Veteran Friendly Businesses

Service members put their lives on the line for our country and our freedoms. While we appreciate everything they do for us every day, Memorial Day gives us a chance to remember their sacrifices and express our thanks. Businesses too have a unique opportunity to do something special for service members, and many of them do so year-round. Supporting our troops is not just the right thing to do; it’s good for business. 

According to a study done by The Bob Woodruff Foundation88 percent of Americans agree that they “support brands that support veterans.” Eighty percent mentioned that they would applaud those who help, just as much as they would the veterans themselves. That’s no small amount considering a Pew Research Study found the military’s approval rating was at 78 percent, right at the top of their list of professions. Many companies have already created programs to help veterans, but there’s a lot more to be done. Eighty-eight percent of Americans say they believe companies don’t do enough for service members. Between veteran hiring initiatives, donating to charities, and implementing veteran-only perks and discounts, there are many ways to help. Here are some brands that are already doing the right thing.

Brands That Hire Veterans

  1. The Home Depot In 2004, the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs joined forces with The Home Depot to provide veterans with career opportunities at the home improvement retailer’s stores and distribution centers. The Home Depot doubled-down on that commitment in 2012, when it pledged to hire 55,000 vets in five years — an impressive goal that the company met two years early, in mid-2015. The Home Depot also provides flexible employment for National Guard members, reservists, and military spouses. To assist veterans and active-duty service members find civilian positions appropriate to their military experience, the company developed a specialized online job search tool: the Military Skills Translator. In recognition of its efforts, The Home Depot was named the 2014 National Winner of the Year for Hiring Veterans by the American Legion.
  2. USAA United Services Automobile Association was founded in 1922 by a group of U.S. Army officers, so it’s no surprise that the financial services group maintains its commitment to veterans. Specifically, the company aims for at least 30 percent of hires to be members of the military community, whether they are service members or their spouses. That’s quite the dedication considering USAA employs more than 27,000 folks in its insurance, banking, and investment operations throughout the country. The fact that a considerable number of USAA’s 11 million customers also belong to the military community makes this a win-win for vets.
  3. DuPont As part of Joining Forces, a 2011 call-to-action by first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for businesses to hire or train 1 million unemployed veterans and their spouses by 2013, DuPont committed to making 10 percent of its new hires in 2012 and 2013 veterans. That’s no small feat for a company that employs more than 50,000 people. To achieve this goal, the chemical-engineering conglomerate has created an online portal specifically for transitioning service members to find careers at its offices, distribution centers, and manufacturing sites around the world.

Brands That Donate to Veteran Organizations

  1. Hops for Heroes In 2011, 10 craft breweries teamed up to produce the Homefront IPA as part of the Hops for Heroes program. All of the proceeds from the sale of the beer go to a new charity each year. The 2015 cause was Soldiers’ Angels, an organization that coordinates care packages, correspondence, and rehabilitative technology for active-duty service members and veterans.
  2. David Fin While luxury ties may not immediately bring to mind the military, that connection is exactly what David Fin’s creator David Herzka hoped to forge with his men’s accessories line. He was launching his brand in 2014 when a friend returned home from a second tour in Afghanistan and described the difficulty he faced re-entering the workforce. Herzka was inspired to help and after a bit of research came across Hiring Our Heroes, a program by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which aids veterans and their families in finding employment. Now 15 percent of the proceeds from every tie sold by David Fin go to helping veterans get jobs.
  3. Oscar Mike Founded by veterans to help veterans, Oscar Mike is an American-made apparel brand. One hundred percent of the proceeds from its sales of T-shirts, hoodies, bracelets, hats, and other products go toward a nonprofit foundation of the same name, which works to rehabilitate injured service members through adaptive sporting events.

Brands That Offer Veterans Perks

  1. Lowe’s The home improvement and appliance retailer Lowe’s offers a 10 percent military discount to members of the armed forces, retired veterans, VA recipients, and their immediate families. To receive the discount shoppers must present a valid military or veteran ID. The military discount applies at the hundreds of Lowe’s stores nationwide but cannot be used online.
  2. United Airlines One of the largest airlines in the world, United offers veterans a 5 percent discount on tickets purchased through its website. The discount extends to veterans, active duty military, National Guard, and Reserve members, as well as their families. Qualifying flights must originate in the U.S. or Canada and arrive in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean. Reservations are limited to eight travelers or less. To receive the discount customers must enroll with the Veterans Advantage program.
  3. Penske The truck rental company Penske offers active and veteran military personnel, as well as their families, a 10 percent discount on truck rentals at more than 2,2000 locations across the United States and Canada. To receive the discount, customers must present their military or veteran ID when picking up their vehicle. Service members can save an additional 10 percent by booking their rental online. Alternatively, Penske has set up a dedicated call center for the military community, which is staffed with associates who have a connection to the armed forces, either through personal experience or family.

The Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University was ranked among the top five best business schools for veterans by The Military Times in 2016. The university participates in major military benefit programs, from the Vietnam Era GI Bill to the Yellow Ribbon Program. It has also created the Institute for Veterans & Military Families, which leverages the college’s resources to support the military community. The Whitman School of Management also offers waivers of admissions and deposit fees for post-9/11 veterans and those with five or more years of military work experience can receive GMAT waivers.