For the past 24 years, VLP has organized an elegant evening dedicated to honoring and celebrating veterans for their service and contributions to our country. Hundreds, including current military members, veterans, family members of veterans and influential business leaders gather to learn about veteran service organizations, nonprofit organizations and the businesses in the Pittsburgh community who work hard to assist veterans in their transition into civilian life. A Tribute to Veterans has been described as “the premier event in terms of supporting veterans in the Pittsburgh region.” We are inviting you to join us.

Here are the top five reasons why you should consider supporting A Tribute to Veterans.

1. Pennsylvania has the 4th largest veteran population in the country—let them know your company supports them
According to a recent study published by the Center for a New American Security and reported by the Heinz Endowments, “the veteran population in the 10 western Pennsylvania counties is an estimated 235,000 men and women… about 50,000 of them are veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each year, 5,800 more leave military service and return to western Pennsylvania to face the challenging transition to life as a civilian.”

While some of these men and women are coming to VLP for assistance, many others are bringing their friends, family and fellow veterans to A Tribute to Veterans. A Tribute to Veterans has been attended by a wide spectrum of community members. Nearly 600 people—executives, veterans, Reservists, National Guard members and family members of veterans—attended the 2015 A Tribute to Veterans, and we are expecting an even greater turnout this year. As a Tribute sponsor, your company’s logo will be prominently displayed on our website, on signage at the event and in our Tribute program. We will also recognize you to our 4,200 social media followers and e-newsletter subscribers.

2. Community support is essential to our ongoing efforts in assisting veterans facing homelessness or unemployment
Every week, VLP receives phone calls, emails and drop-by visits from people who are eager to know how they can help veterans. Sponsoring A Tribute to Veterans is an excellent way to give back to the men and women who have served our country. VLP is an independent, local nonprofit and we guarantee that 100% of the monies raised at the Tribute go towards assisting veterans living in western Pennsylvania.

VLP is proud to report that for the last three years, our overhead costs have been under 12%. That means that nearly 90% of our total budget goes directly to veterans in need. It is our goal to help as many veterans as possible find safe and affordable housing, employment and access to additional supportive services.

If you would like more information on how our donations are spent, we encourage you to look up Veterans Leadership Program on Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and Great Nonprofits.

3. Network with veterans and influential members of the community
Our two-hour cocktail and hor d’oeuvres reception invites attendees to mingle and discuss their connection to the veteran community in the grand Carnegie Museum Music Hall Foyer, which boasts a soaring 50 foot ceiling of gilded baroque décor, supported by pillars of marble from five different countries. This is a great time for businesses, veteran service organizations, elected officials and small businesses to learn more about each other and the resources available, make valuable connections and spread awareness of their own organizations throughout the crowd. Most importantly, perhaps, is the opportunity to interact with veterans and contribute to a dialogue that could lead to positive and effective changes for veterans.

4. Well-deserved awards and entertainment
Sponsoring A Tribute to Veterans is a great opportunity to see who has made a positive impact on the veteran community over the last year. Your sponsorship and presence at A Tribute to Veterans will give you the chance to meet the honorees and their organization members to get a unique view of our efforts!

We will also be joined by an incredible list of presenters and entertainers. Joining us this year as our Tribute chair will be Jessica L. Garfola Wright who served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness until her retirement in April 2015. Mrs. Wright has a distinguished 35-year career of military service and retired as a Major General.

We are delighted to welcome back Ken Carlson as our emcee. Ken is a Vietnam combat veteran who led a successful 26-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and was later asked to become a contract employee for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ) for 15 years.

Entertainment for the evening will include Pittsburgh’s own Antoinette. Antoinette’s sound has been compared to that of such greats as Nancy Wilson, Antia Baker, Billie Holiday, and the contemporary smoothness of Sade & Maysa. When you hear Antoinette, you immediately realize that she has a unique sound that is all her own; Adult Contemporary, Soul, R&B, and Smooth Jazz personified. Antoinette will be joining A Tribute to Veterans during our cocktail reception.

Chris Jamison, who you may recognize as one of the finalists from season 7 of NBC’s singing competition “The Voice,” will be joining us to perform during the Tribute program. While on “The Voice,” Chris Jamison’s coach was Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine and he eventually finished third as Pharrell Williams claimed, “Chris Jamison to me was nothing short of magical!” His debut single “Velvet” impressively moved over 77,000 digital downloads during its first-week of release as he eventually racked up over 400,000 sales, making him “one of the best-selling artists in the show’s history.”

5. Kick off the patriotic season
What better way is there to kick off the Memorial Day weekend than to join VLP in honoring veterans who have served our country on the Thursday before Memorial Day? While this event is held to honor and celebrate veterans for their accomplishments, we also take a moment to remember the service members from western Pennsylvania who died serving our country in the War on Terrorism. These brave men and women volunteered to willingly protect our nation and guard our freedom. On the Thursday before Memorial Day, you can join the friends and families of these local heroes in honoring their loved ones.

How can you become a sponsor?
If you would like to sponsor A Tribute to Veterans, please contact our Director of Development, Toshua Jarrett at 412-481-8200 or jarettt@vlpwpa.org. Sponsorship submissions are due by April 29, 2016.