Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Donates $100,000 to VFW Foundation’s Voice of Democracy Student Essay Contest

'To secure, manage and distribute resources to support veterans, active duty personnel, Guard and Reserve, their families and communities.'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Foundation announced today that it has received a $100,000 gift from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in support of its Voice of Democracy student essay contest.

Each year more than 65,000 U.S. students (grades 9-12) from public, private, parochial and home schools, research write and record an essay based on a patriotic theme. 

Winners advance from their local geographic areas to state then national levels, all the while earning money for educational scholarships. The national winner is awarded a $30,000 prize. 

Currently, 70,000 teachers/counselors receive informational materials relating to the Voice of Democracy program. 

The donation from the Bradley Foundation will be used to increase distribution to approximately 350,000 teachers and school counselors across the United States, thereby dramatically expanding student participation in the scholarship contest.

Daniel M. Shea, the Executive Director of the VFW Foundation, stated: “We are extremely grateful for the Bradley Foundation’s commitment to our nations’ youth. 

Their generosity will allow us to reach thousands of more American school children, thus providing them an opportunity to become involved in the VFW’s Voice of Democracy program and will ultimately lead them to a better understanding of democracy and a lifetime of responsible citizenship.”

“We are proud to be involved with such a worthwhile program. Our Foundation strongly supports activities to educate youth in such worthwhile principles” said Daniel P. Schmidt, the Bradley Foundation’s Director of Program. 

“Our involvement emphasizes that the Bradley Foundation is committed to education, especially civics and history curriculums,” he added. 

The VFW Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the official charity of its parent organization, the VFW (America’s oldest major combat veterans group). 

Its mission is to support non-political programs that secure, manage and distribute resources to improve the lives of veterans, military service personnel, their families and communities. Please visit, for more information.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Its grants support research and educational projects, programs, and other activities that effectively further the founding Bradley brothers' philanthropic intent and honor their legacy. More information can be found at