Reserving a Room
Q. What are the requirements to stay at a Fisher House? How do I reserve a room?
A. Fisher Houses are given to the military services and Department of Veterans Affairs as a gift, and the commander or director of each medical center where the houses are located are responsible for establishing the eligibility, priorities, and selection criteria. Please communicate directly with a Fisher House manager for the requirements at a specific house from the "Current Houses" section of our web site.
Q. Is there a charge to stay at a Fisher House?
A. No. Fisher Houses at VA medical centers do not charge a room fee; and effective October 1, 2006, all room fees for guest families at all Army, Navy, and Air Force Fisher Houses are paid by Fisher House Foundation.
Q. I have seen statements that no government funds are used for the program. Is this true?
A. There is unique legislation for the Fisher House program. For building new houses, the Fisher House Foundation has received some Congressionally appropriated funds. Once an individual house is given to the military, it is supported by two sources of funds: (1) from the income generated by a Congressionally approved trust fund maintained by each military service (these funds are referred to as "nonappropriated funds") and (2) from voluntary donations, given by individuals and organizations. Included in this category is the annual Combined Federal Campaign. Houses located at VA medical centers do receive support from tax dollars.
Q. Why are we asked to donate if the government pays?
A. The government pays only a portion of the costs. Ours is a "unique private - public partnership," and in many instances, because the funds benefit a specific individual or family, laws and regulations prohibit the expenditure of government funds, but do permit the expenditure of privately donated funds.
Q. What percent of the money spent is for administration?
A. When nonprofit organizations that are tax exempt file their annual federal tax return (IRS Form 990), they are required to categorize each expenditure in three categories: program expense, administration, and fundraising. In 2012, our administration and fundraising expenses were 4% of our expenses.
Q. Is my personal information (name, address, amount of donation) kept private?
A. Yes. We do retain your information in our data base, but only so it is available for review by our auditors who ensure we are in compliance in all laws affecting nonprofit organizations; and so we can mail you a copy of Fisher House Magazine, approximately twice a year. We do not sell or trade names of donors, nor do we solicit via direct mail or the telephone. If you prefer not to receive a copy of Fisher House Magazine, please let us know, and we will not send it to you.
Q. Do Fisher Houses need volunteers? What skills or background are needed?
A. Volunteering is done at the local Fisher Houses, and not through the Fisher House Foundation. We suggest you contact the manager of a Fisher House directly - either by telephone or email. The manager is in a better position to know what is needed at his or her house. The names, phone numbers, and email addresses for the managers is at the "Current Houses" section of our web site.
Q. Can I stop by to visit a Fisher House?
A. In almost all cases, yes, but please have the courtesy to arrange your visit through the manager of the house you wish to visit in advance. Individuals or groups wishing to visit a Fisher House should do so during the week, and not over the weekend.
Q. Are there going to be more Fisher Houses? Where will they be built?
A. We highlight new Fisher Houses - those under construction, or in planning or design - on our web site. The decision where to build is based on need, and approved by the Fisher House Foundation's Board of Trustees, which meets twice a year. Normally, a need is identified and justification is submitted from the medical center to either the service Surgeon General (Army, Navy, or Air Force) or the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Fisher Houses at VA medical centers. The requesting medical center commander or director must demonstrate that the mission of his or her medical center is one that brings to it patients from beyond the normal daily commuting distance (at least 50 miles) for long periods of time. While the number of beds at a medical center is a consideration, the center must normally be a "center of excellence" or referral center for other smaller medical centers or hospitals.
Q. Who pays for a Fisher House?
A. Fisher House Foundation pays for the construction costs and for furnishing each Fisher House, and the Foundation will have the money on hand before construction begins. The Foundation normally asks that half the money for a new house be raised in the local area, and provides one-for-one matching.
Q. How do I apply for a scholarship?
A. There is a separate "Frequently Asked Questions" section for the Scholarships for Military Children Program. This question and others are included. Please go to www.militaryscholar.org and click on the FAQ section.
Q. I am a military spouse. Is there a scholarship program for me?
A. Fisher House Foundation sponsors a separate scholarship program for military spouses. The program is called the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship Program and is administered by the National Military Family Association, in partnership with Fisher House Foundation. Find out more.
Q. Does the Fisher House Foundation provide monetary assistance to individual service members or their families?
A. Ordinarily, the Foundation does not, but can on a case-by-case basis if the need is directly related to the hospitalization of a service member or his or her family.
Q. Does Fisher House Foundation offer or provide grants?
A. The Foundation's grants program is done in conjunction with Newman's Own and the Military Times Media Group. Called the Newman's Own Awards, the three organizations will award $100,000 annually to organizations comprised primarily of volunteers that are working to improve military quality of life.