The Americanism Division represents two of the four pillars of the Legion – Americanism and Youth. It is guided by the National Americanism Commission that meets three times a year. Under the direction of this commission, a wide variety of programs are built based on community service, citizenship, patriotic values, mentoring young people and the care, protection and well-being of children. Two permanent committees of the Americanism Commission are the Committee on Youth Education, which offers a number of educational opportunities, including scholarships and teaching materials; and the Committee on Children & Youth, which offers programs pertaining to matters of youth welfare and troop and family support, as detailed immediately below. Also found under the Americanism umbrella is the organization’s chaplaincy program.
Programs and specific areas of work include American Legion Baseball, the National High School Oratorical Contest, Junior Shooting Sports, the Junior Law Cadet program, Boys State and Boys Nation, support for Boy Scouts of America, U.S. flag education and protection, voter awareness, and naturalization and citizenship of immigrants, along with a number of scholarship programs.
For a summary of current Americanism resolutions, click here. This summary is intended to provide an easy reference regarding many of the programs and positions of The American Legion. It contains resolutions that became mandates of the Legion after being first considered and adopted by the commission, and subsequently adopted by either the Legion's National Convention or the National Executive Committee. For the complete text of Americanism resolutions click here.
The Committee on Children & Youth, assigned to the Americanism Commission, provides guidance on matters of youth welfare, which represents one of the Legion's four pillars. Children & Youth has three main objectives: to strengthen families; to support quality services to young people; and to maintain a well-rounded program that meets the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs of young people.
Troop and family support programs that strengthen families and provide care for young people include the Family Support Network, which provides relief for military families with minor children who are struggling with the challenges of being without a deployed parent or spouse; and Temporary Financial Assistance, which helps families meet the costs of shelter, food, utilities and health expenses when parents are unable to, thereby keeping minor children in a more stable home environment. The Operation Comfort Warriors program is dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel by providing them with comfort items not usually supplied by the government, and welcoming their families to events aiding in their recovery.
For a summary of current Children & Youth resolutions, click here. This summary is intended to provide an easy reference regarding many of the programs and positions of the Legion. It contains resolutions that became mandates of the Legion after being first considered and adopted by the committee, and subsequently adopted by either the Legion's National Convention or the National Executive Committee. For the complete text of Children & Youth resolutions click here.
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation was incorporated in 1954 as a distinct grant-awarding fund within the organization. Each year, the foundation awards over $500,000 to non-profits that disseminate information aimed to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children. Information for donors, grant seekers and supporters of the foundation can be found at www.legion.org/childwelfare. Also on the site is a list of the current year’s CWF grant recipients.
A full commission provides guidance to the Convention & Meetings Division, which plans and executes the organization’s annual national convention, along with a number of meetings and conferences throughout the year.
The Education and Employment Division is governed by a full commission that focuses on veteran employment, business development, education, and help for homeless veterans. The commission was formed to ensure that veterans receive the opportunity to succeed in civilian life. Division staff work closely with the Legion's Legislative Division to advance legislation supported by Legion resolutions, also working with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Small Business Administration, and other government entities on the state and national levels. The American Legion Small Business Task Force meets regularly to set legislative priorities for the division and advocate on behalf of veteran-owned businesses. The division works with corporate partners, such as RecruitMilitary, LLC; Avue; and Military.com, to promote and execute veteran job fairs and career expos nationwide. The Legion coordinates a Homeless Veterans Task Force throughout the 55 departments in the organization. The division also manages the Heroes to Hometowns program, which connects local Legionnaires to severely wounded veterans to help them transition back to civilian life. The commission recognizes businesses and employer services with awards for excellence in veteran outreach.
Located at the John H. Geiger Operations Center in Indianapolis, the Emblem Sales Division has exclusive responsibility over the sales of merchandise featuring the emblem of The American Legion, including pins, caps and other items. The division facilitates the sale of thousands of items, including U.S. flags made in the United States, Legion Baseball items, and Legion Rider apparel. Merchandise can be found in the annually updated Emblem Sales catalog, and online at emblem.legion.org. The division also provides members with opportunities to shop in person at major national meetings, such as the national convention.
The American Legion Finance Commission is responsible for the organization’s annual budget, funds management and oversight for divisions and departments within the Legion. The commission also manages permanent endowments and funds, including The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, The American Legion Endowment Fund, The American Legion Insurance Committee, The American Legion Emblem Committee and The American Legion Overseas Graves Decoration Trust; and directs the work of the Finance Division. The Emblem Sales Division is also under the commission.
