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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Defenders of Freedom

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Defenders of Freedom connects the community to Veterans and provides donors with the organization they need to support Post 9/11 Veterans.

Results: In the past two years we have helped wounded Troops in excess of $342,000.00 with brain treatment and financial assistance

Target demographics: Troops who are deployed, Wounded and transitioning Veterans

Direct beneficiaries per year: 178 wounded/transitioning Veterans as they transition to civilian life.

Geographic areas served: Texas, but served Veterans nation wide

Programs: Emergency Financial Assistance to wounded and transitioning Veterans Provide alternative brain treatment for Veterans with traumatci brain injury.

Community Stories

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an 8 year Army veteran who separated from service at the end of 2013. I have several issues that came with my service, which make social situations very difficult for me. The Defenders of Freedom began reaching out to me, through a few of my fellow Veterans that I served with, to attend the 2019 Defenders of Freedom Golf Outing. I can say with complete honesty that it was one of the best experiences of my life. Being able to reconnect with men and women who served was amazing. DOF made sure that each of us felt welcome, comfortable, and most importantly, appreciated. I can't stress enough how much this organization cares about Veterans and is willing to do whatever is necessary to help. There are many organizations out there who claim to care about Veterans, but fail to deliver on any significant help. Defenders of Freedom isn't one of those. Each and every person involved cares about us and wants to make sure we are taken care of in any way they can help. Thank you, DOF.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Apart from the great people like Donna and her husband, what struck me about Defenders of Freedom (DoF) was their willingness to look hard at the uncomfortable parts of veteran to civilian transition. Like life in general, there are no easy answers, but with hard work you can make it. DoF will put in the hard work to help people, but they emphasize personal responsibility as well. I think that makes them stand apart from similar organizations, and makes their programs effective. Great organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom is an amazing organization that has really helped me get through my transition from the military into civilian life. Donna Cranston and her team are all amazing people that truly care about veterans and it shows in every interaction I've had with them. This year, Defenders of Freedom put me in touch with a family that i still talk to on a weekly basis and i will be visiting again in November which means the world to me. I would highly recommend Defenders of Freedom to any veteran who would benefit from their services.

VJW

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Client Served

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom is an outstanding organization that reunited me with my brothers in the summer of 2018. The golf outing arranged was on the nicest course I've ever been able to play on, and I probably wouldn't have been able to play there in this lifetime if it weren't for them. Everyone involved in this organization is incredibly thoughtful and truly caring. I 100% fully support Defenders of Freedom!

VW

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first learned of the Defenders of Freedom in 2012, when the company I work for with my husband began to donate and attend the fund raising golf outings and various other fundraisers. I have since become a volunteer at these outing both in Texas and Pittsburgh. I have spent time with some of the Veterans, just by hanging out and listening to them tell of their experiences and concerns. Several have told me that if it wasn't for the Defenders of Freedom, they would have been homeless or still struggling with various illnesses associated with the time they spent defending our country for all of our freedoms! I have always felt heavy-hearted after listening to these stories and our Veterans are on our minds often. They need our assistance in getting treatment desperately needed for PTSD and for Traumatic Brain Injuries, as well as other issues. They and their families have made so many sacrifices. I believe that much more help, both financially and supportive, is needed. The Defenders of Freedom is a wonderful organization that I am proud to be a part of (even if it is a small roll). Donna Cranston and Jodi Sorenson and the entire board have dedicated so much of their lives over these years to supporting and assisting our post 911 Veterans. It is an honor to know them and an honor to meet the veterans who reach out to them!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended my first event with the DOF this Summer, a golf outing in the Dallas area. It was an amazing experience! The staff for the DOF truly care about the promise made to our nation's veterans, never once did I feel like the event was for "show". Unfortunately, I have participated in those type of events and they are disheartening to the veteran community. I cannot recommend this organization enough!

