Partner spotlight: United Service Organizations

Partner spotlight: United Service Organizations

Partner spotlight: United Service Organizations

Partner spotlight: United Service Organizations

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A dedication to creating connections, communities, and networks of support is the foundation on which the United Service Organizations (USO) serves nearly half a million military service members and their families in the Midwest, annually.

With a mission to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation, the USO’s programs and services are designed to alleviate the stresses of everyday life for service members and their families.

Wintrust recognizes the immense sacrifices veterans and military families make on behalf of their communities and nation. That’s why we’re proud to support the USO in its efforts to forge strong and lasting connections between local service members and the American people they serve at the community level. As the organization celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2021, the USO’s impact on service members and their families, in the Midwest, is stronger than ever thanks to its many programs and initiatives that provide a transition from military to civilian careers. 

Wintrust is committed to hiring veterans and helping military members uncover what’s next. Since the partnership began in 2011, Wintrust has established itself as a trusted partner in many of the USO’s key initiatives to help military service members and their families remain connected to their communities and one another, both of which are vital to the wellbeing of our military.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the USO has adapted to address the changing needs of service members, their spouses, and their children by delivering critical programs and services in new and innovative ways at a time when social distancing and isolation challenge the resilience and well-being of us all. A few ways Wintrust has contributed to these efforts include providing food and beverages to the Army Corps of Engineers as they worked with the state of Illinois to build a hospital at McCormick Place Convention Center during the critical months of March and April 2020, as well as aiding in the development of dynamic virtual programs capable of supporting service members remotely. This also enabled the USO to expand its offering to reach even more military families in communities across the Midwest.

“Military life has fundamentally changed in the last two decades, bringing urgency to our mission,” said Alison Ruble, Regional President of USO of the Midwest. “When it comes to partnerships, Wintrust has been a true leader by remaining flexible and assisting us in the development of new and essential programs for service members and their families, prior to, but especially during, the pandemic. Without Wintrust’s support, we would not be able to provide the high-caliber programs that have become essential to the lives of local military throughout the Midwest.”

In addition to identifying and coordinating pandemic support opportunities together, the USO and Wintrust have partnered on several programs designed to enhance the quality of life of local service members and their families. Some successes include:

  • Military Unit Family Days, twice-per-year gatherings designed to strengthen the bonds between and within a military unit’s families as they support one another during military deployment.

  • USO No-Dough Dinners, an event at the USO Great Lakes Center on Naval Station Great Lakes where as many as 900 service members and their families gather for a community meal at no cost to them, weekly.

  • USO Frank ’n Fridays, a year-round program that provides communities with the opportunity to show support by hosting monthly lunches for service members and their families.

  • USO Military Spouse Programs, a series of events that empower military spouses in the Midwest by connecting them to social, professional, and community networks through fun, interactive social gatherings.

  • Small Business Development Center, which offers no-cost advising to the military community and is dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership.

  • USO Tickets for Troops, a seminal USO program offering free tickets to cultural, musical, theatrical, and sporting events to encourage connection to home and country.

  • USO Stateside Care Packages, recreational kits filled with sports equipment, crafts, games, and prizes to boost morale and create opportunities for family fun.

  • 2021 USO Salute Gala Celebration, an event honoring service members and families of the U.S. Armed Forces and a fundraiser to support the USO programs and services.

“When military families know they have support, this leads to better opportunities, increased confidence, and strong and resilient families. This critical support helps military members and their families secure employment, contribute to their local economies, and build better lives,” said Ed Wehmer. “Wintrust shares the USO’s commitment to community building and has spent the past 30 years investing in, giving back to, and developing deep connections with the communities it serves. This partnership has helped provide us with a link to service members and their families to support them in the ways that matter most.” 

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