year include updating the website, developing a searchable on-line publication for Veterans' Voices current and back issues, increasing writing groups and manuscript submissions; increasing subscribers; partnering with other national veteran non-profits to increase our reach and impact; making the executive director's position full time; hiring an additional staff person; applying for grant funding. We continue our efforts in social media and digital media to reach more veterans from recent conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. 

With increased submissions, writing groups and changes in technology the Veterans Voices Writing Project needs to increase its operating budget to cover the increased administrative costs of providing services. More time and effort is required than volunteers are able and qualified to commit to deliver quality programs. For instance, the number of writing aide requests has increased as well as the amount of time needed to interface with our authors and donors. An additional part-time person would take over the clerical office duties to allow the Administrator to perform more public relations and fundraising activities. Because technology is moving rapidly, there is need for continual training and general upgrade of systems and software.
Service Categories
Human Services
Printing, Publishing
Military/Veterans' Organizations
Areas of Service
National
For 2016, 171 veterans from 36 states submitted 795 poems/prose for consideration. For each publication, five thousand magazines are donated to the Veterans Administration (VA) for mailing to VA centers throughout the United States and approximately fifteen hundred were mailed to VVWP’s donors and authors.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
   VVWP has had a long and distinguished history -- since 1946 when it was founded by Elizabeth Fontaine, it has pioneered writing therapy for veterans. Today, therapeutic writing has become a recognized, valued and significant part of many VA health care and outpatient services throughout the country. With continuing conflicts, our vision is to reach more veterans to help them live happier lives after coming home.  
 
Many veterans participate and contribute their writing for the opportunity to be published in our national magazine, Veterans' Voices. VVWP's contributions in its program and publications have been noteworthy and recognized by a number of prominent people. We have been privileged with the support of guest editorialists such as: President Harry S Truman; President Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter; General Omar Bradley; volunteers; Laura Balun and Sabrina Clark, Directors of Voluntary Services for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Advisory Committee in Washington, DC; Mrs. Lee Woodruff of the Bob Woodruff Foundation; Dr. Samuel Bradshaw, former chief of psychiatry at the Topeka VA Medical Center; Dr. Karl Menninger of the Menninger Foundation; Medal of Honor Recipient Donald "Doc" Ballard and David Shulkin, M.D., Secretary of Veteran Affairs. All of this would be for naught, without the most important people of all, YOU, the heart and soul of what makes any volunteer organization possible, faithful supporters.
 
The year 2016 marked the 70th Anniversary of Veterans Voices Writing Project. As we celebrated this milestone, we are extremely proud of the years of service we have provided thousands of veterans. Our veterans, who have dealt with or are dealing with the many issues surrounding military service, gain a measure of peace from their writing and experience the satisfaction of seeing their stories, essays, and poems in print. 
Programs
Description
The Veterans Voices Writing Project purpose is -- to provide a therapeutic writing program for veterans and to publish their writings.

Writing Aides – Our network of writing aides work one-on-one or in small groups with veterans to help them express their feelings and/or stories in writing.

Writing Groups – Our network of writing group leaders helps bring veterans together in a group setting so they know they are not alone. Groups critique each others’ writing, just listen, offer support and encouragement in a non-judgmental setting.

Publication – Veterans’ Voices is a 64-page magazine published three times a year. We receive 750-900 manuscripts and art pieces from veterans across the country. Some 270-315 veterans have their work published and receive a small award. VVWP donates 15,000 copies for distribution to VA facilities across the country.

Dr. Samuel Bradshaw, former chief of psychiatry at the Topeka VA Medical Center, said, "Writing is a strength and if strengthened can lead to health and a fulfilled life. We are learning that the mind is like a muscle -- you use it or lose it. Those who think and put their thoughts into writing help their brains work better and that is a biological benefit...Writing strengthens the ability to observe and delay harmful actions. The observing self is often the road to health for those men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder."

Program Budget $90,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Specific Populations
Population Served General/Unspecified, Other Health/Disability, Adults
Short-Term Success Gary Curl, veteran, writes,  "I write to validate my life as it has unfolded outside my control.  My writing is for those who are not yet able to form such thoughts or perhaps can't bring the words from mind to hand, to paper.  We have all faced many of the same experiences; we all need some validation that what we tried to do was right, yet we suffered for it.  Some still and will continue to suffer.  Am I all healed up? No.  Do I feel as though I can get there?  I'm closer.  To me writing equals value.  I feel a little bit useful again.  Maybe I can make a difference."
Long-Term Success "As a writer for 42 years," wrote Van Garner of Tennessee, "I look back on when I was depressed, delusional and speechless. I thank God for HVWP and the written word, which helped me transform darkness into brilliant light and afforded me the warmth of love and caring...The first articles and poems that I had published in 'Veterans' Voices' propelled me, a hospitalized veteran at the time, toward mental freedom and eventual release from confinement." Laura Balun, Director, Voluntary Service Office, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, writes, "VAVS is grateful to the individuals and organizations who offer assistance to the veteran -- organizations such as the Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project with its unique writing as therapy program." As long as veterans write for therapy and recognition and/or submit their material for publication, we will have achieved our goal of providing this service to disabled and hospitalized veterans -- those who served our country.
Program Success Monitored By We monitor the number of veterans who participate in the program and the number of submissions that we receive for consideration for publication in the magazine, "Veterans' Voices." Our volunteer writing aides provide us with feedback on the veterans with whom they interact. Additionally, we have contact with many of our veteran writers who seek advice and encouragement. Our success is also monitored by the publication about our program and recognition of "Veterans' Voices" in other publications.  VVWP is analyzing data received from a readership survey and a veterans survey to make the program and the magazine applicable to our audience.
Examples of Program Success

In a thank-you note mailed to VVWP, Sandra Lanier of Louisburg, N.C., shared the impact of veteran author Rodney Robinson's article, Open Letter to my Fellow Veterans" published in the Spring 2013 issue.  She writes, "Dear Mr. Robinson, my boyfriend is an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran.  He does not like to read anymore, but he read your "Open Letter to my Fellow Veterans," and it inspired him!  He went on to read the whole edition of  "Veterans' Voices".  Thank you for planting the seed for my soldier.

CEO Comments

I’m personally inspired by the submissions we receive and the direct positive impact we see every day on veterans. The office receives a continual stream of letters and comments from veterans on how they have benefited from writing, or being in a writing group, or reading another veterans story... They tell us how they now have hope, they don’t feel alone, their marriages are saved or they didn’t commit suicide. It’s not often that you can say you feel like you’ve make a difference, but in coming to the office every day, you always know you have. And, we’ve been doing it since 1946... when I think of the impact we’ve had on generation after generation and the impact we’ll continue to have, I can’t help but be inspired, humbled and grateful to serve our veterans in this way. Thank you for your support and commitment to help our most honored heroes.

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mrs. Priscilla A. Chansky BSJ, CAE
Term Start Nov 2003
Compensation $0 - $50,000
Experience Assistant director, public relations, KU Medical Center; Editor/publisher, "the Villager" weekly newspaper; association manager -- multi-association management company; former executive director, National Federation of Press Women; member,/treasurer The Association for Women in Communications; Kansas Professional Communicators (first vice-president)/NFPW; Beta Sigma Phi. B.S. degree, Journalism, University of Kansas; 10+-gallon blood donor; lots of community activities/involvement; VAVS Deputy Representative (national and local). Active participant in Non-Profit Connect's seminars and other professional development.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Term Start 0
Compensation Last Year
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 1
Paid Part-Time Staff 0
Volunteers 100
Paid Contractors 1
Retention Rate 100%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
Caucasian 1
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 1
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Collaborations

We have a formal collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Kansas Audio-Reader in Lawrence, Kansas; Grantham University and Park University. We have informal collaborations with Wounded Warriors, the Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary as well as other veterans organizations -- American Legion and Auxiliary, Korean War Veterans Association and Auxiliary, Military Order of Purple Heart, Women's Army Corps Veterans Association, Vietnam Veterans of America and Women's Overseas Service League.

Affiliations
AffiliationYear
Independent Charities of America2006
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Continuous ServiceVA Voluntary Service2006
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments

Last year we celebrated the 70th Anniversary of Veterans Voices Writing Project. This year, we plan to initiate several projects to build our footprint in the digital world. Watch for a redesign of Veterans’ Voices as well as a digital version of the magazine on our updated website. (www.veteransvoices.org) Our hope with these digital projects is to attract the younger generation of veterans to the VVWP family. Our veterans, who have dealt with or are dealing with the many issues surrounding military service, gain a measure of peace from their writing and experience the satisfaction of seeing their stories, essays, and poems in print.  

