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Veterans And Values: Creating Collective Impact

On this Veteran’s Day, we’re thinking about an active duty service member in Texas who is approaching the end of her active service. Thanks to a unique collaboration between Easter Seals Dixon Center, the Teamsters Military Program and ABF Freight System, Inc., she knows she’ll have a job that offers a family wage and lets her put her skills to good use when she transitions to civilian life. 

We’re thinking about a former U.S. Marine in Albany, N.Y., now working as a scheduling manager in the office of a state senator. It’s a job he is not likely to have known about or considered applying for without Hire Heroes USA, which helps nearly 100 veterans every week find meaningful work through its extensive network of employers across the country. 

We’re thinking about a veteran in Chicago who participated in FourBlock’s “mock job interview” training conducted by PwC colleagues and leaders from other companies. A former Air Force officer with a degree in information technology, he has a lot to offer a future employer. Equipped with a professional resume and the skills to describe the value he can bring, he’ll be ready to transition to the civilian workplace.

We’re thinking about veterans in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and members of Team Rubicon, who worked tirelessly last month repairing homes in communities devastated by Hurricane Matthew. Team Rubicon’s “Grey Shirts” have put their sense of purpose, desire to serve, and courage to work helping communities around the world cope with the aftermath of natural disasters and emergencies.

And, on this Veterans Day, we’re thinking about the next generation. Jacob Joyner, a student majoring in political science and government at a college in Warrenton, VA, is among the more than 2,300 children of military families this year who will have the opportunity to pursue their educational goals thanks to the Marine Corps Scholarships Foundation. College would be out of reach for many of these young people without this critical financial support.

At the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc., collaborating with the exceptional veterans organizations behind these stories, all of which contribute unique strengths and approaches to their work with veterans and military families, is a privilege, an obligation, and an opportunity to bring PwC’s values to life. It drives the focus of our Veterans Initiative in the areas of education, transition and job placement. 

Our collaboration with Easter Seals Dixon Center, a “go-to resource” for veterans for decades, gives us the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of active military members who are soon to be veterans by supporting training before they leave the installation. Working together with FourBlock engages us directly in career readiness efforts for veterans with college degrees. Collaborating with Team Rubicon, an organization that began with just 10 volunteers six years ago and has grown to a force of 40,000 veterans worldwide, is a powerful way to support both purposeful work for veterans and critical disaster recovery efforts. Through Hire Heroes USA, we have the opportunity to help veterans secure jobs at all levels of employment in hundreds of businesses and organizations. And our holistic efforts come full circle through our collaboration with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Through this collaboration, we have had the chance to meet many children and teens of military families and to learn firsthand about the challenges they face. Their sacrifice should never be overlooked or underestimated and their resilience is a great inspiration. They need to know that we care about them.

We have had the unique opportunity, as well, to introduce the leaders of some of these organizations to each other. In March, the PwC Charitable Foundation was accepted into the Council of Foundations Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact PledgeSharing our knowledge and best practices, along with that of other organizations, and leveraging our collective impact will continue to shape the Foundation’s approach to strategic investments in these organizations. 

In addition to learning from nonprofit organizations, we continue to look to PwC colleagues in our expansive Veterans Affinity Network (VAN), which supports the recruitment and retention of veterans at our firm, for guidance about effective and innovative ways to support veterans and their families in the civilian workplace. These dedicated partners and staff volunteer time to assist the organizations above with career training and PwC’s signature Earn Your Future financial education programs. 

Giving back to veterans and their families is about integrity — doing the right thing — even though we know we can never truly thank them enough for the sacrifices they have made to keep our nation safe and to protect the values that make our country strong. On this Veterans Day, we’re not only thinking about and honoring veterans’ past service, we’re imagining the many possibilities for veterans and their families going forward. We’re thinking about the ways in which they will, without question, bring their commitment to purpose, diverse skills, agility, and the desire to keep growing and improving to the civilian workplace and to our communities. Increasing access and opportunity to education and careers for veterans and their families is not about what “we” can do for “them,” but what we can do together for each other and to advance the world we all live in.