Guest Post By: Cissy Marcionette
What exactly is “Corporate Citizenship” You Ask?
The concept of corporate citizenship, which is also known as corporate social responsibility, proposes that businesses have a responsibility to the community in which they operate and to society in general. Typically, corporate citizenship includes several areas of responsibility, such as economic, legal, ethical, philanthropic, and environmental areas.
So you ask… What does this have to do with our Veterans? Plenty! There has been a huge push in recent years to encourage businesses to link up with non-profits, in a cohesive endeavor which not only gives businesses the appearance of a “Kinder, Gentler face” … but also lends to a more responsible image when interacting with not only the community, but with their stockholders and stakeholders as well.
“Corporate Citizenship”: Home Depot Foundation Meets Building Homes for Heroes… Great Example!
Home Depot Foundation
Today’s Veterans and their families face enormous challenges which are sometimes aggravated even further by such things as unemployment, age and service-related disabilities. However, since 2011 the Home Depot Foundation, along with their long list of partners, have been raising money, building homes, giving comfort and yes… even entertaining our Vets with events that sometimes include things like evenings stacked with great bands and good BBQ to boot. (Of course these bands and restaurants also support our great Veterans… So many people, businesses and organizations are just trying to give back to those who have given so much!)
Home Depot Foundation has many partners, such as:
- The American Red Cross– Providing food and emotional support during disasters.
- Habitat for Humanity– A program that provides Habitat affiliates with the resources
to help Veterans and their families repair their homes.
- Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors– Supports Veterans and their families by building and repairing handicap accessible homes.
- National Coalition for Homeless Veterans– The NCHV is the country’s leading authority on dealing with Veterans homeless issues.
- Operation Homefront– Provides Veterans and their families with emergency financial aid, as well as other types of assistance.
- Semper Fi Fund– Provides immediate financial support and lifetime support for the wounded, the critically ill and the injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.
- Student Veterans of America– Provides Military Veterans with resources and support needed to succeed in obtaining higher education and learning.
These are just a handful of organizations and non-profits that lend a helping hand to our Veterans and their families, by joining forces with Corporate America in order to give hope, balance and purpose back to those that have protected the truths that we defend here at home.
The Home Depot Foundation also has a team of their own! Team Depot is the associates that contribute their time, talents and resources to make a difference. They have already impacted more than 22,000 units of veterans housing and I doubt that they’ll be stopping anytime soon.
In addition to financial contributions, Team Depot is involved in volunteering through the Team Depot volunteer program. These activities can include the following:
- Basic repairs and/or maintenance on facilities.
- Sorting food donations.
- Gardening and landscaping.
- Running campaign drives.
- Deploying a vast array of community organizations, especially out of Home Depot’s Corporate Offices located in Atlanta, GA. These are organizations such as Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, The Metro Atlanta YMCA, The Atlanta Children’s Shelter, Boys & Girls Clubs, Atlanta Botanical Garden and the High Museum of Art.
How Does the Home Depot Foundation Choose Who They Spotlight?
Each month The Home Depot Foundation showcases one of their many partners that support the Veterans causes, just as they do. This “Partner Highlight” each month is referred to as their Veterans Charity Showcase. They also sponsor a contest each month where they take entries, from you, the readers, in the form of a story that you have to share, that has impacted your life, your Veteran, your family…
The Veteran’s story that is chosen as the winner, will have their name submitted for consideration, to be awarded whatever the product, service or financial award is which is provided by that particular charity when showcased that month.
Every month The Home Depot Foundation posts the story of a lucky winner from one of the entries received. The stories are heartwarming and represent the kind of heart and soul that The Home Depot Foundation stands for, which is…
“Giving Life Back to Those That Fought for Ours…”
One of my favorite stories of all went like this…
In April of 2014, we received an entry into our contest from Lisa Deslauriers. She told her story about her husband, Master Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers. Since coming home from Afghanistan, his life has not been his own. He went from surgery to surgery and was looking at the rest of his life in a wheelchair and home bound.
She thought she’d give fate a shot and enter him into the drawing for the chance of being awarded a customized home from Building Homes for Heroes, which was the charity chosen to be showcased that month.
Her story Is not only compelling, it’s a taste of reality which so many of our Veterans experience everyday…
In September of 2011, Master Sgt. Deslauriers, a 1st Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, was mounted in a mine resistance vehicle, conducting a post blast assessment of an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Explosive ordnance disposal specialists are tactical and technical explosive experts, who are trained to destroy and disable unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices and weapons of mass destruction.
In an effort to get a closer look at the damage done by the IED blast, Master Sgt. Deslauriers dismounted and unfortunately stepped on a secondary mine. The explosion that ensued resulted in Master Sgt. Deslauriers losing both legs above the knee, and his left arm at the elbow.
Master Sgt. Deslauriers, who had carried out two tours of duty in Afghanistan and had also served in Iraq, had received not only the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Joint Service and U.S. Air Force Commendation Medal, U.S. Air Force Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, but also the National Defense Service Medal, not to mention a few others that were in his long list of honors that he had received.
This was the way the story went when told by Master Sgt. Deslaurier’s military unit… Lisa, his wife, told it like this:
Please give me, our child and our future a chance at having a life, that is as normal as possible.
My husband has given his life, his limbs, his heart for this country, and would do it all over again, if asked to. Please give him the chance now, to be able to have a life, not bound by a chair, not running into the walls of our home, but a real future.
