HELPING AMERICA’S VETERANS

Craig Newmark isn’t just the name behind Craigslist. He’s also on the front line in the fight to keep America’s veterans well on the home front. He joins us to share the details.

Aired on November 27, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> HE WEARS GLASSES, AND HE CALLS HIMSELF AN OLD SCHOOL NERD.

AND WHILE YOU'LL KNOW CRAIG NEWMARK HAS THE FOUNDER OF CRAIGSLIST, HE'S A VERY SERIOUS PHILANTHROPIST, EARNING HONORS FROM THE WOODROW FOUNDATION AND THE ORGANIZATION, IRAQ IN AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA.

THE LIST OF HIS EFFORTS, HELPING V VETERANS IN NEED IS VAST.

NOW, FOR THIS PART OF OUR SERIES ON POST 9/11 VETERANS, FRONTLINE TO HOMEFRONT, CRAIG NEWMARK JOINS US TO DISCUSS WHY HE SUPPORTS THESE VETERAN ORGANIZATIONS, WHAT THESE INITIATIVES ARE DOING, AND OTHER MAYBE NERDY PROJECTS HE HAS ON THE TABLE.

CRAIG, NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

MY PLEASURE.

YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY THE ABILITY TO ENGAGE IN ANY NUMBER OF PHILANTHROPIC EFFORTS.

WHY HAS IT BEEN, THEN, THAT THE VETERANS ISSUES HAVE BECOME SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?

WELL, AFTER MEETING WITH A GUY YEARS AGO FROM THE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA, I STARTED REALIZING HOW MUCH I PE PERSONALLY OWE VETS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

VETS AND ACTIVE SERVICE MEMBERS, WHEN DEPLOYED, THEY RISK A LOT TO PROTECT ME.

THEIR FAMILIES SACRIFICE A LOT TO SUPPORT THEIR ACTIVE SERVICE MEMBER.

SO WHEN THEY COME BACK AS VETS, VETS AND THEIR FAMILIES HAVE ALREADY EARNED A LOT OF RESPECT AND SUPPORT FROM US.

AND I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR AMERICANS TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON OUR COMMITMENTS.

I'M DOING OUR BEST TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON MINE.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ISSUES THAT WE AS A SOCIETY SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON TO HELP OUR VETERANS?

WELL, IF A VET COMES BACK AS A WOUNDED WARRIOR, WE SHOULD PROVIDE EXTRA SUPPORT FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS.

IF A VET IS LOOKING FOR A GOOD JOB, WE SHOULD SUPPORT THEM FINDING A GOOD JOB.

FROM MY POINT OF VIEW, IN TECHNOLOGY, THAT'S WHAT I KNOW, WE EXPOSE VETS TO THE CONTACTS WITHIN THE COMPUTER AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY.

FOR EXAMPLE, ONCE I JOINED THEM ON FACEBOOK, VETS AND TECH GETS TRAINED IN SALES FORCE TECHNOLOGY AND GETS THOSE VETS JOBS.

MORE RECENTLY, VETS AND TECH WORKED WITH CYBER SECURITY FIRMS TO GET THOSE VETS TRAINING AND THEN PLACEMENT, DOING CYBER SECURITY WORK.

THAT'S A BIG AMOUNT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE RIGHT NOW.

OUR COUNTRY IS BEING ATTACKED THROUGH THE INTERNET.

WE NEED MAYBE 300,000 MORE CYBER SECURITY PEOPLE.

THAT MANY?

IT'S A GREAT CAREER PATH.

HOW ABOUT SOME OF THE OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THAT I MENTIONED THAT YOU'RE INVOLVED WITH.

IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETS OF AMERICA IS THE BIG LONG STANDING ORGANIZATION.

THEY ADDRESS REAL VETERANS' NEEDS IN THE HERE AND NOW.

LIKE HELPING MAKE SURE THE G.I.

BILL GOT PASSED, AND IS PRESERVED, DESPITE ATTACKS.

THEY ARE TRYING TO HELP VETS GET PROPER TREATMENT IF THEY WERE EXPOSED TO BURN PITS, WHICH IS LIKE THE NEW AGENT ORANGE.

AND WOMEN VETERANS.

AND THERE'S NOW A COUPLE HUNDRED THOUSAND OF THEM OR MORE.

WITH PROJECTIONS THERE WILL BE MORE AND MORE WOMEN COMING INTO THE MILITARY.

AND AMERICA AS A COUNTRY, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, NEEDS TO RESPECT AND PROPERLY SUPPORT WOMEN VETS, AND IAVA AS A GENUINE LEADER IN THAT REGARDS.

IF SOMEBODY IS WATCHING OUR CONVERSATION AND SAYS THIS SOUNDS LIKE GOOD WORK, WHAT CAN WE SUGGEST THAT THEY CAN DO TO HELP?

THEY CAN HELP VETS FIND WORK.

IF THEY KNOW A JOB THAT'S AVAILABLE.

IF THEY'RE IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, THEY COULD HELP MAKE SURE THAT THE KIDS OF ACTIVE SERVICE MEMBERS OR VETS GET A GOOD, AND THEN A BETTER EDUCATION.

FOR EXAMPLE, THROUGH CONTRIBUTING THROUGH DAUGHTERS CHOOSE, WHERE THE SCHOOLS -- THEY CONTRIBUTE TO TEACHER'S PROJECTS, WHICH ARE IN THE SCHOOLS THAT SERVE MILITARY FAMILIES.

AND THE IDEA IS THAT PEOPLE CAN FIND OUT WHAT PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE TO VETS, AND THEN GIVE THEM A LITTLE NUDGE.

WE TALKED ABOUT YOUR VOLUNTARY WORK WITH THE V.A. AND BEING TITLED 'THE NERD IN CHIEF.'

WHAT SORT OF WORK WERE YOU ABLE TO DO WITH THEM?

I TOOK THE RESIDENTS PROGRAM AND CALLED IT FOR ME THE NERD IN RESIDENTS PROGRAM.

TWO REASONS, TRUTH IN ADVERTISING.

AND I MAY HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR, ALBEIT ON THE DRY SIDE.

I THOUGHT I WOULD BE HELPING THEM WITH TECHNOLOGY.

I WAS WRONG.

THEY KNOW HOW TO DO PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO DO.

WHAT THEY NEEDED WAS AIR COVER AND SUPPORT, BECAUSE THEY'RE ALREADY DOING REALLY GREAT STUFF.

BUT SOMETIMES THEY NEEDED POLITICAL HELP FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO GET PERMISSION TO DO OTHER REALLY GOOD STUFF.

YEARS AGO YOU WOULD SEE BIG PILES OF PAPER FILES, WHERE VETERANS WERE WAITING FOR BENEFITS MANAGEMENT PROCESSING TO HAPPEN.

HUGE AMOUNTS OF PAPER, SHELVES BE BENDING UNDER THEIR EIGHT.

AROUND THEM, THEY WERE FINISHING THE BENEFITS SYSTEM, WHERE THEY SCANNED IN CLAIMS, GREATLY EXPEDITING THEM AND THEY'RE MAKING ENORMOUS PROGRESS.

WHEN YOU SCAN IN FILES LIKE THAT, YOU MAKE IT A LOT EASIER TO FIND THEM, YOU MAKE IT A LOT EASIER TO GET THEM FROM ONE BENEFITS PROCESSOR TO ANOTHER.

BUT NO ONE WAS GIVING THE V.A.

CREDIT FOR THAT.

SO I WROTE A HUGE THANK YOU NOTE TO VETERANS BENEFITS ADMINISTRATION, ONLY TELLING THE TRUTH, BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WAS.

SO I THANKED THEM ON THE RECORD, AND THAT MEANT SOMETHING.

HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THAT WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME WE DON'T START FORGETTING?

ALL I KNOW, BECAUSE I REALLY AM A NERD.

I'M NOT A COMMUNICATIONS OR PEER PERSON, BUT TELL EVERYONE THAT WE SAW VETS A LOT.

WE OWE THEIR FAMILIES A LOT, AND WE CAN'T FORGET THAT.

AND LET'S REPEAT THAT NOW AND THEN.

CRAIG, YOU'RE DOING MARVELOUS WORK FOR PEOPLE AND I'M SURE THEY APPRECIATE WHAT YOU'RE DOING, AND YOUR PERFECT ILLUSTRATION OF THAT NOTION OF DOING WELL AND DOING GOOD.

SO WE CERTAINLY THANK YOU.

AND I KNOW THE VETS THANK YOU.

I APPRECIATE THAT.

BUT ALL I'M DOING IS SAYING THANK YOU FOR MUCH BIGGER WORK DONE BY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS.

WHICH ALL OF US NEED TO DO.

THANK YOU.

PLEASURE.

TAKE CARE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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