A nonprofit that helps veterans and active military members attend live events for free announced it has given away more than three million tickets since the group’s founding in 2008.
The Veterans Ticket Foundation, or Vet Tix, reached the milestone last month after two veterans were given tickets to a Major League Baseball game. Robert Hanna, an Army veteran, and Edward Dowgin, who is currently a soldier, had prime seats at a matchup between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. The two sat just behind the dugout at Yankee Stadium, in the Jim Beam section.
Vet Tix has provided free tickets to over 550,000 veterans, troops and their families who registered for the Tickets for Troops program. This spring, Vet Tix surveyed those in the program and found that 35 percent felt isolated from personal relationships after they returned from active military service. Another 75 percent said they can’t afford to attend college and professional games, concerts and other live events.
The free ticket program aims to help “strengthen bonds, heal hidden wounds and offer a positive space for reintegration” and “presents the opportunity to experience such an event without the financial burden.”
Vet Tix relies on ticket and monetary donations. More than 20,000 donors, including 500 professional and college teams, entertainers, and concert and event promoters, have contributed.
“This milestone would not have been possible without the continuous support from our partners, sponsors and generous donors,” Vet Tix CEO Mike Focareto, a Navy veteran, said in a statement. “We celebrate in conjunction with them, as they too play an imperative role in the success of Vet Tix.”
Live Nation is Vet Tix’s top donor to date.
“Providing veterans and their families with memorable experiences to Live Nation’s concerts is a way for us to thank the military community for their sacrifices,” Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, said in the statement. “We’re thrilled that we were able to contribute to Vet Tix’s milestone of 3 million tickets distributed and hope to see that number continue to grow in the years to come.”
Military members who participate pay a small processing fee. For more information or to join, visit the sign up page.