Heeding the Call
Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day – ‘tis the season to honor the men and women who serve our country and protect us all. For this time of year, we couldn’t think of a more fitting person to award a Dubrof Impact Star than Anne Marie Dougherty, Executive Director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
The call to service has been answered by multiple members of Anne Marie’s family – her dad was in the Army’s special forces, her maternal grandfather was a WW2 fighter pilot in the Marines, her paternal grandfather served in the Navy, her uncle served in the Army, and her husband is a veteran Marine officer who served in Afghanistan. With such a legacy, it was particularly meaningful that Anne Marie chose the Bob Woodruff Foundation as a place to answer her call to service. The work that the Foundation was doing to help wounded service members immediately struck a chord with her. “I wanted to help develop a support system that could care for the people I knew currently serving on the front line.” Recognizing a star, the Woodruff Foundation invited Anne Marie to put her degree in journalism and communication to work after she first volunteered for the Foundation. In 2011, a mere four years after she joined professionally, Bob and Lee Woodruff and the Board of Directors promoted Anne Marie to Executive Director.
Under Anne Marie’s leadership, the Foundation has grown from a small regional organization to a nationally recognized brand and market leader. Anne Marie has raised more than $40 million with over 87% allocated to programs. Over the past five years, the Foundation has increased funding of programs by 120%, with $4.4M contributed to 47 different grantees in 2016 in these primary areas:
1. Family and caregiver support
2. Access to and continuity of mental health care
3. Military and veteran cultural competency
4. Volunteerism spirituality and mindfulness
The Foundation operates under a Find, Fund, Shape model.
Through the Charitable Investments Program, the Foundation’s staff diligently navigates a broad array of nonprofits to find the most innovative programs meeting the needs of today’s veterans. They look for diversity in program focus, organization type, and geographic location and scope, curating a portfolio for impact and sustainability
Through due diligence and a commitment to meeting the highest of standards, the Bob Woodruff Foundation invests in high-impact programs and resources that ensure “Success that Sustains.”
By collaborating with government, private, and public organizations, the Foundation staff members leverage their subject matter expertise to influences and improve programs and resources.
The Foundation builds communities of support all over the country for wounded service members. Additionally, it helps donors select from the more than 46,000 nonprofits benefiting veterans. The foundation also raises funds so charities can focus on issues like preventing veteran suicide and helping veterans find jobs and reintegrate successfully.
Anne Marie and the Woodruffs understand that the needs of veterans will change over time and plan to adapt accordingly. To ensure its relevancy, the Foundation invests in developing community-based relationships and leveraging its networks, partners, and national voice to attract pro bono resources, social media, and in-kind donations. Looking to the future, Anne Marie is working to attract the millennial generation through the creation of the Next Generation Action Council to supplement the Foundation’s world-class Board of Directors and Leadership Council.
We’re not the first to recognize Anne Marie’s talents: she was named The Nonprofit Times and American Marketing Association “Nonprofit Marketer of the Year” in 2012, and she has received multiple awards on behalf the Foundation’s industry-leading impact. She frequently speaks at industry events about the issues and solutions of the post 9/11 generation of veterans, brand stewardship through strategic philanthropy, and women in leadership.
As you celebrate America’s Independence next month or Flag Day this month, we invite you to think fondly of and perhaps even take action in supporting our troops with a visit to:
- How did you get your name?
I was named after a dear friend of the family’s mother, Anne McCann. When my parents were young and living on an Army base and my dad, who was Special Forces in the Army, was away for stretches of time, Anne befriended my mom after seeing her at daily mass. Anne was the mother of Sheila who was a Lt Col in the Army, a Vietnam triage nurse, and someone who would become one of the most important female figures in my life. Anne had such a profound impact on my mom, taking her under her wing and becoming a surrogate mom, that my mom named me, her third child, Anne. My sisters and I all share the “Marie” which is a part of my family’s Catholic heritage.
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
At various times growing up, I envisioned myself in different roles from an Olympic figure skater to a Marine Officer to a CEO. Reflecting on that now, I realize I always wanted to be something great, something elite. I wanted to work hard to excel, to achieve the highest levels of success in that field.
- What do you want to be now?
I am fulfilled where I am now: I am running and building an organization that is making an incredible impact doing something I care so deeply about; and, I am surrounded by some of the smartest, most influential, and dedicated people you could imagine from the Woodruffs, to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 4 star generals, advisors to the President, amazingly resilient veterans and military spouses, to the team I’ve built at the Foundation.
- If you could have a mulligan, what would you redo?
Mulligan – really thinking about this; I am sure there is something, but my life is so fast paced and moving so directionally forward, I don’t have a regret or something that is weighing me down.
- What are you reading currently?
I usually am reading four books at once; right now I am reading a cook book about organic Baby and Toddler Food, Option B by Sheryl Sandberg, Team of Teams by General McCrystal, and The Alchemist. I read that last one every few years, when it calls to me. I am excited to find a couple of novels for the summer. I like to have something practical, inspirational, professional, and mindless. Always open to recommendations!
- If you couldn’t live in America, where would you establish your home?
I love America, and so appreciate our freedoms and what our country stands for. Living and working in Midtown Manhattan and performing and living at this accelerated pace can be tiring; while I have not spent much time in Europe – it’s on my do list! I do respect and admire the way that, in general, Europeans make more time and space for family, respite, and recreation with longer holidays, less frenetic accessibility, and vigilance on the phone and other devices as well as longer maternity leave and a cultural acceptance of that.
- What is the biggest challenge ahead of you?
I am in a really amazing stage of growth with the Bob Woodruff Foundation; we are in a transformative place for the organization internally, and the external market factors are changing rapidly. We need to stay three steps ahead; forward thinking; innovate; operate and plan for an uncertain future. It is a challenge I take head on daily that I look forward to tackling, and I thrive in the challenge; tackling challenges motivates me; this is one of my favorite and most fulfilling things about my career.The other challenge is balancing it all; being all in on building this organization and my commitment to our ambitious mission while not taking on too much; I have a family – a husband and son who need time and attention, too.
- What is your greatest extravagance?
My greatest extravagance is a secret weapon I use when I need to create time out of thin air and be on top of my game. I’ll book an in-home blow out for my hair; it gives me the time I would normally spend blow drying my own hair; plus I have quiet time to answer emails or prepare talking points or whatever it is. I also leave feeling great because my hair looks better than if I did it myself – it’s a little extra edge, dose of confidence, small indulgence, and multitasking at its finest extravagance.
- You’re invited to a state dinner at the White House and cannot take your spouse/significant other. Who is your date?
Lee Woodruff, she is the best date. She can walk into a stiff or serious room and make everyone at ease. She is so great at talking to people and getting them to open up, and by the end of the meal everyone is friends and staying in touch. It is such an art.
- Assuming you had the talent, with what musical group/artist living or dead would you most like to perform?
Back to question #3, Yo-Yo Ma comes to mind or maybe Adele? Why not reach for the stars? I love both raw talent that is honed (Adele) and masterfully practiced and disciplined performance and skill (Cellist).