3625 Perkins Lane SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
Valor Invests in Veterans Initiative
A Letter from our ceo
Last summer I sat down with my friend Trevor Neilson, the co-founder of Global Philanthropy Group and co-founder and CEO of i(x) investments. At the time, I was still thinking through what Valor Worldwide and OurMilitary.com might look like. I’ve been in the media business my whole life (my father was a community newspaper publisher, and I’ve spent 20 years in technology and digital media), so I felt I had a handle on how to successfully launch and grow the business. I wasn’t meeting with Trevor to go deep on the operations of digital publishing. Before OurMilitary.com even launched, I sat down with Trevor to talk about how to give away money.
Sound a little backwards?
I spent three years on the board of a non-profit that worked with the homeless, and so I knew firsthand the shamefully high percentage of veterans on the street. I saw the successes and shortcomings of government programs and philanthropic efforts to solve this problem. I also saw that the most meaningful progress was made when public programs and private businesses worked collaboratively. That lesson stuck with me, and so I’d been thinking about the role of for-profit businesses in helping solve community problems. I had a strong urge to build the kind of company that has impact on the groups we serve- beyond the bottom line.
With i(x), Trevor runs a very successful investment firm. Dig deeper and you’ll learn he also worked with Bill and Melinda Gates, as a founding team member of their foundation. He was the Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition, working for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. He’s helped Madonna build schools in Malawi and worked on homeless initiatives with Kobe Bryant. Most recently, he co-founded the Malibu Foundation with his wife, Evelin, to help rebuild that community after the Woolsey Fire. In short, Trevor is a person that understands the intersection of capitalism and philanthropy like few in the world.
“We need to think bigger. We need to embrace the notion that capitalism is one of the most powerful forces on the planet, and if we build and invest in businesses that have an explicit purpose, we can create sustained change on a scale that we’ve only imagined.”
– Trevor Neilson, Co-founder and CEO, i(x) investments
Trevor gave me a new lens through which to view my ideas and plans. I started to think about community impact as a business strategy, not a charitable act. I thought less about the costs added by giving, and more about how those acts would improve the performance of our business. Employees want to join a company with a strong cultural core. Customers are more likely to work with partners that think about both the community and the bottom line. Our goals for giving are tangible and measurable, just like other parts of our business. It’s a strategy, not a charity.
Larger companies have long known this. Microsoft has shown decades of incredible leadership with their Employee Giving Program. More recently, Amazon has put money and resources against combatting homelessness (among a myriad of other community programs). Smaller companies might look at those programs with envy, aspiring to reach a point where they, too, can give back to the community in such a meaningful way. It’s really not about company size, though. It’s about will, creativity, and a belief that “profit with a purpose” improves the bottom line of a business.
That’s our bet.
At Valor Worldwide, we feel a responsibility to the communities in which we live and work. We feel a responsibility to the active duty military families that we serve. And we feel a responsibility to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country. That sense of responsibility isn’t manifested into action once we hit a certain size. It’s been part of our business from inception, and it’s now formalized with our Valor invests in Veterans Initiative.
We Pledge to donate a minimum of $5K each fiscal quarter to a designated non-profit that provides services that fall into one, or more, of these three main areas of focus:
Non-profits that help to establish positive mental and physical health security within the military community.
Organizations that help find transitional housing and aid to children of wounded or fallen soldiers.
Programs that help military transition to civilian life, aid in job training and help with job placement opportunities.
Our First Partner
For Q1 2019, WE'VE partnered with Operation Military Family Cares and the WAServes initiative
Efficient and Transparent Service
Our partnership with Operation Military Family Cares allows us to more directly assist the needs of the veteran community in the Pacific Northwest. OMFC'S commitment to connecting veterans with the correct resources and services for their needs makes them an ideal partner for our social impact program.
Through the WAServes network, this quarter's $5,000 donation will help to fill the financial requests of veterans and their families ranging from housing and emergency services to counseling, tuition aid, or mental and physical health care. We've ensured that our monetary contribution translates into tangible aid for the military community.
A Word from OMFC
"We are grateful to partner with Valor Worldwide and OurMilitary.com and to be the first recipient of their Valor invests in Veterans initiative,” said Mike Schindler, CEO of Operation Military Family Cares. “We look forward to utilizing this money to help as many Washington area military and Veterans families as we can and help position those families on a pathway to success and healing. Donations like these are critical to helping improve the health, morale and financial situation of our military and Veterans.”
here's how our donation was put to use
Wayne is a post 9/11 veteran who had less than three months to discharge and was in need of financial assistance for tools for new employment. He was enrolled in JTec and needed to have his own equipment by the end of the course to secure an employment opportunity. He'd previously been working with Commo2Commerce but when their funding was lost, Wayne's personal funds were consumed by rent and living expenses. With Valor's fund, Wayne was able to purchase his tools and begin his career as a sheet metal worker!
Ryan is a Desert Storm veteran who served honorably and was faced with a financial hardship when his family member incurred medical bills that weren't covered by the VA and were headed into collections. If the funds went into collections his clearance would've been negatively impacted and his non Post-9/11 status made it difficult for him to receive services from other resources. Valor's board reviewed Ryan's case and decided to pay for the outstanding amount of medical bills in total to ensure that his security clearance wouldn't be impacted. Ryan's bills are paid, and he remains employed. He was thrilled!
As our company grows, so will our reach and ability to positively impact the military community. We will continue to find and build the kind of meaningful partnerships that make the biggest impact on our service members, Veterans, and their families. Valor looks forward to collaborating with more military focused non-profits this year so be sure to check back to see where the Valor Invests in Veteran Initiative goes and the lives we've set out to impact!
Annual Veteran Recognition Scholarship
We're excited to announce the winner and recipient of OurMilitary.com's first annual Veteran Recognition Scholarship, Christine Lewis!
Christine is an Army veteran and current Arizona State University student. Her volunteer work, education, and service stood out to our esteemed panel of judges and she will receive a $1,000 scholarship to help pursue her doctorate at Arizona State University.
Please check back in Fall 2019 for our 2020 Scholarship details and eligibility.
In the meantime, please take the time to learn more about our 2019 winning recipient Christine Lewis here.