Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Koticks gives vets a chance

There are few things more noble than choosing to defend your country. Some hear this call of duty and join the armed forces. But when these brave men and women return home, they face a new fight. Between 2000 and 2011, younger veterans were 3.4% more likely to be unemployed than non-veterans. This struggle to find work has a snowball effect, and a partial cause of the overall veteran homeless rate.

But in 2009, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Koticks heard his own call of duty. During a conversation with former VA Secretary Jim Nicholson, he was inspired to create the Call of Duty Endowment, named after the video game company’s popular war series. This endowment provides funds veterans to help place US veterans (as well as UK veterans) in good jobs, with a goal of aiding 100,000 veterans by 2024. And in 2019, the Pilot Company, founded by US Army veteran Jim Haslam, joined forces with them. In 2021, in honor of veterans day, Pilot ran a three-week round-up event in 750 of its locations, along with a matching $100,000, to help raise money for the organization. It shattered expectations. With a 2021 goal of $500,000, Pilot helped wrap up the year with a staggering $1.75 million. It also thanked our active-duty service members with a free $10 meal, and always gives them a 10% discount on food and beverage year-round.

In these tough times, our country, as well as our armed forces, are facing more than ever. Only by coming together will we overcome this struggle, and nobody knows teamwork like the US. The generous philanthropy of companies like Bobby Koticks’s Activision Blizzard and the Pilot Company are the best examples of what a great country can do to honor those that serve it.

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