The Coast Guard Foundation's guiding principle is to help the men and women of the Coast Guard excel on or off duty. We take a three-pronged approach to our efforts: education, support and relief. Our work is evident through tangible efforts like the community playgrounds we've built on Coast Guard bases around the country, or calling cards we donate to cutter crews who are away at sea for weeks at a time so they can stay in touch with their families. Other times the Foundation's support is intangible, like helping make the dream of college come true for the child of an enlisted member.
The Foundation supports Coast Guard members and their families through a number of scholarships and grants for higher education. Grants for enlisted personnel cover expenses not covered by the G.I. bill or the Coast Guard's tuition assistance programs, items such as textbooks, lab fees and calculators. Our scholarships are one of the most popular programs we have. The students who benefit from these funds are high-achieving individuals with strong character and leadership skills.
Serving the future leaders of the Coast Guard is a key initiative for the Foundation, as well. That's why we donate more than $1 million to the Coast Guard Academy annually in support of academic enrichment, leadership development programs and athletics. The Academy is a top-tier educational institution, and the Foundation's robust support allows it to maintain its competitive edge when recruiting students.
Supporting margin-of-excellence programs that benefit the men and women on the front lines of the Coast Guard helps ensure these dedicated individuals have opportunities for education, health and wellness activities off duty, so they can excel on duty. In cooperation with the Vice Commandant's office, the Foundation has identified a needs list to make our donations as effective as possible. These margin-of-excellence programs may be something as simple as a set of mountain bikes donated to a station in Hawaii, or something more technical like computer software for a cutter crew to learn critical foreign languages so they can better perform their duties. These types of projects are provided for with the Foundation's Shipmate Fund.
In times of need, the Coast Guard Foundation acts as a lifeline to active duty personnel. When a family is faced with the unthinkable loss of a loved one in the line of duty, the Foundation steps in and provides immediate financial relief, whether it's a care package, or paying for an airline ticket for a family member to attend her loved one's memorial service. Through these services, the Foundation is always focused on bettering the lives of those who serve in the Coast Guard every day. The Foundation has multiple funds that benefit families in the wake of tragedies, including the Family Disaster Relief Fund, and The Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund.