November 10, 2023
Albany, NY

Ahead of Veterans Day, Governor Hochul Unveils New Initiatives and Partnerships for Veterans and Their Families

Ahead of Veterans Day, Governor Hochul Unveils New Initiatives and Partnerships for Veterans and Their Families

Issues Proclamation Recognizing November as Veterans Month in New York State

State Landmarks to Be Lit Green in Honor of Veterans and as Part of Operation Green Light

Governor Kathy Hochul announced new partnerships and grant opportunities that will strengthen protections and support for New York’s veterans and their families for this upcoming Veterans Day. These collaborations exemplify the State’s unwavering commitment to those who have served our State and nation. The Governor also issued a proclamation declaring November as "Veterans Month" across New York State, recognizing and honoring the contributions of New York's veterans and their families. The Governor further directed that 16 state landmarks be illuminated green this evening as part of Operation Green Light, which began in New York State and has spread throughout the country to recognize veterans and service members from all eras of military service.

“Our veterans have given so much to our nation, and it's our duty to ensure they receive the care and recognition they've earned,” Governor Hochul said. “These partnerships and programs are a testament to New York's continued dedication to our heroes who serve both at home and abroad."

New York State Department of Veterans' Services Commissioner Viviana DeCohen said, "These partnerships and initiatives represent our deep commitment to the veterans of New York. Together, we strive to honor their sacrifices and provide them with the support and resources they deserve."

Second Round of Veterans Non-Profit Capital Program
The Veterans Nonprofit Capital Grant Program overseen by the New York State Department of Veterans' Services and administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, is a vital initiative dedicated to enhancing and enabling critical upgrades to the facilities of veterans organizations across the state. Following a successful first round with over $2.5 million distributed, an additional $2.4 million will be available through a second round of applications. In this second round of funding, which will open for applications on November 29, 2023, selected organizations will receive reimbursement for costs related to capital improvements, with awards ranging from $25,000 to $75,000. This invaluable support will enable these organizations to make critical upgrades, including new roofs, ADA-compliant enhancements, and renovations to common areas and kitchens. A live presentation to provide interested organizations with information about how to prepare to apply for this funding opportunity will be held on Friday, November 17 at 12:00 PM. Information about how to join the meeting can be found on the DVS homepage, and a recording of the presentation will be made available on the DVS website after it concludes.

Veterans Memorial Registry Launch
Governor Hochul announced that the Department of Veterans' Services has launched the new Veterans Memorial Registry website. Established through legislation signed by Governor Hochul on Veterans Day 2022, the registry will provide comprehensive information on veterans' memorials located throughout the state, including details regarding the location of each memorial and which veteran or battle the memorial is honoring. This initiative not only pays tribute to the sacrifices of our veterans but also serves as a vital educational resource for present and future generations, allowing them to understand the profound impact these memorials, and the veterans and historical events they represent, continue to have within our communities. The database being launched allows communities around the state to submit information about monuments to be included in the database. Local county executives and municipalities are encouraged to submit monuments in their communities on the DVS website.

Movies Across the State: Engaging Communities, Celebrating Veterans
As part of Veterans Month, the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) has created an initiative called “Movies Across the State,” bringing impactful movie screenings to communities across New York.

Screenings are scheduled in the following areas:

These events aim to foster a deeper understanding of the Veteran experience and build a stronger sense of community. Veterans Benefits Advisors will be on site to help Veterans and their families. These screenings are all free and open to the public, though registration is encouraged. To find out more about the screenings happening near you, visit DVS's events page here.

Operation Cookie Drop with Girl Scouts
For years, the Girl Scouts of Heart of the Hudson Council and DVS have joined forces for Operation Cookie Drop. Since its inception in 2002, this initiative has delivered over 1.5 million boxes of cookies to servicemembers and veterans across the nation. Through their partnership with DVS, over 13,000 cookies have found their way to those in need throughout New York State. These treats act as an important icebreaker during outreaches and are available in DVS offices, offering a little extra support when needed. The Department looks forward to the continued success of this collaboration in the coming year with thousands more cookies to be distributed.

The Girl Scouts in Heart of the Hudson Council Volunteer Coordinator Alison Bergman said, "For over two decades, the Girl Scouts in Heart of the Hudson Council have proudly contributed over 1.5 million boxes of cookies to our servicemembers and veterans through Operation Cookie Drop. This effort, made possible by residents, expresses gratitude for the freedom and safety our military upholds. We are privileged to support veterans through statewide programs, thanks to our partnership with the New York State Department of Veterans' Services and look forward to another year of collaboration."

