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Spotlight: Fisher House

Fisher Houses support military families.

Each week, Patch is profiling a local nonprofit agency. If there's a nonprofit that you think your neighbors need to know about, email Doug Tallman.

Mission: "The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs," according to Fisher House's website.

Contact information: Phone: 301-294-8560; Fax: 301-294-8562; Email: info@fisherhouse.org; Address: 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, Maryland 20850

Financials: The organization reported more than $39.2 million in donations in its 2009 tax filing and spent about $22.6 million toward its mission.

Cindy Campbell, vice president for community relations, said in an email that only 3.5 percent of donations go to administrative costs, the rest going directly into building more Fisher Houses and supporting the mission.  

According to its website, every major military medical center has at least one Fisher House to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment.

"Annually, the Fisher House program serves more than 12,000 families, and have made available over three million days of lodging to family members since the program originated in 1990. By law, there is no charge for any family to stay at a Fisher House operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs; and Fisher House Foundation uses donations to reimburse the individual Fisher Houses operated by the Army, Navy, and Air Force. No family pays to stay at any Fisher House!" according to Fisher House's website.

History: The Fisher House program was established by Zachary Fisher and his wife Elizabeth. The first "Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher House" was opened in Bethesda at National Naval Medical Center on 24 June 1990. President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush opened the second Fisher House at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. To date, the program consists of 54 houses located near Veterans Affairs hospitals and military installations across the country and at one United States military installations in Europe. From these locations, Fisher House serves more than 12,000 military families per year. The Fisher House program plans to build several more lodging facilities to complete its nationwide support network.

How can you help: You can make online donations in honor of or in memory of an individual or organization. Please be sure to check the box underneath the amount of the donation to make your donation in someone's name. If you provide a name and address for the recipient, the Fisher House Foundation will notify that person or organization of the gift by mail.

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