Foundation has raised $87.1 million since its inception in 2011; Plans call for over $2.5 million to be awarded to Columbia-area charities in 2021
Veterans United Foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021 and the impact that Veterans United Home Loans employees have provided to communities across the country. Foundation staff is excited to preview big plans in store for the upcoming year, as sizeable donations will be awarded to military-based and community-centered charitable organizations in the Columbia area and throughout the United States.
The Foundation was created in 2011 and is funded by more than 4,600 Veterans United Home Loans employees, Veterans United and its affiliated companies. Since its inception, more than $87 million has been donated to the Foundation, and officials expect the total to reach $100 million by the end of this calendar year. More than 90 percent of Veterans United employees give back at least one percent of their paycheck to the Foundation to support the mission.
"When the Foundation was created 10 years ago, we were excited about the possibilities. We also felt confident the culture of our employees at Veterans United Home Loans would create a lasting presence, but in no way could we have expected to see it grow into what it is today," said Erik Morse, president of the Veterans United Foundation board of directors. "We are grateful and proud of our VU family for the generosity they've shown in the last decade. The impact they've provided to countless organizations and their communities is staggering."
Veterans United Foundation is currently poised to share roughly $6.5 million in planned gifts for 2021 – with more in store for later this year. The current plans include nearly $2.5 million alone dedicated to Columbia, Missouri area organizations, with most of the funding going toward COVID relief and direct program assistance. More than 3,500 Veterans United employees are based in Columbia/Jefferson City, and their contributions will help impact over 40 different local non-profit organizations this year.
An exciting kickoff for the 2021 plans was fulfilled this past week when Foundation staff surprised Columbia employment and community development center Job Point with a gift totaling $500,000 that will enable the organization to pay off their bank loan in full for their facility located at 400 Wilkes Blvd.
"We are constantly humbled by the Veterans United Foundation’s commitment to supporting this community," said Job Point President/CEO Steve Smith. "To say we are grateful for this partnership and this gift is an understatement. This gift and what it makes possible will allow us to devote more resources annually to training and educating those we serve. It will ultimately allow for more people in our community to become self-reliant, raising the standard of living for themselves and those who rely upon them," Smith added.
In addition to supporting non-profit charities, the Foundation is pleased to have recently reached the $1 million mark of awards given through its internal scholarship assistance program. These awards go to Veterans and military families to help defer the costs associated with higher education.
The Foundation’s reach isn’t limited to mid-Missouri. Since 2011, the Foundation has also supported more than 350 organizations across the country that impact communities in countless ways. Over $4 million is planned to be awarded to organizations throughout the nation in 2021.
A recent example of these partnerships is a $1 million Foundation pledge to Guardian Hills Veterans Healing Center, located in northeast Missouri. The pledge will go toward the development and construction of the center, which will serve the needs of Midwestern Veterans and their families by providing a short-duration, high-impact residential treatment facility for those suffering from the effects of PTS and moral injury.
"The Veterans United Foundation has provided an extremely generous grant to the Guardian Hills Veterans Healing Center Capital Construction Campaign," said Guardian Hills President Daniel P. Slawski, MD. "In providing funding to groups such as ours, Veterans United demonstrates that it has empathy and concern for veterans not only as potential clients, but as individuals and families who have sacrificed to allow us all to have the benefits of freedom. For Guardian Hills, the VU Foundation grant was the catalyst to allow us to move forward from vision to reality. For that investment in our future, we and the veterans we seek to serve will be forever grateful," Slawski added.
Further plans will be revealed throughout the year as the Foundation awards additional impactful local and national gifts beyond the current $6.5 million designations – with the year-end figure expected to rise well above that total.
"We are beyond excited about our plans for this year and the new and current partnerships that we'll be able to further strengthen and foster," said Foundation Team Lead Erika Pryor.
"The last 14 to 16 months have been so challenging for everyone in so many ways, and that makes it even more remarkable that our team continues to step up the way that they have and the way I know they will continue to do. Our opportunities to lead in Columbia and around the country are a crucial part of our core values at Veterans United, and we're grateful to be in the position to provide a lasting positive impact," Pryor said.
About Veterans United Foundation
Veterans United Foundation is supported entirely by the employees of Veterans United Home Loans. The foundation is committed to enhancing the lives of Veterans and military families nationwide, by supporting nonprofit organizations that strengthen local communities and honor the sacrifices of those who served our country. It also provides individual donations to current and former military members in need. More than $87 million has been raised since its founding in 2011. Learn more at EnhanceLives.com.
