Military Embedded Systems

Giving Back -- ThanksUSA


March 09, 2021

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Giving Back -- ThanksUSA

Each issue, the editorial staff of Military Embedded Systems will highlight a different charitable organization that benefits the military, veterans, and their families. We are honored to cover the technology that protects those who protect us every day. To back that up, our parent company – OpenSystems Media – will make a donation to every group we showcase on this page.

This issue we are highlighting ThanksUSA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that that provides need-based academic scholarships and pathways to employment for the spouses and children of people serving in the U.S. armed forces. “The mission of ThanksUSA is to provide life-changing opportunities for our military’s children and spouses, increasing their chances at achieving personal and professional goals,” stated Jon Rosa, president and CEO of ThanksUSA.

The organization was launched in 2006 by young sisters Rachel and Kelsi Okun of McLean, Virginia, in honor of a neighbor who had returned from service in Iraq with serious injuries. The girls’ idea began as a national treasure-hunt game based on American history, which encouraged participants to get involved through contributions and activities. Ultimately the organization was named ThanksUSA, short for “Treasure Hunt Aiding Needs of Kids and Spouses of those serving the United States of America.” Since its inception, ThanksUSA has awarded 4,850 scholarships valued at more than $15 million to military families in all 50 states and every branch of the military.

One of the major programs is called Pathways for Patriots, which was expanded in January 2021 in response to enhanced need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the elements of Pathways for Patriots are monthly Pathfinder sessions in which participants hear from professionals about their career field, obstacles, and lessons learned; peer discussions to address financial, emotional, educational, and career issues with significant focus on solutions; counseling offered by experts with questions submitted through social media; a seminar series focused on career development; and career-enrichment/job-recruitment fairs.

For additional information on ThanksUSA, please visit

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