Bombas Partnership
As part of Veterans Month, the Governor also announced the continuation of DVS's collaboration with Bombas, the comfort-focused sock and apparel brand with a mission to help those facing homelessness, DVS has already distributed 15,000 pairs of socks to those facing housing insecurity within the past year alone. Building upon this achievement, Bombas has pledged a donation of an additional 5,000 pairs of socks for distribution to New York's veterans to help ensure their essential needs are met. This ongoing partnership exemplifies our shared commitment to supporting and honoring the brave individuals who have served our nation.

Bombas Vice President of Giving Kelly Cobb said, “We're grateful for our continued partnership with New York State's Department of Veterans' Services, supporting those who have dedicated their lives to serving us. We look forward to continuing our work together, helping to get new, comfortable socks on the feet of those who need them most.”

Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project
For the first time ever, DVS is joining forces with Carnegie Hall to collaborate on an exciting new initiative: an opportunity for service members, veterans, and their families to work with professional songwriters in crafting and recording an original lullaby for their child. This new partnership marks Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project’s first-ever focus on the Military and Veteran population in New York State. The Lullaby Project connects parents and caregivers with professionals who write and sing lullabies for their children, helping to support parental health, assisting in healthy childhood development, and strengthening bonds between parents and children. This is particularly important for many military families in which at least one parent may be separated from their young children due to their military service.

Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute Chief Education Officer and Director Sarah Johnson said, “We are excited to welcome NYS Department of Veterans’ Services to the Lullaby Project’s network of community partners. Over the past twelve years, we’ve witnessed the Lullaby Project’s meaningful impact on caregivers and family well-being. Writing a lullaby is a chance for parents and caregivers to express their hopes and dreams for their children, connect more deeply, and support early childhood development. We’re very thankful that the NYS Department of Veterans’ Services offers this opportunity to their families.”

Through this collaboration between the Lullaby Project and DVS, service members, veterans, and military families of children up to the age of two, as well as families who are expecting the upcoming birth of a child, will be able to create an original lullaby in whatever genre, style, and language they desire through the guidance of the highly tenured professionals on the Carnegie Hall team who have generously provided this opportunity. Individualized songwriting sessions will commence this month and will continue for the upcoming months to ensure that all interested families will be able to participate. In April 2024, interested families will have the opportunity for their newly created lullabies to be showcased as part of DVS’s Month of the Military Child celebrations.

State Landmarks Illuminate in Green for Operation Green Light
Governor Hochul also announced that New York State landmarks will be lit green, November 11, 2023, to mark Veterans Day.
This landmark lighting is part of Operation Green Light, a statewide initiative that began in New York State and has spread throughout the country. This campaign is meant to be a visible representation of support for all eras of military service in the form of green light. New York's ongoing support is symbolized by illuminating landmarks across the State in green, a poignant gesture honoring the courage and sacrifices of all generations of veterans.

Albany County Executive and NYSAC President the Honorable Dan McCoy said, “We’re honored to once again have our partners at the state join counties in spreading this symbol of hope and support for veterans across the New York state,” said NYSAC President Daniel P. McCoy, a Master Sargent in the New York Army National Guard. McCoy served in the United States Army and was deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006. “By lighting buildings, bridges and other landmarks green, New York’s state and local governments not only show support to our vets but also shine a light on the vital work that our local Veteran Service Offices provide. In collaboration with the state’s Department of Veterans’ Services, our county Veterans Service Offices ensure veterans around the state receive the benefits they’ve earned and get connected with programs and services to address the unique needs of veterans.”

These 16 landmarks and bridges will be illuminated in green as part of Operation Green Light, recognizing the unwavering service of veterans and service members:

  • One World Trade Center
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • Lake Placid Olympic Center
  • MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
  • Moynihan Train Hall
  • Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

About the Department of Veterans' Services
The New York State Department of Veterans' Services, which has served as the state's advocacy agency for veterans, service members, and military families since 1945, maintains an agencywide commitment of serving all veterans, service members, and military families in a wide range of practice areas, including claims and appeals for benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, discharge upgrade appeals to the United States Department of Defense, and claims for New York State benefits. Veterans, service members, and military families are encouraged to contact the Department at 888-838-7697 or its website to meet — in person or virtually — with an accredited Veterans Benefits Advisor to address their needs and gain the full measure of benefits that they have earned. Follow DVS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
New York City: (212) 681-4640