Ted M.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you Defenders of freedom for a great golf outing and experience. I also want to thank you for the reunion with my brother. We went over 15 years with out being able to be in the same room and you help make that happen. Thank you so much for everything

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having served on the Boards of Soldiers Angels and Team Rubicon, among others, I have experience with non-profit organizations that serve the veteran community and Defenders of Freedom is one of the BEST! Well run, fiscally responsible, meeting veterans needs whatever they may be (medical, monetary, re-integration, etc), DOF is one of the most effective non-profits, and your donation will absolutely make a difference in the lives of a post 9/11 veteran!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom is by far the most helpful nonprofit organization out there for disabled Veterans. Defenders of Freedom may not be as well known as some of the other bigger organizations, but they have the biggest heart. Donna, Jodi, and everyone else associated with Defenders of Freedom truly care about Veterans and make a lasting impact on lives. My family and I were in a financial crisis after transitioning back to civilian life in Houston. Hurricane Harvey hit and we needed a deposit for a new house. Donna and Defenders of Freedom paid or deposit no questions asked. They simply verified some information and took care of us, unlike a lot of bureaucracy associated with other organizations. Defenders of Freedom care about Veterans and their families and build relationships that last a lifetime!

Curtis Z.

Client Served

Rating: 5

After many years of seclusion, Donna Cranston, the founder brought me to a golf tournament. Little did I know but two things that day would change my life. I found a love for a sport that not only gets me out of the house, but gives me goals to work for like when I was still in the Infantry. The other thing was a non-profit that would be by myside as an individual nearly 10 years later. Every veteran the Donna helps ends up calling her "mom", which I believe speaks more than any words a person can come up with. This non-profit is above and beyond what is expected and beyond the call of duty. Donna serves the people that served, and with the same determination and discipline as those she serves.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Greatest experience one vet can have is healing with another vet or hearing that it is ok to feel how you feel! Great organization that is truly committed to helping reduce 22 a day! Very welcoming and very family vibe within the organization!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Unlike like some non-profits who state their purpose it to help veterans, DoF is an honest and reliable organization that truly puts the needs of Service-members and their families first. DoF provides a unique interlocutor service for current and alternative means of medical assistance to veterans who are frustrated with the medical systems available.

DoF receives my highest vote of confidence ( I am a veteran myself and senior leader in DoD).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I retired from serving 28 1/2 years in the Marine Corps. After retirement, I still wanted a way to give back serving Veterans. It is beyond a privilege to be a part of this organization filled with some of the most dedicated and honorable patriots I have ever met in my life. Anyone looking to do some good in this world can be rest assured all monetary donations will go to supporting a deserving Veteran(s) 100%. I cannot give a higher endorsement to an organization!!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I very happily do volunteer work with this organization. Donna and her team are consummate professionals driven to support disabled Veterans. Their work is critical to "filling in the gaps" left between government care and the civilian sector for our bravest men and women who bear the scars (internal and external) of war. One of the purest non-profits I've ever seen. Love them all!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been a veteran for over 10 years. Defenders of Freedom was the first to invite me to any sort of event for veterans. The annual DOF golf tournament was fantastic. Met so many other veterans and supporters that had nothing but great things to say about this organization. They truly do care and are giving back to the veteran community in so many ways. A huge thanks to all involved with Defenders of Freedom!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Defenders of freedom helped me during a mental health decline. I was invited to a golf outting and ended up seeing brothers I served with I had not seen in 9 years. Life had gotten in the way, this organization brought us back together and now I feel my mental heath has increased since this event. I met several new friends who were also veterans. They explained many different things and told stories I thought I was alone in my own thoughts. This has helped me tremendously with my mental health recovery.

