Five & Thrive Seeks to Expand Services in Support of All Branches of the U.S. Military

Five & Thrive Seeks to Expand Services in Support of All Branches of the U.S. Military
Press Release

For Immediate Release
For additional information contact:
Eugenia Gardner, 202.390.0405

Five & Thrive

Five & Thrive Seeks to Expand Services in Support of All Branches of the U.S. Military

Announces Partnership with National Defense University Foundation to Support Military and Civilian Total Force

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 6, 2023 - Five & Thrive announces its expansion and collaboration with the National Defense University Foundation (NDU Foundation) to support all branches of military service to improve their quality of life. In 2021, a grassroots team of Air Force spouse volunteers, championed by Sharene Brown, created the Five & Thrive initiative to initially focus on the top five quality-of-life challenges Air Force families face. Based on its success and positive impact, Five & Thrive is forming a non-profit organization that will expand its strategic efforts to support all six military service branches, including Guard, Reserve, and Civilian components.

“Five & Thrive addresses the challenges of childcare, education, healthcare, housing, and spouse employment. These issues directly affect military recruitment, readiness, resilience, and retention, which in turn impacts mission execution,” said Brown. As the spouse of General CQ Brown Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Brown also announced that she will continue to volunteer in an advisory role with Five & Thrive as it grows into its next phase and will champion efforts across the joint force for spouses and community partners. Organizational leadership will evolve to include representatives from all six service branches.

Five & Thrive’s planned formalization and expansion is an intentional strategic initiative to support military families across the joint force. The collaboration with the National Defense University Foundation enables Five & Thrive to reach military and diplomatic leaders and their spouses through existing non-partisan partnerships and resources.

Five & Thrive’s program expansion focuses on five lines of effort:

  • Consolidate quality of life (QoL) resources in a one-stop shop
  • Educate military families on existing QoL efforts and best practices
  • Advocate for QoL improvements
  • Foster community partnerships
  • Promote the exceptional value of the military spouse

The National Defense University Foundation supports academic and professional development programs for senior military and diplomatic leaders attending the National Defense University (NDU). The Foundation was founded to provide additional support and funding for NDU in its work to prepare civilian and military professionals from the U.S. and over 75 allied countries to serve as tomorrow's decision-makers and policymakers at the senior leader levels of command in the military, government, and key industry sectors.

“The NDU Foundation is uniquely positioned to support Five & Thrive as we transition from a volunteer initiative to a non-profit organization and expand our military family support to all services. Given that NDU Foundation supports a senior service university that engages all six service branches of the military, this seemed like the perfect partner to work with as we grow our efforts and continue to educate spouses and military leaders on vital quality of life considerations,” said Marian Wilcox, Program Director and co-founder of Five & Thrive. “We recognize the commitment and strength of military families as essential to the recruitment, retention, and readiness of our Armed Forces.”

“These areas represent the issues our students and their families grapple with as they lead and command service members and global military operations and as spouses support QoL for families across the joint force,” said NDU Foundation president James Schmeling. “Our collaboration positions both organizations to take a whole government approach to military quality of life issues and initiatives."

The collaboration with Five & Thrive also expands the NDU Foundation's spouse-focused work, which has addressed supporting military spouses. This partnership creates a strategic advantage and extensive expertise for spouse and family QoL awareness and initiatives. Spouses form long-term connections at NDU, and their introduction to Five & Thrive resources before their next assignments will support them and those they connect with after leaving NDU.