VVWP is actively seeking new board members with a variety of expertise to enhance its board. Persons who are interested in serving on the VVWP Board of Directors, are encouraged to contact our office, 816-701-6844, to discuss this opportunity.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mrs. Deann Mitchell CFP, CDFA, ShFc, CFS
Company Affiliation Frontier Wealth Management
Term Oct 2015 to Oct 2017
Email deannmitchell15@aol.com
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mrs. Doris Anderson RNCommunity Volunteer
Mrs. Margaret Clark BSJRetired, Kansas City, MO Public Library
Ms. Leah Ann Jones B.A.Retired Marine Corps Veteran
Ms. Sheryl Liddle BS, MACommunity Volunteer
Mrs. Deb Lilla BFAMarketzing
Mrs. Deann Mitchell CFP, CDFA, ChFC, CFS, MBAFrontier Wealth Management
Mr. Perry Puccetti MSCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Sarah L. Schroer LSCSWtransforming care
Mrs. Marianne Watson BS, CPACommunity Volunteer
Mrs. Eileen L. Wirtz BACommunity Volunteer
Mr. Rich Wrobel BS, MBA, MSGrantham University
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 9
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 69%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 50%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 30%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Standing Committees
By-laws
Marketing
Executive
Finance
Nominating
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Advisory Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mr. Nate Baergen
Col. (Ret.) Donald "Doc" Ballard Medal of HonorSwan Lake Funeral Home
Ms. Elsie Belanger Community Volunteer
Mrs. Phyllis Bibeau Community Volunteer
Mr. David R Harrington Veteran
Mrs. Cathy Clark Lutz B.A.Elementary School Teacher
Mrs. Lynn Mackle B.A., M.A., M.A.Freelance Writer/Editor; Community Volunteer
Mrs. Veronica Mazurek Community Volunteer
Miss Gloria Montgomery B.S., M.A.Veterans in Transition/ Texas
Mrs. Ann Ogden B.A. J.Community Volunteer
Ms. Lizette Rhone Community Volunteer
Mrs. Mary Kay Dunlap Stein BSJCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Scott C. Stump B.S.IllustrateMyLife.com
Mrs. Ann Gilliat Van Dyne Community Volunteer
CEO Comments

 VVWP's marketing committee has been aggressively pursuing a variety of projects to enhance the organization's visibility, updating the website and social media outlets, presentations at professional organizations, interviews at local radio stations and board presence at local and national veterans organizations. 

VVWP is actively seeking new board members with a variety of expertise to enhance its board. Persons who are interested in serving on the VVWP Board of Directors, are encouraged to contact our office, 816-701-6844, to discuss this opportunity.
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Oct 01, 2016
Fiscal Year End Sept 30, 2017
Projected Revenue $117,066
Projected Expenses $113,388
Form 990s
Audit Documents
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 9/30/2015: Financial data reported using the IRS Form 990.
  • FYE 9/30/2014, 2013: Financial data reported using the organization's audited financial statements. 
  • Foundations/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$78,864$72,106$78,218
Administration Expense$15,408$10,385$11,017
Fundraising Expense$8,978$8,812$7,833
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.551.000.90
Program Expense/Total Expenses76%79%81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue13%10%9%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$107,711$153,502$152,920
Current Assets$38,002$68,901$151,084
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$3,090$2,232$1,642
Total Net Assets$104,621$151,270$151,278
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities12.3030.8792.01
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary $5,000 --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Elks National Veterans Service $2,500 --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount --Individual Donor $1,400 --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments

VVWP is still recouping from a substantial loss during the fiscal year 10/1/2014 - 9/30/2015 due to a large decline in the market value of our investments and an unusual increase in expenses.  Individual donors, veteran organizations, grant makers and other supporters have been generous in valuing our mission.  VVWP is grateful.

Organization Name Veterans Voices Writing Project, Inc.
Address 406 W. 34th St.
Suite 103
Kansas City, MO 641113043
Primary Phone (816) 701-6844
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Priscilla A. Chansky BSJ, CAE
Board Chair Mrs. Deann Mitchell CFP, CDFA, ShFc, CFS
Board Chair Company Affiliation Frontier Wealth Management
Year of Incorporation 1984
Former Names
Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project