History of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund:
The Fund was established by the General Assembly of 1919 to recognize the sacrifices and heroism displayed by Connecticut's sons and daughters during "The Great War" (World War I). $2,400,000 had been allocated to recognize the contributions of returning veterans. Debate was spirited as to how the funds should be utilized so as to do the most good. The payment of individual bonuses to veterans was considered. After lengthy debate, however, the General Assembly decided that the money would be set aside in trust, with the interest, after investment of the funds, to be used for the benefit of needy veterans and their families. The legislation, Public Act 336 of the Session Laws of 1919, was the genesis of the Fund.
The legislation designated The American Legion as the administrative agency which was to have responsibility for the activities of the Soldiers' Sailors' and Marines' Fund.
In 1937, the funds were placed in the custody of the State Investment Committee. As World War II came to a close, a $15,000,000 ceiling was established for the Fund, with the additional money to be funded from a tax on cigarettes. Funding from this source continued until 1962, at which time it was eliminated. Over the years the ceiling of the Trust Fund has been increased to current levels. Growth has resulted from reinvestment of unused funds and from growth in equity.
The partnership between The American Legion and the State of Connecticut in serving Connecticut's veterans is unique in the nation and has achieved remarkable results. There have been ten Administrators of the Fund since its inception in 1919, and each has served concurrently as Department Treasurer of The American Legion. The majority of the Fund Representatives in the municipalities are volunteer members of The American Legion.
Volunteer hours make up a significant portion of the time resources necessary to keep the Fund functioning. Such efforts allow the Fund to expend more of its financial resources to benefit veterans than would otherwise be the case.
The partnership between The American Legion and The State of Connecticut is one that has addressed the pressing needs of Connecticut's veterans and alleviated suffering since 1919. The citizens, veterans and Legionnaires of Connecticut are justifiably proud of this continuing legacy.