Logan B.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom reminds us veterans, that we still matter, and have help to restore my belief that some veteran nonprofits will do whatever it takes to truly help us. Donna and all at DOF thank you for helping me so many times when I've needed it and showing me I'm still valuable at the same time.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have gone to quite a few Vetetans events over the last 5 years. This trip was by far the most heartfelt that I have been on. At no point did I feel like I was being paraded around like with many of these events. I would reccomend this nonprofit to any veteran looking for an event that will make them feel normal, and respected.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a 10th Mountain Devision veteran and haven't seen many of my platoon mates in almost 10 years. Everyone is so spread out, and it's been difficult to make reunions, being that most of them are all the way in New York. A friend of mine reached out to me and told me about Defenders Of Freedom and what they do for veterans nation wide. I honestly couldn't believe what I was hearing and thought it must be some kind of scam, until later verified as a successful and very reputable non-profit that has been helping veterans for many, many years. They go out of their way to provide a way for us veterans to get together and experience the camaraderie that we all miss and love. My experience on this years outing in Dallas is not one I'll soon forget, and I had the time of my life! They handled everything, including food, air fair, hotel accommodations, entertainment, and surrounded us with veterans from all eras. I finally felt like I was a part of something again, and met many veterans who I still keep in touch with to this day. What's more, I whole heartedly believe that this organization saves lives, and very well may have saved lives during this years outing. We lose too many veterans to post-combat suicide, and this organization has provided a way for us to all get together, and to feel the brotherhood bond that some of us don't really have anymore. I fully endorse Defenders Of Freedom and recommend this experience to any combat veteran. What they have done goes beyond achievement and accomplishment. What they've done is a labor of love. Thank you for everything y'all have done and continue to do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended a Defenders of Freedom event this year in Dallas Tx. I was apprehensive at first due to other Veteran Recognition events previously attended. Most events are more about sponsors and self promoting Glory Hounds that have never stood on the Yellow Footprints. I have NEVER been to an event that was so relaxed and non-formal and strictly focused on simply recognizing a Veteran. From the moment I arrived until the last night at the hotel it was a pleasure and warm welcome and reception. I would definitely attend again if invited and recommend this event. If you do attend, stick around in the hotel bar for the last night. They have a tradition that I'll never forget. Thanks again to Patrick, Donna and ALL DOF Volunteers. I have not stopped talking about this event and never will. You are all true Patriots and Thank You again.
Doug M.
SSG TXARNG Retired

Client Served

Rating: 5

Just a great group of people with a great mission and honestly the most comforting people around. I went to one of their golf tournaments for veterans and it really made me feel welcome and safe when I was around people who had experienced the same thing as me.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Donna Cranston and the DOF in 2012 through a friend who knows the family and organization well. I have been fortunate enough to be apart of 3 different DOF events and these events have helped to heal, educate, move on and provide comfort in knowing that veterans in need have a valuable and reliable source of help for various circumstances. I personally know many of the veterans who support or have been supported by this great organization and it means so much to me. Donna has the very best in mind and heart for every veteran that passes through. Her staff has the same heart and are always quick to offer words of encouragement or a hug in addition to the many services that they provide.

Client Served

Rating: 5

An organization truly dedicating to making a difference for veterans.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom is an incredible organization that truly cares and provides the best support for veterans. The DOF staff has such a passion for veterans and it shows in all the work they do.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing org that is truly dedicated to serving Veterans and helping them through transitions and troubles.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom, the name says it all. Freedom is not free and what Donna Cranston and her team has been able to accomplish for veterans is absolutely remarkable. The impact and care to just one veteran that truly needs assistance would be amazing enough; however, DOF has impacted so many veterans time and time again over the years. Regardless if it has been reaching out to assist with medical, emotional, psychological, reintegration, monetary assistance, or whatever the needs may be, DOF has been and will continue to lead and assist veterans in need. What an amazing organization, led by Donna and her amazing team. Please continue to help DOF, so that they may continue to help impact so many veterans where it is most needed.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom is that lighthouse in the middle of a storm. They are truly committed in helping veterans get the help the need. Donna, Jody and all the staff are always ready to lend a ear or a shoulder to veterans in need. They helped me when things were getting dark. Thank you so much for being there and being my bright light..

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a great organization that not only helps veterans with the issues they may be encountering but also cares and loves what they do for the veterans even well after the transition back into civilian life. The events they have are also great ways to be around other veterans that have been through similar events and can relate to one another and build bonds that are for life.