The Foreign Relations Commission advocates policies, and works with national political leaders to advance the Legion’s resolutions on global affairs. The commission maintains a strong position in support of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, and a long-standing relationship with the National League of POW/MIA Families, among other government entities and nonprofit organizations that seek the full accounting of all U.S. service personnel missing or held captive in war zones. The commission also takes up a variety of international trade, security, energy and human-rights issues, guided by resolutions.
The Fundraising Division is responsible for the development and growth of a nonmember-fundraising program, as well as the implementation and management of comprehensive strategies for planned giving, major gifts, corporate support and affinity insurance programs. This division is also responsible for maintaining a competitive portfolio of fundraising campaigns available for use by the departments.
The Information Technology Division is responsible for the computer software and hardware of the Legion's National Headquarters, including the membership database, email campaigns, electronic membership-management tools such as the AIM software system, myLegion for members and officers, and the printing of renewal notices, labels and mass-mail services.
The Internal Affairs Commission oversees the Membership & Post Activities Committee, post relations, post development and revitalization, Operation Outreach, Sons of The American Legion, Legion Riders, the National Emergency Fund, special projects and promotions, support from country singer Michael Peterson, trophies and awards, the Legion's constitution and by-laws, and other internal publications. Internal Affairs also oversees the delivery of Consolidated Post Reports, which detail Legion activities during the year and which are provided to Congress.
The Legislative Division is governed by a full commission, and promotes the organization’s positions and recommendations to Congress, the White House, and federal departments and agencies. The division coordinates support efforts on Capitol Hill, and advises state legislative councils as they deliver the Legion message across the country. An annual portfolio of priorities is produced and presented to Congress from the national commander and chairmen of the Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation and Legislative commissions. The portfolio, based on national resolutions, serves as a guide for volunteers and staff to use when meeting with elected representatives. The Legislative Action Center gives members an online gateway of information to track bills and follow developments in Washington.
The Media and Communications Division is made up of the former Magazine Division (the Internal unit) and Public Relations DIvision (External unit). Media and Communications Internal serves as the multimedia arm of the national organization, producing and managing the nation’s largest veterans magazine, the monthly Dispatch newspaper for Legion leadership, the weekly American Legion Online Update e-newsletter, the national website, various blogs and social media. The “magazine for a strong America,” with a circulation of 2.3 million, features interviews with top U.S. leaders and articles on major national issues, particularly those pertaining to the four pillars of the organization.
Media and Communications External communicates the organization’s image, goals, programs and legislative priorities at the national, state and local levels through outside media. This group produces and distributes news releases and commentaries from the national commander, as well as video presentations from a recording studio inside National Headquarters in Indianapolis. In addition, the group prepares many guides, speeches, programs and brochures for posts to use to build awareness for such events as Patriot Day and Veterans Day. The External unit also administers the annual Fourth Estate Award for excellence in journalism.
The division is led by a full commission.
The Membership Services Division is responsible for the management of programs related to the acquisition of new members and the retention of existing members. The division manages the Direct Mail Solicitation (DMS) program, which offers membership to qualifying veterans through direct mail offers; and assists in the administration of the Direct Renewal program, in which renewal reminders are mailed to existing members. Additionally, the division is responsible for all mailing, fulfillment and shipping activities related to the Legion membership programs and other member-communication activities.
Another responsibility is the management of the member discount programs. Numerous product and service providers work with the Legion to provide discounts to Legionnaires in areas including travel, auto and truck rental, home services, and prescription drugs and eyewear.
Based in the Washington office, the National Security Division handles issues that directly affect the lives of military personnel, as well as matters of national and global importance. Division staff work closely with the Pentagon, defense committees in Congress and base commands nationwide. Among its most prominent areas of work is transition assistance for military personnel, including programs to help wounded warriors through medical discharge and into the VA health-care system. The full-commission-led division also supports the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, Junior ROTC programs, and law-enforcement components of the organization’s mission, as well as the Blood Donor Program.
One of the four pillars of the Legion, Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation is dedicated to the timely and compassionate delivery of benefits – including health-care services – earned by U.S. military veterans. One of the division’s marquee programs is the Department Service Officer School, which provides accredited training for Legion service officers throughout the nation. The curriculum for these schools includes education on veterans law, as well as changes in the veterans-benefits claims and appeals process. The Legion provides staff representation at the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington to help veterans appealing a decision to navigate through the maze of regulations and paperwork relevant to their cases. The VA&R field-service staff conducts regular site visits to VA medical facilities, and produces the “System Worth Saving” report for Congress and others. The division is the Legion’s eyes and ears in Washington about all issues related to VA, particularly benefits and health care. The division also offers representation to veterans dealing with discharge disputes and correction of military records; and administers the Legion’s involvement with VA Volunteer Services, which provides countless hours of cost-free staffing at VA facilities nationwide.