In 2005, sisters Rachel and Kelsi (then ages 10 and 8) saw first-hand the hardships faced by a military family when a friend’s father returned from Iraq severely injured. In appreciation of the family’s sacrifice, they launched ThanksUSA. Through its scholarship program, it empowers the children and spouses of military personnel to expand their education and skills through college, technical school, or vocational training programs. Priority is given to families of the wounded and fallen, and while all scholarships are based on financial need, scholars go on to earn an average 3.5 GPA. Select participants enter the Pathways for Patriots program, which matches scholars with corporate partners who provide professional mentoring, networking, and internship opportunities. To date, scholarships totaling more than $14.5 million (11.5% in DC, Virginia, and Maryland) have said thank you to military families who have given so much.

Headquarters: VA-Fairfax County

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; MD-Statewide; VA-Statewide; 2120 Garden Grove Ln

Age Groups Served: Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49)

Population(s) Served: Students; Veterans/Military Families

  • Value of 4,500 ThanksUSA Scholarships Awarded since 2006:   $14.5 Million

Awards & Recognition

Charity Navigator – 4-Star Rating

CNBC’s Top 10 Charities that Support Veterans – Listed as #2 Charity

Jefferson Award for Public Service – Awarded to ThanksUSA Co-Founders Rachel and Kelsi Okun

The National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF) Guardian Award

Caring Institute’s Hall of Fame – Inductees Rachel and Kelsi Okun

Above and Beyond Citizen Honors – State of Virginia Representatives Rachel and Kelsi Okun

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Founders’ Medal for Youth – Recipients Rachel and Kelsi Okun

USA TODAY 25th Anniversary Program – Selected as Top 25 National Charity


Budget (FY2014)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for ThanksUSA is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

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