The Veterans Initiative

Click to purchase Veterans Initiative Blend coffee from Furnace Hills! A portion of proceeds benefit the Veterans Initiative!


In 2018, we are committed to bringing 30 veterans on one-week full scholarships.


Coming Home  

Veterans face as many challenges upon returning home as they do in the field of battle. They also possess myriad skills and leadership qualities that our nation needs, and their experiences offer an opportunity to broaden the dialogue about critical issues here on the home front, and to enrich all of our lives.

After bravely answering the call of duty, too many veterans are lost in the physical, financial and psychological struggles that await them upon return. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide are epidemic, and returning to a "normal" life is a long term process. Some never truly make it home.


The Common Ground on the Hill Veterans Initiative

Marine Veteran Josh Hisle on CNN

Finding Renewal

In 2012, Common Ground on the Hill launched its Veterans Initiative, providing full scholarships for ten veterans to attend the Traditions Weeks summer workshops at McDaniel College in Maryland. The experience was transformative. Both veterans and civilians thrived in an environment of mutual respect and sharing, engaging in an essential and difficult dialogue.

The Common Ground on the Hill Veterans Initiative seeks to provide a safe space for veterans to grow and to share, to process their experiences and teach others, while gaining a new perspective from their peers at the summer workshops. It's difficult to explain the transformative effect of Common Ground on the Hill unless you have experienced it. But the veterans who participated in our inaugural year of the Common Ground Veterans Initiative spoke of nothing less than a life-changing impact.

Sponsor a Veteran

The cost of a scholarship for a veteran for a week of workshops is $1,000. Make your tax-deductible donation today HERE


"I just want to thank you all, for saving my life."
- Josh Hisle, USMC

"What I've already experienced here, if we could give that to other veterans, that's a gift to the world."
- Scott Blakley, USMC

"I felt very alone with my ideas about the war. I am not alone now I realize. There are others who feel as I feel and I can talk to them."
- Frank Morales, U.S. Army

"I want to mentor two vets next year and help with expanding the process of new Veterans experiencing CGOTH."
- Travis Elfgren, USMC

"I felt Invisible for so long, I haven't made new friends in years, especially since I came back the last time. I don't go out, I stay to myself a lot. Since CGOTH Vet week I now realize I can talk to people and make non-vet and new vet friends. Needed to come out from behind my wall"
- Michael Lemke, U.S. Army


"On the surface, Common Ground on the Hill is a 1-2 week program of immersion into traditional arts and opportunities to listen and discuss current social and environmental issues that challenge us. At its core, it is a mind-altering experience. I am ever so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in CGOTH for the last 5 years, particularly this year, when I joined a class with a group of veterans led by Josh Hisle in an effort to focus on the lives and specific challenges vets face as they return from combat. The veterans receive scholarships to attend Common Ground, where the traditional arts serve as a voice for them to convey thoughts and emotions that are too often marginalized by society. I am grateful to these heroes for sharing their opinions and experiences, difficult as they may have been to express."
- Brenda Anna, Common Ground on the Hill Traditions Week participant
Make your tax-deductible donation today HERE

To apply for a scholarship, click HERE.

About Common Ground on the Hill

Since 1994, Common Ground on the Hill has gathered a multicultural community of musicians, artists, writers, lecturers, actors, and dancers, sharing skills and experience with one another. The mission is to improve ourselves, our communities and our world as we meet, share and celebrate our arts and cultures on "common ground." Common Ground on the Hill is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.


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