Walmart Foundation Makes $750,000 Pledge To Help Young Texas Veterans
Grant creates new statewide job program for unemployed veterans age 34 and younger
AUSTIN, Texas, April 15, 2013 — Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Texas Representative JosÚ MenÚndez joined Walmart executives as the Walmart Foundation proudly awarded a $750,000 grant to the American GI Forum National (AGIF) Monday, April 15 on the South Steps of the Texas State Capitol. AGIF will use the Walmart Foundation grant to establish a new TX-VET program to focus on helping Texas veterans, age 34 years old and under, who are unemployed or underemployed.
"This is a remarkable commitment by the Walmart Foundation to honor the brave Texas men and women who have sacrificed so much for all of us," Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Chair, Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations said. "We thank the Walmart Foundation and the American GI Forum for being so proactive and responding to the growing need of helping our veterans find jobs."
AGIF is a Texas-based nonprofit organization founded in 1948 that provides veterans returning from conflict with services such as employment, job training, affordable housing, counseling and social services. It is estimated there are 240,000 post-9/11 unemployed veterans and more than one million additional service members who will return to civilian life by 2016. The highest unemployment rates are for veterans under 34 who served among the enlisted.
"The TX-VET program is a great response to the problem of high unemployment rates of our younger veterans as they return home. So many Texas communities with large concentrations of veterans will greatly benefit from this Walmart Foundation donation," Rep. JosÚ MenÚndez, the Chair of the House Committee on Defense and Veterans' Affairs said. "Our committee works with veterans and support groups across the state, and finding meaningful employment for these young men and women after they leave the service is one of their highest priorities."
The AGIF's National Veterans Outreach Program intends to expand veteran service operations in four field sites it currently operates in San Antonio, Houston, Ft. Worth and El Paso. In addition a new field site will be established in Killeen, Texas. In all, more than 700 Texas veterans will be assessed during the first year of the new TX-VET program.
"We are so grateful that the Walmart Foundation recognizes the need to assist our veterans as they return from conflict," American GI Forum President and CEO Carlos Martinez said. "This donation will change many lives and will allow us to help unemployed, underemployed and homeless veterans integrate back into society and develop the skills needed for success outside of the military."
Today's Walmart Foundation grant to the AGIF aligns with Walmart's overall commitment to our military and long-standing history of supporting our nation's veterans. Walmart is the largest private employer of veterans. Beginning Memorial Day 2013, Walmart will offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran within his or her first 12 months off active duty. The company projects to hire more than 100,000 veterans over the next five years.
"Today's announcement is personal for me. As a Desert Storm veteran with the Marine Corps, I know first hand what it's like to transition back to civilian life and the challenges that can bring." San Antonio Market Manager Nick Salazar said. "The Walmart Foundation's grant to AGIF will help veterans like me get the services they need to reenter the workforce."
The ceremony included a presentation of the colors by the Akins High School JROTC program and the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" by San Antonio native and Gulf War veteran, Jeffrey Charles.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief and Nutrition, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women's Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than one billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart's giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.