VeteransUnited.com | 1-800-884-5560 | 1400 Veterans United Drive, Columbia, MO 65203 | NMLS ID #1907 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org). A VA approved lender; Not endorsed or sponsored by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs or any government agency. Equal Opportunity Lender. Mortgage Research Center, LLC
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT VETERANS UNITED FOUNDATION
The Boot Campaign/Chief Executive Officer Shelly Kirkland
"Both Veterans United and its Foundation have been force multipliers for our Boot Campaign mission to unite Americans to honor and restore the lives of veterans and military families through individualized programs. Through combat boot orders for every new employee as an expression of gratitude, donated dollars to support veteran health and wellness and by activating staff as volunteers and boots on the ground to help make Christmas bright for military and veteran families, Veterans United laces up and stands firm in their commitment to making measurable and meaningful differences for those who served. The team at Veterans United is more than just supporters; they are true partners in every sense of the word. Happy 10th anniversary to the Foundation!"
For more information, visit: www.bootcampaign.org
Boys & Girls Club of Columbia Executive Director Valorie Livingston
"Since 2012 Veterans United Home Loans & Veterans United Foundation have been a vital part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbia’s success! Not only has VU provided steady volunteers and board members, but financial support to enhance our programs and build capacity. Without the Foundation’s support we would not have the safe & beautiful playground for hundreds of kids to play on daily, been able to expand our main site facility or open a third school-based site to serve more kids. We are grateful to the Veterans United Foundation for partnering with us to provide after school & summer programs that are safe, affordable & accessible to the kids that need us most!"
For more information, visit: www.bgc-columbia.org
Coyote Hill Chief Development Officer Kari Hopkins
"Veterans United Foundation helps Coyote Hill give children in foster care the childhood they deserve. Because of the Foundation, we have created more safe homes for children in foster care. Last year we doubled the number of children we cared for and worked with five times as many families. VU is helping Coyote Hill change the landscape of foster care in Missouri, and we’re pleased to celebrate the Foundation’s 10-year anniversary with them."
For more information, visit: www.coyotehill.org
Fisher House Foundation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Fisher
"Fisher House Foundation values the pledge of $1 million from Veterans United to Friends of the Mid-Missouri Fisher House towards the construction of the Columbia (MO) Fisher House. Their early commitment will inspire other organizations and individuals to help bring a ‘home away from home’ to veterans and their loved ones as they receive critical medical treatment at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital."
For more information, visit: www.fisherhouse.org
Heart of Missouri United Way Executive Director Andrew Grabau
"The Veterans United Foundation has financially supported Heart of Missouri United Way in an unprecedented manner over these 10 amazing years. The significant annual support along with the additional funding for COVID-19 immediate relief and long-term relief is making it possible to meet the increased demand due to the financial effects on individuals and families in mid-Missouri."
"The partnership and financial support from Veterans United Foundation has been a mitigating factor against the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created for many local non-profit organizations. United Way has proven to be a key source of stability for many of these agencies as their ability to fundraise decreased due to COVID-19, while at the same time the need for services has increased. Our ability to provide this additional support would not have been possible without the partnership with Veterans United Foundation. In addition to United Way’s grants in education and financial stability, this increased support made it possible for us to commit more than $1 million annually (the largest amount ever) for the next three years focused on strategic targets in the areas of health and basic needs."
"Heart of Missouri United Way thanks the Veterans United Foundation for their partnership and financial support. Together we are Living United!"
H.E.R.O.E.S. Care President Jon Jerome
"The wide scope of what Veterans United Foundation is giving us the ability to do is amazing. Because of this partnership, every month we’re able to keep one person from facing foreclosure or eviction from their home, and two others from avoiding having their cars repossessed, and that’s only a small part of it. Because of VU we can serve about 60,000 military kids each year in various ways, we’ve aided over 24,000 military families through food pantries, we’ve helped over 1,000 veterans with PTSD, over 600 with physical wounds and it goes on and on, ranging from World War II Veterans to those who served in post-911 times. We applaud Veterans United, because they make it all possible."
For more information, visit: www.heroescare.org
Welcome Home Executive Director Megan Sievers
"The impact Veterans United Foundation has had, and continues to have, on the lives of Veterans and families we serve is unparalleled. Welcome Home is unbelievably honored to join forces with such an admirable organization like VUF and to wish everyone there a happy 10th anniversary. Their generosity and passion to help honor Veterans and restore lives is nothing short of amazing. Welcome Home's mission is only as strong as the community and partners that surround it, and VUF goes above and beyond to help us in the battle to end Veteran homelessness. It's more than just providing funding to support worthy causes, to VUF it's about being an integral, true partner to help those less fortunate and make this world a better place for all."
For more information, visit: www.welcomeveterans.org
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