Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Community Mediation Services Awarded $12,000.00 for Work with Veterans

JAMS Foundation awards Community Mediation Services $12,000 for Work with Veterans

Congratulations to Volunteers of America's Community Mediation Services (CMS) and Program Manager Elaine Bourne and for their award of a $12,000 grant from the JAMS Foundation. Each year, JAMS provides multiple simultaneous grants for up to two years to mediation centers working to develop programming in specific designated subject areas. Grant recipients operate as a learning community, providing each other with valuable feedback and mutual support as they work to create programs that are effective and responsive to the populations they serve. The insights gained and new resources developed through these grants will be shared with mediation centers across the U.S. in a continuing effort to benefit the field as a whole.

For CMS, one of the goals of this grant is to help veterans deal with areas of conflict that may have contributed to their homelessness state in the past, preventing them from independent living and community stability.  CMS is working with the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) to increase awareness of the benefits of mediation for veterans and landlords providing housing to this population.  We have developed a three-part effort to change practices: (1) educate MSHA Housing Choice Voucher Program staff, including front-line customer service staff and field personnel (such as inspectors), about conflict resolution and mediation, in their broadest definition to include conflict coaching and self-facilitation, through informational and educational forums; (2) educate landlords and tenants who are veterans in communication, dispute resolution and mediation through informational and educational forums; and (3) offer direct mediation services, including a conflict coaching service, to landlords and tenants who participate in the educational forums.  

From the JAMS Foundation letter to Elaine Bourne, Program Manager for Community Mediation Services: "After an exhaustive review process of your application, the review team has recommended a second year of funding for your work to enhance your connections with Maine State Housing Authority in order to increase awareness of mediation and, in particular, the benefits of mediation for veterans and landlords providing housing to this population. The initial focus will be to serve veterans who are presently receiving state or federal rental assistance, or who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. These efforts seek to provide the military community throughout the State of Maine – active military, veterans, and their families – with applicable services that will aid them in experiencing positive conflict resolution or preserving essential relationships, and advancing the CMP mission to initiate, facilitate and educate for collaborative community relationships to effect positive systemic change." 

This work has been resourced in part through the support of the National Association For Community Mediation (NAFCM) and the JAMS Foundation.

About the JAMS Foundation and NAFCM

The National Association For Community Mediation (NAFCM) supports the work of community mediation by aggregating their wisdom, amplifying their voice, and advancing their critical work by being the voice in policy-making, legislative, professional, and other arenas, and by encouraging the development and sharing of resources for these efforts. To find out more go to

The non-profit JAMS Foundation is the largest private provider of ADR-related grants in the world. Founded in 1979, JAMS and its nearly 300 full time mediators and arbitrators, are responsible for resolving thousands of the world’s most important cases. 

The JAMS Foundation recognizes the vital work of community-based mediation programs and their positive impact on the communities they serve. Local centers across the U.S. offer a wide range of conflict resolution training programs and mediation services, providing safe and supportive settings for addressing the variety of disputes arising in their communities. Their efforts empower neighborhood groups and individuals to effectively manage and resolve their own conflicts, thereby helping to preserve court, police and other public resources.

JAMS, the nation’s premier provider of commercial dispute resolution services, established the non-profit JAMS Foundation to provide financial assistance for conflict resolution initiatives with national and international impact and to share its dispute resolution experience and expertise for the benefit of the public interest.

Funded entirely by contributions from JAMS, JAMS neutrals and employee associates, the Foundation’s mission is to encourage the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), support education at all levels about collaborative processes for resolving differences, promote innovation in conflict resolution, and advance the settlement of conflict worldwide.