1 Joe S.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Fast service in the process of helping veterans. Truly passionate about the mission in veteran services.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are not enough stars to give Defenders of Freedom on this survey. They have saved so many lives including mine. Defenders of Freedom and their board continue to make a effort to support so many that have no where to go are feel completely at a loss. It is my pleasure to say I know this nonprofit.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Exemplary organization! Meaningful and genuine from the top down! The mission is noble....good people helping those that were willing to sacrifice everything.....
Thank You!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was in the army, and deployed to Iraq with the founder’s son in 2004-2005. Since then, I have helped support Defenders of Freedom ever chance I had (still on active duty). Upon retirement, I will continue to support and hope to grow this organization.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hands down one of the best veteran organizations out there!! As a veteran I have been to a few of their events and the compassion they show for veterans is out of this world! Words cannot express how thankful I am that DoF is there to help us veterans!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

You will not find an organization that cares more about our veterans and their families than Defenders of Freedom.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hands down an amazing organization! Donna has been an incredible relief when there was none in sight. Not only do they assist veterans but they create a network that can be utilized whenever the need arises.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Defenders of Freedom, headed by Donna Cranston, is one of the few non-profits in existence that fulfills it's mission. Whether it's caring for veterans in need or simply bringing them together, this organization goes the whole 9 yards. Countless veterans have had their lives positively impacted by the love and care this organization provides its clientele. Donna personally has touched the lives of thousands of veterans and her reflection continues through Defenders of Freedom. Thank you DoF, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Previous Stories
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Client Served

Rating: 5

Donna Cranston and the Defenders of Freedom personnel genuinly care for the welfare of service members in need of support, not only financially at times, but more so emotionally. Their continued efforts to raise awareness about issues that plague many service members, i.e. PTSD, TBI and many other diagnosis, have gone above and beyond. I have been priveleged to take part in some of the events conducted by this organization and I leave feeling rejuvenated and forever connected to my fellow service members! They will always have a place in my heart as they continually look to embrace more and more service members and bring them together for brotherhood and unity. Thank you Defenders of Freedom for your many years of successfully helping service members around the country.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being one of the individuals touched by Donna Craston and the Defenders of Freedom organization, all I can say is God Blessed . I was going through a financial crisis I meet DOF and Donna through my VA it was a blessing thanks to her my family and my kids still have a place to live .. Donna thank you for everything you do for all the veterans god bless you and god bless the DOF sincerely DUBERNEY ZUNIGA CUERO .......

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

words can describe how great this nonprofit organization is and the care for the veterans and their families .. I meet DOF through my VA I was going through a financial crisis and DOF and Dona help me and my family if it wasn't for DOF and Dona I will have been homeless she has help me and my family through the year I'm very thankful for DOF and Dona and the great people who donate to this great nonprofit charity to help veterans and their families and soldiers who are still serving and being deploy thank you and god bless everyone in DOF and Dona thank you for all you do for the veterans god bless always ....

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a veteran who has been supported by DoF since its inception, I cannot think of an organization that works as hard to meet the needs of veterans as this one does. From my first deployment to OIF in 2004, DoF has made sure that I am not forgotten, I am appreciated, and I am loved every time I deploy.
I have seen first hand the focus and attention to detail that DoF puts into each veteran that they help and support. Whether it is a Marine private adjusting to a new baby after a deployment or senior Army NCO struggling with a TBI, DoF treats each veteran as an individual and supports them for the long haul.
DoF's affection for veterans is a brilliant example of what a veteran support organization should be.

Client Served

Rating: 5

DoF put together a tremendous event that allowed veterans spanning 5 conflicts and 4 nations to gather in friendship and fellowship! I will never forget the weekend in Dallas and cherish the opportunity DoF gave me to reconnect and reflect.

Joey Comley

Client Served

Rating: 5

10 years is Spec Ops just to end with severe PTSD and a TBI. The states court marked me 100% disabled and unemploy-able. My income from social security and the VA is less than 40% than my previous job in the Army. With bills and child support I had no food, letters that warned me my vehicle and my house would be taken away. Defenders of Freedom came to me like a God Send. They have helped me keep my truck, house and have put food on my table for my daughters and I. Even better Donna Cranton became more than just a hero. She became a friend and ever since she has been the mother I've always wanted, a mother and someone I can vent to. I will spend the rest of my life not cursing the swift boot from a medical discharge but paying back the favor Defenders of Freedom had given to me.

Donor

Rating: 5

One of the only nonprofits I will give my money to. I have seen first hand that the donations are given to those that need it most.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization and I feel blessed to have been part of volunteering to help with the golf tournaments and welcoming home the troops at the airport. Donna has a huge heart for our troops and it shows in her hard work and dedication. This organization does so much to support and honor our heroes.

2 Linda316

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been a special privilege and pleasure to volunteer with Donna Cranston and her Defenders of Freedom program. They help our troops in so many different ways. Donna is passionate about our troops and she inspires others. I love the troops and will continue to support them through Defenders of Freedom and Donna Cranston; they have branched out and help in so many different areas from deployed troops to wounded warriors and their family. If you can support only one organization, make it Defenders of Freedom. Thanks.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Members of my unit, 2nd Battlaion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) met Donna Cranston in the DFW Airport rotating through on environmental leave back in 2006. We immediately connected with Donna and Defenders of Freedom and enjoyed their support throughout our 12 month deployment and upon return. Many of us remained in contact with Donna, not just for the support DoF provided, but because of hers and other volunteers' genuine dedication to Soldiers and units, deployed or otherwise. They never asked, "how did we do?", only "do you know another unit we can support?" During a second deployment, DoF was with us and much appreciated. DoF is a collection of wonderful people doing great things for Soldiers, deployed and at home, and especially those injured and or struggling. I don't know if they can help everyone, but I bet they try. COL (Ret) James A. Howard.

1 Shauna6

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I were helped out by this great organization. There was a point in time where we might have been homeless if it was not for Donna Cranston and all of the wonderful people who have donated and volunteered. Not only have they helped us monetarily but they have also introduced us to a wonderful network of veterans who have become life long friends and family. I am very grateful to all that they have done to keep my husband and I from becoming one of a growing statistic of veterans who are being failed by the system. DoF is worth any time and effort that you have to give. Please help support them so they can continue to make a difference.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Being involved with Defenders of Freedom has been such a rewarding experience. I've had the honor of meeting some true American heroes! I know that the funds donated go directly to paying for the critical care needs of our wounded veterans and deployed Troops. It is truly a pleasure to be able to give back through a non-profit like Defenders of Freedom!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Having the chance to meet Donna and the great people with DOF is one of the best things that has ever happen tome, I am a wounded warrior and the love they show, along with the help in anyway possible supercedes any other organization. Thanks so much for all your help I think of you often. SGT(Ret) Marshall

1 Jody21

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being one of the individuals touched by Donna Craston and the Defenders of Freedom organization, all I can say is God Blessed. The hard work of this orginization helps current and past service members in many endevours. I was invited to tee it up for troops in Dallas. The time to reconnect with service members with similar disabilities and many far worse than myself. We were offered a great time with so many great an cheerful people. No matter how down I was when I arrived, I truly had so much fun and took me away from my daily fights in my own life. I can say what I feel about the DOF org. because my keyboard would fall short of the mark. Thank you all

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Speaking with members of our military that have been helped by DOF they are very grateful for the support from and the positive change in their lives. I volunteer at the golf tournaments and the positive testimony from our troops is the reason I'll keep volunteering

1

Donor

Rating: 5

There was a surgical nurse who had problems when she returned from Iraq. She had not been given the opportunity to meet any soldiers after they went through rehab and therefore thought her part in cutting their limbs off was a terrible thing. When Defenders found out about this situation they brought the nurse to their golf tournament to spend the day with some of the amputees. Her life changed that day, she is now a mother and has a happy life because someone took the time to do one small thing that made a difference to her. When you make a donation to an organization it helps to know how your money is being spent and this organization has changed alot of soldiers lives starting with one small thing.

Stephanie41

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

i actually send letters to the troops thru DOF. i am extremly thankful they include my letters in their care packages. i love getting responses back from the troops. i try to use bright and cheerful paper to brighten their day just a little. i am extremly proud of the work these great people at DOF do and hope they continue on. i now have several people i know personally serving and i am proud to say no one will ever forget the service and sacrifice of all even if they aren't serving directly. i like to think my bright colored letters give even a crack of a smile to our guys and gals serving and i am greatful beyond belief that DOF helps me spread that little bit of happiness. GOD Bless DOF and GOD BLESS our troops and their families

Kelli B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with DOF for the past few years, first as an intern, then as a volunteer. I have witnessed the great things that DOF has done over the years for so many Troops, both deployed and wounded. I appreciate all that they do for our men and women in uniform and know that they are passionate for the cause!