The VFW was first formed in 1914 from the merger of two prior veterans organizations which both arose in 1899: the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines. The former was formed for veterans of the Spanish-American War, while the latter was formed for veterans of the Philippine-American War. The VFW became a government-chartered non-profit organization by an act of the United States Congress on May 28, 1936; as such, it receives no funding from United States tax receipts and is supported by charitable donations. The first VFW was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1899.
The VFW works on behalf of American veterans by lobbying Congress for better veterans’ health care and benefits. The VFW also maintains a nationwide organization of employees and volunteers to assist veterans with their VA disability claims.
The VFW also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of hours for community service.