The Walmart Foundation has announced grants totaling $2.6 million to organizations working to transition military veterans and their families to civilian life.
The awards from the philanthropic arm of Walmart Stores include $1 million to the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program to open a veteran's employment placement program for spouses and veterans over the age of 40. The program, which places an emphasis on female veterans, seeks to increase early intervention efforts for veterans needing mental health services. The foundation also awarded $1.6 million to Swords to Plowshares for a re-granting initiative aimed at enhancing the capacity of the California Veterans Employment and Training Collaborative and the Texas Veterans Employment and Training Collaborative to innovate employment and training programs. The grant will be re-granted to as many as six organizations in Texas and ten in California.
The company also announced that it has hired 130,828 veterans since announcing its Veterans Welcome Home Commitment in May 2013, which guarantees a job offer to any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran who is within twelve months of active duty. The initial goal was to hire 100,000 veterans by the end of 2018. In May 2015, the company announced that it was raising its target to 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020. The company also changed the eligibility criterion from within twelve months of active duty to any veteran who has been honorably discharged since the announcement of the program in May 2013.
"As a veteran, I know how critical it is for our men and women in uniform to have a strong support structure when transitioning back to civilian life," said Brigadier General Gary Profit (ret.), senior director of military programs for Walmart. "A job is an important part of that transition, and at Walmart, we're proud to use our strengths as one of the nation’s largest employers to be a part of that bridge back home by providing meaningful opportunities for 130,828 veterans, and counting, to use their unique talent and skills. Veterans are among some of our strongest associates, and we are pleased to see the growth and success they have achieved at Walmart."