Skip to Content
Vertical Graphic Fade

Sentara Healthcare Donates $150,000 To Programs Supporting Veterans

Funds to be used for housing assistance, suicide prevention programs

NORFOLK, VA – October 21, 2021 – Sentara Healthcare has awarded the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation (VVSF) a $150,000 grant to support programs for veterans and their families. The grant is designated to assist homeless veterans and to support behavioral health initiatives including suicide prevention.

“We greatly appreciate Sentara’s long-standing commitment to Virginia’s veteran community,” said Acting Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Kathleen Jabs. “Not all veterans’ needs can be met through government resources,” Jabs continued. “Donated funds from businesses, individuals, and community partners such as Sentara help to fill these gaps. This grant will allow us to continue our critical work in veteran suicide and homelessness prevention as part of our effort to ensure that Virginia remains one of the most military-friendly states in the nation.”

The Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program (VVFS) is operated by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS). VVSF established the Homeless Veteran Fund in 2016 to provide one-time assistance to homeless veterans being housed and those in danger of becoming homeless. The program has assisted more than 1,100 veterans by covering deposits, rent, and utility payments.

In addition, VVFS consistently provides resource referrals and behavioral and rehabilitative health care coordination and supportive services to Virginia’s Veterans, caregivers and family members.

“The military is at the very core of who we are as a community in Hampton Roads,” said Howard P. Kern, president & CEO of Sentara Healthcare. “The military drives our values and our identity as a region. Even for those who have never served, the military’s commitment to service, integrity and pride in our country is infectious. Sentara is proud to support veterans in various ways, including welcoming veterans and their positive, can-do attitudes to our work force.”

Currently, Sentara employs 1,704 veterans, who comprise about six percent of our more than 28,000- member workforce.

Since 2013, Sentara has participated in the Virginia Values Veterans program (V3), which helps companies develop best practices in recruiting, hiring, and retaining Virginia Veterans. In 2018, Sentara joined the Army’s Partnership for Youth Success program, helping veterans secure job interviews with our company after their service. Sentara has been honored for hiring women veterans and for hiring the most military medics and corpsmen in Virginia in 2020.

“I join Acting Secretary Jabs in offering our sincerest appreciation for this significant donation and the continuing commitment of Sentara,” said John Lesinski, VVSF Board Chairman. “These grant funds come at a challenging time for many veterans and their families and will enable us to offer stable housing alternatives and to coordinate behavioral services for veterans suffering mental health crises.”

About Sentara Healthcare

Sentara Healthcare celebrates 133 years in pursuit of its core mission – We improve health every day. Headquartered in Norfolk, Va., Sentara is an integrated, not-for-profit health system with 29,000 employees serving patients and health plan members across Virginia and northeast North Carolina. Established in 1888 as the 25-bed Retreat for the Sick, Sentara now operates 12 hospitals, two medical groups, a clinically integrated network, numerous ambulatory sites and two health plans, Optima Health and Virginia Premier. Key facilities and programs include the nationally ranked Sentara Heart Hospital, the accredited Sentara Cancer Network, the Sentara Brock Cancer Center in Norfolk, a Level I adult trauma center and the Nightingale Regional Air Ambulance.

Sentara Healthcare prides itself on a positive workplace and a diverse team with a laser focus on safety and quality, clinical innovation, compassionate care and an extraordinary patient experience. The system was named one of IBM Watson Health’s Top 15 Health Systems in 2021 and 2018, one of Forbes’ America’s Best Employers in 2018 and one of Forbes’ Best Employers for Women in 2020. We also achieved a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2020 survey of support for LGBTQ+ patients and partners. The Sentara Cares corporate social responsibility program reflects our commitment to our mission by addressing social determinants of health and broadening access to care for all the communities we serve.

About the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation
The Virginia Veterans Services Foundation is a state agency established to support the interest of Virginia veterans and their families through programs and services offered by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. The Foundation provides supplemental funding for designated programs when state and federal funds are not available and depends solely on contributions from veteran and community organizations, businesses, grants and caring individuals. Each dollar raised stays in Virginia and 100 percent of all contributions made to the Virginia Veterans Services Foundation go directly to veterans in crisis or in need of assistance. For more information, visit

About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. VDVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans.  Today, VDVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates two long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; and provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit