March 17, 2021
COLUMBIA, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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.