Project Healing Waters (PHW) is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Maryland that is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of injured and disabled military service personnel and disabled Veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings. With 183 Programs nationwide, the programs provides basic fly fishing, fly casting, fly tying and rod building classes, along with clinics participants ranging from beginners who have never fished before, to those with prior fly fishing and tying experience who are adapting their skills to their new abilities. All fly fishing and tying equipment is provided to the participants at no cost. Fishing trips, both one day, and multi-day are also provided free of charge to participants. It is much more than a one-time fishing trip. Project Healing Waters (PHW) began in 2005 serving wounded military service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then, PHW has expanded nationwide, establishing its highly successful program in Department of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition Units, and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and clinics. PHW is unique in that our volunteers are teaching classes on an on-going, long-term basis. It is much more than a one-day fishing trip. For many participants, the socialization and camaraderie of the classes are just as important as the fishing outings and provide them a new activity.
The Project Healing Waters program provides basic fly fishing, fly casting, fly tying, and rod building classes, along with clinics for participants ranging from beginners who have never fished before to those with prior fly fishing and tying experience who are adapting their skills to their new abilities. All fly fishing and tying equipment is provided to the participants at no cost. Fishing trips, both one-day and multi-day, are also provided free of charge to participants. PHW is unique in that our volunteers are teaching classes on an ongoing, long-term basis. It is much more than a one-day fishing trip. For many participants, the socialization and camaraderie of the classes are just as important as the fishing outings, and provide them a new activity.
PHW relies on the generosity of individuals as well as private and corporate donors. PHW also solicits foundation grants and government funding. After a thorough vetting process, PHW is part of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #82526).
All fly fishing and tying equipment is provided to the participants at no cost. Fishing trips, both one-day and multi-day, are also provided free of charge to participants.
Yes, PHW is a 501c3 nonprofit.
PHW Participants are defined as the individuals receiving the benefits of PHW program activities (e.g. Fly Fishing 101 classes, casting instruction, fly tying classes, rod building classes, and fishing outings, etc.) on an ongoing basis. PHW Participants can be Military Service personnel (i.e., Active or Reserve Component, including Reserve and National Guard) or Veterans who meet our eligibility requirements:
(1) Military Service Personnel must meet both of the following criteria:
(a) Is a service member who has been wounded, ill, diseased, injured or obtained a medical condition during their active military service in line of duty. “In line of duty” means a wound, illness, disease, injury or medical condition was incurred during a period of active military service that was not result of the military service member’s own willful misconduct.
(b) Is recommended to take part in the PHW program by their military health care provider (e.g., military transition unit cadre, doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, etc.) at a Department of Defense (DOD) Hospital, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility, Military Transition Unit (e.g., Warrior Transition Unit, Wounded Warrior Battalion, etc.) or other military designated health care provider as requiring on-going medical treatment that eventually will lead to a disability. Please note that patients currently receiving treatment for any medical condition at any of these facilities that, in the opinion of their medical health provider, will not result in a disability rating are welcome to attend PHW activities while they are receiving treatment, will be counted as a participant while receiving treatment but are not eligible to be participants after treatment ends.
(2) Veterans must meet at least one of the following criteria:
(a) Is a disabled veteran with a disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
(b) Is recommended to take part in your PHW program by VA staff, if granted referral authority by local VA leadership (e.g. OIF/OEF Coordinator), or VA medical personnel (e.g., recreational therapist, doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist etc.) at a VA facility (e.g., VA Medical Center, VA Outpatient Clinic, or VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, etc.).
(c) Has a Military Service rating and is awaiting their disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Note that a military Service rating is interim proof of eligibility with the understanding that disability rating will be issued.
In 2023 alone, we served 6,056 injured and disabled military service personnel and Veterans nationwide.
PHW serves wounded and disabled active military service members and Veterans from all military branches and service eras that meet our requirements for participation in PHW.
We are an independent veteran service organization and nonprofit. Many of our highly successful PHW programs hold classes and opportunities at Department of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition Units, and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and clinics throughout the United States. Our list of programs by state can be found here.
PHW is much more than a one-time fishing outing. We strive to serve those who have made great sacrifices in their service to our great nation through offering ongoing, year-round support, classes and outings.
PHW works hard to keep our administrative and fundraising costs associated with the operation of PHW as low as possible. Per our 2022 annual audited financial statements, 80% of total expenses went to programmatic support for PHW participants. To view our prior financial statements and annual reports, please click here.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing has 183 Programs located throughout the United States. (click here to see an interactive map and contact info)
There is no application to fill out. However, all individuals who want to participate in PHW must meet our organization’s participant eligibility requirements. Please refer to Question 1 on eligibility requirements. Individuals that meet our participation requirements can connect with the nearest PHW Program to them by filling out the contact form on this website or emailing FieldSupportAdmin@ProjectHealingWaters.org.
In order to attend a fishing trip with PHW, Veterans must first get connected with their local PHW program where they’ll learn the basics of fly fishing. Click here to find the nearest PHW program. After learning the basics of fly fishing at your local PHW program there will be many opportunities to attend local fishing outings. With continued involvement and participation at the local PHW program level, there will potentially be opportunities for you to attend fly fishing outings outside your area.
All PHW programs must be sponsored by a fly fishing club who signs a Memorandum of Agreement between the club and PHWFF. This club provides the volunteer support to run the program. In addition, it is recommended you identify a medical facility that will support you with recruiting Veterans and active military service personnel in need. To learn more about starting a program, please email FieldSupportAdmin@ProjectHealingWaters.org.
Visit our calendar of upcoming events (click here).
Additional information is available here. Or, contact us! We’d be happy to answer any additional questions you may have about our organization, its history, scope, and impact.
Donations are always appreciated, no matter the amount, and can be made numerous ways. Checks can be mailed to PHW at P.O. Box 695, La Plata, MD 20646 or online through Classy (click here to do so). Donations can also be made in honor or in memory of someone. To do so, please indicate who the donation is in remembrance or recognition of either on your check or when donating online. Please also indicate whether you would like us to send an acknowledgement to the family members and provide their contact information when making your donation.
Any questions can be directed to Donate@ProjectHealingWaters.org.
Please contact us here.
Click here to find the PHW Program nearest to you and contact the local Program Lead to learn about how you can help in your community.