After discovering in a survey that almost 50,000 widows of United States Air Force enlisted men were living in poverty, a group of active duty and noncommissioned officers decided to take action back in 1967.
With the help of former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Ryan and his wife, they created a place where those surviving spouses could live in what is now called the Air Force Enlisted Village.
The nonprofit organization takes a lot to keep running, finding most of its support through monetary donations, as well as donations of land, property, stocks and securities. To show its appreciation for making this place possible, the Air Force Enlisted Village gifts its donors custom-designed, handcrafted keepsakes, entirely made in the USA by industry leader Beacon Design.
This dedication to excellence in the line of duty is exactly what thousands of Air Force members have given their country over the years. But they aren’t alone.
Behind the scenes, thousands of Air Force spouses have led lives of bravery and sacrifice—sometimes the ultimate sacrifice. The Air Force Enlisted Village provides safety and security to meet its mission of providing a home and financial assistance for these surviving spouses.
The Air Force Enlisted Village must raise $2.5 million every year to support the needs of its community and residents, according to their fundraising partner, Beacon Design. That includes lifelong support for independent living apartments called Bob Hope Villages and an assisted living facility with memory care at Hawthorn House.
That sum would be difficult to reach without generous donors.
“Our Sustaining Donor Program funds ongoing work on our facilities and prepares Bob Hope Village and Hawthorn House for the future,” the Air Force Enlisted Village states.
The donors of those monthly gifts are called “Heroes for Hope,” because of the hope they give to hundreds of surviving spouses who live in the housing.
The Air Force Enlisted Village also relies on funds generated from the annual Air Force Assistance Fund campaign, the CMSAF James C. Binnicker Memorial 9K, the Bob Hope Memorial Charity Golf Classic, and other fundraising initiatives.
Giving back to the givers
The Air Force Enlisted Village has partnered with Beacon Design since 2016 to thank its donors in a new and unique way — with a custom ornament program. They knew they had the right partner for the task — Beacon Design has designed and manufactured the official White House Christmas ornament for the White House Historical Association since 1981.
All designs are custom created, allowing donors to cherish the keepsake made specially for them for years to come.
“We are proud to give the ornaments to our donors and residents, because they are beautiful, high quality, branded products,” Scarlett Bauman, marketing director for the Air Force Enlisted Village, told Beacon Design. “The whole process has always been easy and pleasant for me.”
Beacon Design partners with a range of organizations to create exclusive products that form a lasting connection between the giver and the recipient. Customers can choose from ornaments, bookmarks, keepsakes, lapel pins, wall art, jewelry, and many more customized items as they embark on the creative process to fashion the perfect gift.