Elizabeth Dole Foundation

Dole Foundation CEO Steve Schwab with RAND president and CEO Michael Rich/Jason Dixson Photography

Helping the "hidden heroes" caring for U.S. veterans

A grant from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation launches the next chapter of military caregiver research at RAND. The research will explore where military caregivers still need more support.

May 16, 2022

Who are military caregivers? They are the mothers and fathers, spouses and partners, neighbors and friends caring for America’s wounded, ill, and injured military service members and veterans. In 2014, RAND shined a light on what these “hidden heroes” do and what they need to succeed.

The landmark RAND Military Caregivers Study—the first comprehensive, evidence-based national study of military and veteran caregivers—was commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. It revealed the sacrifices that millions of military caregivers make every day, as well as the gaps in support programs meant to help them.

Now a grant of almost $2 million from the foundation, as part of the Tomorrow Demands Today campaign, will launch the next chapter of RAND research on America’s hidden heroes.

“We are honored to continue our partnership with Senator Elizabeth Dole and the foundation she established,” said Michael D. Rich, president and CEO of RAND. “Supporting America’s military and veteran caregivers continues to be a top priority for RAND, and we look forward to building on our history of evidence-based research and analysis to improve the lives of veterans and their families.”

The follow-up study commissioned by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation will explore where military caregivers still need more support. The research will be housed in the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute, which launched in 2021 through a $10 million campaign gift to help advance innovative, interdisciplinary research to meet the needs of diverse veteran populations while engaging and empowering those who support them.

“Our first study with RAND was so profound and instructive that it enabled us to launch a movement behind our military caregivers,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “This second generation of research is going to tell us more about the military caregivers and care recipients who are historically underserved by current resources, so we can ensure they have the support they need and deserve.”

The study will measure how demographics, including geographic location, race, and gender, affect caregiving, with the goal of using the data to design more-sophisticated and customized caregiver solutions and make critical inroads with underserved populations.

“We know these findings will become a clarion call to the nation,” Schwab said.