He has never relied on anyone but himself in life and dependency is not his friend. This is a warrior with the heart of a hunter and the spirit of an American that never shirked his call to duty. Please help make my husband’s life full and rewarding once again. Please enter us into the Building Homes for Heroes Contest, as this is one of America’s best!
Well… The Deslauriers were indeed chosen for a new home, customized and built specifically for Master Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers challenges. After a long year of building, the Deslauriers came “Home”… Take a look for yourself.
Building Homes for Heroes is Proud to Welcome Home
The Deslauriers Family! Master Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers, His Wife Lisa,
Their Son Cameron… All Received a “Heroes Welcome Home!”
One of the attendees at the presentation of the Deslauriers new home said this:
Marcy Fuller from Destin, Fl. said: “I had the honor of being at the homecoming celebration for the Deslauriers family in Destin, Fl. It was one of the most heartwarming and cheerful, while very much tearful moments of my life… Thank You to Building Homes for Heroes, your mission is clear and deeply appreciated by all!”
JPMorgan Chase – Partnering with Building Homes for Heroes
Building Homes for Heroes has recently announced the partnership they have embarked on with JPMorgan Chase Bank. The goal is simply to… provide homes to wounded Veterans, around the country.
In a nutshell… Chase provides the homes to Building Homes for Heroes and in turn they select the families of the severely wounded Veterans from across our country that qualify for this tremendous chance at a life of normalcy.
Chase has pledged to donate 1,000 mortgage-free homes to non-profits like Building Homes for Heroes. In turn, Building Homes for Heroes hopes to provide a minimum of 10 homes to Veterans, each year through this initiative.
For more information, contact Kim.Vesey@BuildingHomesForHeroes.org to begin the application process.
Q&A from the “Home Gallery”:
Questions routinely come into the offices of the foundation, however two of the most inquired about subjects are:
- Question: If we are interested in holding a fundraiser in our community for either the Home Depot Foundation or one of it’s partners, how would we go about doing that?
Answer: Simply call the office at 800-667-8893 and they can direct you to the office and/or charity of your choice. The Home Depot Foundation, as well as it’s partners all have the ability to help you, no matter where you live, in holding a charitable fundraising event.
- Question: Can I volunteer for Building Homes for Heroes Charity?
Answer: Yes you can! Simply email them at:
Information@buildinghomesforheroes.org and they will get back to you promptly regarding this matter.
Thank You for Your Interest in Serving
Those That Have Served Our Country!
We started out today talking about “Corporate Citizenship”…
Now that I have familiarized you with Corporations that link up for the greater good of both companies, such as The Home Depot Foundation and their affiliate, Building Homes for Heroes, you should have a clearer picture as to how this could improve upon the image of businesses across America.
When watching TV, you will start to see commercial ads that are directly wrapped around promoting “Corporate Citizenship”. If I recall, the practice of businesses joining up with non-profits in order to promote that “Kinder, Gentler” image to their customer base, started way back with Dawn Dishwashing Soap.
If you recall… Remember the oil spill back on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck the Prince William Sounds Bligh Reef? The tragedy happened in the middle of the night in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
The tanker spilled 11 to 38 million gallons of crude oil that night and over the next few days. This was considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters in history.
So… consequentially, “Dawn Dishwashing Soap” comes in to save the day. Think about it, this disaster was televised, printed, talked about, in not only the U.S., but in every country across the world. The bird population, as well as the marine life was devastated! So, how did Dawn come to the rescue? They donated not only the soap that became famous for cleaning the oil off of the birds and marine life, but also helped find volunteers to help in the daunting chore of cleaning up those thousands and thousands of animals.
Dawn Dishwashing Soap became well known overnight… now that’s advertising you can’t even begin to afford! I would dare to say that the supermarkets from that moment on have always made sure that their shelves were stocked with Dawn Soaps… And at the top level of shelving at that. I know it’s what’s in my cabinets at home to this day!
Now “Corporate Citizenship” doesn’t mean that companies have to feed off of tragedy such as in the case of the oil spill and Dawn Detergent, but it does happen. For instance, Toyota has recently shown ads on TV where they endorse MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), a successful non-profit that pairs well with automobile companies advertising safety.
Take a look and you’ll start noticing this phenomenon happening more and more across the country, you’ll see it in the stores, advertising, online, TV, etc., etc. Frankly, I do believe it works and works well. I like seeing the companies that I deal with, helping others in a positive way. Especially when it comes to our Veterans.
One of the other great “Corporate Citizenship” marriages that help our Vets is Pet smart! They have paired with many Veterans causes, including Canine Companions for the Independence of Wounded Veterans. They even name several of their “grooming packages” after Patriotic themes, such as: “Patriotic Top Dog” grooming package. So… need I say where I go for my grooming and pet supplies? I love seeing a portion of what I pay at the register go for such a great cause as helping our Vets!
So… in your everyday purchases, go ahead, look for companies that make a difference… ones that support the issues, the people and most of all our great country, when choosing to buy!
I am including links to the various locations I used as a reference in writing this post.
Thank You for Visiting!
Resources & References
- Home Depot Foundation: http://www.homedepotfoundation.org
- Building Homes for Heroes: http://www.buildinghomesforheroes.org/
- Exxon Valdez Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exxon_Valdez_oil_spill
- Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b13aaMGRKIE