In 2014, ASAP Founder Sam Pressler envisioned a supportive community where veterans could build skills, find purpose, discover belonging, and thrive through the arts. The following year, Sam received the Echoing Green Fellowship and $80,000 to launch ASAP as a nonprofit. Only 38 organizations were selected for the award out of 3,500 applicants and ASAP was the first veterans organization to receive funding from Echoing Green.
Since then, we have expanded our programs, grown our staff and Board, and built a sustainable revenue model. To date, more than 1,500 veterans, service members, military family members, and caregivers have participated in more than 400 ASAP classes and workshops. Our participants have delivered over 250 performances – including shows at The White House under President Obama, at the renowned Gotham Comedy Club in NYC, for President Jimmy Carter, and with John Oliver. Our alumni have performed for more than 150,000 people.
Recognitions we have received include the “One of the Best” nonprofits award from The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington DC and the Newman’s Own Award for being one of the most innovative organizations serving veterans in the U.S. Other recognitions, including national press, are listed at asapvets.tempurl.host/recognitions.
In 2019, ASAP transitioned to new leadership and appointed Brian Jenkins as ASAP’s Executive Director. Under Brian’s leadership, ASAP has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic while increasing the annual number of veterans served by 47%, growing ASAP’s revenue by 35%, and expanding the program from two cities to four.
In seven years, we have demonstrated our ability to create a lasting impact on veterans’ lives in the DC metro area — forging purpose, building community, and fostering well-being through the arts. By supporting ASAP, the Cafritz Foundation ensures hundreds of veterans across the Washington, DC metropolitan area have the opportunity to thrive through community and the arts.