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Veteran Led Organization Providing Academic Support to Gold Star Families

Updated: Aug 12, 2022

David Kim, founder of Children of Fallen Patriots, was inspired to create the scholarship-giving organization to take care of the families of fallen soldiers.

Kim was deployed to Panama in 1989, just one year after graduating from West Point. On the first night of Operation Just Cause, a member of his battalion, Sgt. William Delaney Gibbs, was shot and killed. Gibbs’ wife was pregnant with a daughter. “That’s what stuck with me,” Kim said. “I was going to take care of that little girl — and thousands of kids like her.”

After leaving the Army, Kim went to Harvard Business School and then started a career in finance, keeping in touch with the Gibbs family throughout.

David Kim
David Kim

In 2001, Kim created Children of Fallen Patriots to give back to Gold Star families and children who lost their parents in their service through providing grants and academic scholarships.

Children of Fallen Patriots Invests in Students’ Futures

Veterans survivor benefits provide up to $26,000 per year in tuition in addition to a housing stipend and $1,000 for supplies. However, research has found that these benefits fall short by about $25,000 per student. Children of Fallen Patriots seeks to fill some of that gap, providing up to $6,250 annually in academic aid for individual students whose parents passed during their time of service.

A study found that for every dollar CFP has invested in students, their lifetime earnings have increased significantly. Additionally, many scholarship and grant recipients have gone on to work with CFP’s partners and at CFP itself, with half of the organization’s staff consisting of grant recipients.

In 2021, Children of Fallen Patriots raised over $11 million in donations, paying out $6.5 million in aid to students. Since starting in 2001, they have given over $50 million in scholarships to over 2,200 students and over 11,000 have received grants or educational counseling from CFP.

As they seek to help as many people as possible, finding Gold Star families in need of grants has been difficult for CFP, as there is no central list of Gold Star families to reach out to. However, CFP has a partnership with the VA in which the VA shares CFP’s information with those who may qualify.

“Nobody knows exactly how many [Gold Star families] there are, but we want to be the first to find them all,” Kim told Military Times in a recent interview.

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