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Expressing Our Thanks for the Military

May 30, 2013 by Jeff Cathey

As we honor those who have dedicated their lives to our country this Memorial Day, Bank of America is inviting the public to join us in sharing their thanks for all that our service men and women do for our country.

We’re excited to launch the second year of Bank of America’s Express Your Thanks campaign, which invites the public to connect with our military in a fun, easy and meaningful way. Each expression of thanks will generate a $1 donation from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. This year’s goal is to donate up to $1 million split equally between Wounded Warrior Project and Welcome Back Veterans. Participating is simple. Through Veterans Day, share an expression of thanks by visiting bankofamerica.com/troopthanks or posting on Twitter using #troopthanks. We’ll also collect expressions of thanks at select banking centers and select Major League Baseball stadiums.

This effort gives us an opportunity to talk about the challenges service men and women face as they leave the military.  A significant number of veterans are returning home from active duty this year, many with physical or mental setbacks from their service as well as lack of training for jobs in the civilian workforce. It’s important that we raise awareness of these issues so that we can help these outstanding men and women lead better lives as they transition from service.

Bank of America’s commitment to supporting the military began in 1920, and we continue to enhance our efforts through partnerships like the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative (MSI). In spite of their training and experience, young returning veterans have disproportionately higher rates of unemployment than the general population. To find solutions to this challenge, Bank of America committed $1 million to the MSI’s Circles of Excellence to spotlight and support organizations that fulfill the needs of veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Through the program, teams led by distinguished veterans find or create programs that make the greatest impact in the military community, and establish a national leadership model to support our nation’s heroes.

This work is important for us because supporting service members, veterans and their families is not just the right thing to do —it’s good business too. Military personnel bring leadership skills, discipline, and a focus that few others can match, which is why we are on track to hire 2,000 veterans this year. We are proud that nearly 6,000 veterans and reservists work for us today.

Last year, we created the Military Affairs Advisory Group (MAAG) to focus on reintegrating service members into the civilian workforce through education, wellness, employment and housing.  Through MAAG, we’re enhancing our military support through the products and services we provide military customers, as well as partnerships with organizations like the George W. Bush Institute, Wounded Warrior Project and Welcome Bank Veterans. We also work with nonprofits to donate homes to service members and their families, and volunteer our time with nonprofits that address the needs of returning veterans. In fact, it’s our employees that have made these efforts possible – they dedicated 23,000 volunteer hours to more than 200 military nonprofits in 2012.

Bank of America recognizes that our men and women in uniform are this country’s greatest resource. By connecting with communities and national partners like the George W. Bush Institute, we can help strengthen the nation by making sure our service men and women, and their families have the support they deserve.

For more information on Bank of America’s efforts to support our military visit bankofamerica.com/militarysupport.

Jeff Cathey is Senior Military Affairs Executive at Bank of America.