What is a Fisher House?
Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes where military & veterans families can stay free of charge, while a loved one is in the hospital.
84 of these homes are located at military and VA medical centers around the world, however, there are currently NONE in Michigan. Supporting the national Fisher House Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Fisher House Michigan (FHM) aims to change that. Eighteen months after a Fisher House was approved for the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, a second house for Michigan was approved for the Detroit VAMC.
In order to support both the Ann Arbor and Detroit Houses, FHM has set a strategic goal of raising $20,000,000 to pay for total construction costs and also support the Fisher House Manager, who will be assigned by the VA to each facility, with amenities for the Veterans’ families. Michigan is overdue for a Fisher House, and will get its first in Ann Arbor when construction completes in 2020. The Fisher House at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit will follow in time.
These are first-class facilities, beautifully designed and well built. Our military heroes deserve nothing less. Fisher Houses are not financed by the VA but rather by private citizens and corporate donors, who want to give back for the safety, security, freedom and comfort our military provides.
FHM is largely a volunteer organization, with a tiny professional staff. The careful stewardship of each donor dollar has won FHM a Platinum Rating for transparency from Guide Star Charity Rating System. With an annual Veterans story-telling event that draws thousands, and with special fund-raising events all year like the Memorial Day Match in the spring and the Patriots Pledge in the fall, FHM is winning over the hearts and minds of a grateful nation that recognizes the exceptional sacrifice our Active Military and Veterans have made.
It all started because of one man…
Builder, Philanthropist, Patriot
Founder, Fisher House Program
September 26, 1910 -- June 4, 1999
Zachary Fisher was a prominent figure in the New York real estate community and a major philanthropic benefactor for the men and women in the United States Armed Forces, as well as numerous other not-for-profit organizations.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Fisher began working in construction at the age of 16. Shortly thereafter, he and his brothers, Martin and Larry, joined forces to form Fisher Brothers, which has grown into one of the real estate industry’s premier residential and commercial developers, owning more than five million square feet of office space.
From the earliest days of his construction career, Mr. Fisher was a strong supporter of the U.S. Armed Forces. Prevented from active service in World War II due to a leg injury, Mr. Fisher drew on his building skills to assist the U.S. Coastal Service in the construction of coastal fortifications. His patronage of the Armed Forces became an ongoing concern from that time, evolving to occupy increasing amounts of his energies.
In the 1970s, while remaining active in Fisher Brothers, Mr. Fisher’s commitment to both the Armed Forces and other philanthropic causes intensified still further through his leadership role in a number of major projects, including the Intrepid Museum Foundation and the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation.
In 1990, Mr. and Mrs. Fisher began the Fisher House program, dedicating more than $20 million to the construction of comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel. With the establishment of Fisher Houses throughout the United States and in Landstuhl, Germany, the program has provided thousands of lodging days, saving families millions of dollars each year, a service invaluable to these Armed Forces families.
In 1998, Mr. Fisher received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in honor of his wide-ranging contributions on behalf of the young men and women in the US Armed Forces. He also received the Horatio Alger Award, the Volunteer Action Award, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Senior Civilian Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense, as well as the top awards a civilian can receive from each branch of the military.
Separately, Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as Margaret Thatcher and the late Yitzak Rabin, recognized Mr. Fisher for his support of charitable organizations throughout the United States. In December, 1999, President Clinton signed Public Law 106-161 conferring upon Zachary Fisher the status of an honorary veteran in the U.S. Armed Forces. He was recommended for this honor prior to his death on June 4, 1999.
Three words, etched in the marble of Zachary Fisher’s tomb, speak to his legacy: