How Our Donations, Grants and Contracts Make a Difference!
As a nonprofit, Veterans Green Jobs relies on the support of donors. Their contributions make a real difference in the lives of military veterans. Additionally, our contracts with public agencies such as the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, the City of Denver and the U.S. Forest Service enable us to offer programs and services that not only benefit the people we hire and train, but also our communities and the environment. All of these contributions help us work toward our mission of connecting military veterans with meaningful employment opportunities that serve our communities and environment.
Our founding sponsor, the Walmart Foundation, has generously given $1.25 million since 2008, providing essential funds for training programs and job placement assistance that put military veterans into meaningful positions. Programs include partnerships with conservation corps that prepare veterans for work geared to protect and preserve our country’s public lands; projects offering weatherization assistance and energy audits to income-qualified households in Colorado; and tree planting initiatives that help formerly homeless veterans find work in the green jobs field.
In the words of Derrick Charpentier, a U.S. Navy veteran and Veterans Green Corps member: “I wanted to work with and for the environment. And I wanted to be around people who shared the same sense of commitment to getting the job done. In my experience, that’s been veterans.” He adds: “Veterans Green Corps is a nice way to get away from email and TV for a few weeks and reconnect with the wilderness and nature. We live in the only world we’ll ever get; I’m more committed now than ever to getting the forest back to its natural pristine condition.”
Activision’s Call of Duty Endowment has awarded Veterans Green Jobs with a $100,000 gift in support of our Green Force career program. Green Force will be a full outreach, recruitment and placement program designed to link military veterans with employers who have committed to hiring service members with a variety of job skills, and will provide assistance to veterans transitioning into sustainable civilian careers. The Call of Duty Endowment’s grant will greatly assist us in the initial development of this initiative.
Sierra Club Foundation
The Sierra Club Foundation’s gift of $400,000 was instrumental in the kickoff of our weatherization program in northern Virginia. In partnership with the Sierra Club and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, we offered energy efficiency training to military veterans at no cost, followed by an eight-week paid internship. These vets then went on to weatherize military households in Virginia. The Sierra Club Foundation funded this program as part of its commitment to military families and the environment.
Sean Spurr, a Virginia National Guard member and Virginia weatherization training program participant, said: “I had pretty much given up on my job search and resigned myself to the idea that my life was one of servitude. This vexed me to no end, because the military had given me all the tools I needed to find a well-paying job, yet no one noticed my ultimate potential. Then I saw an ad for Veterans Green Jobs… I know that I will use what I have learned to reach the goals that I have set for myself.”
Colorado Governor’s Energy Office
Veterans Green Jobs was awarded an $11.8 million contract with the Governor’s Energy Office to weatherize 1,700 homes in Denver and Jefferson Counties, and 250 homes in the San Luis Valley, through June 30, 2011. In large part, this contract is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Energy and Governor’s Energy Office. Weatherization services help make residents more comfortable in winter and summer, reduce utility bills, increase health and safety, and lower their carbon footprint – resulting in a positive environmental impact.
Eric Lopez, training manager for Denver/Jefferson County’s weatherization program, said, “What appealed to me about Veterans Green Jobs was the focus on veterans. It’s a brotherhood, camaraderie. In the battle field you’re all together working toward the same thing. It’s similar here – we’re working for energy.”
City of Denver
Veterans Green Jobs has a $200,000 contract with the City of Denver to plant free shade trees in homeowners’ front yards as part of Greenprint Denver’s The Mile High Million program. By August 2012, 35 Veterans City Canopy crew members will have planted 4,600 trees in Denver yards – helping to fulfill The Mile High Million’s goal of planting one million trees by 2025. This program is funded as part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to improve community energy efficiency.
Frederick Sales told us, “Back in college I had all these ideas about what I wanted to do to change the world and be a better person. For me, Veterans City Canopy was like coming back full circle. I studied soil sciences and forestry in school. I’m 55 now, and this work is making me feel youthful again…. I’m looking forward to getting a job. I would like to have my own crew some day.”
Adolph Coors Foundation
In 2009 the Adolph Coors Foundation issued a gift of $30,000 in general operating funds to support Veterans Green Jobs programs. Thanks to this generous gift, Veterans Green Jobs has been able to touch more than 500 veterans and provide job and training opportunities to more than 200 veterans – and these numbers continue to grow every day.
The wife a veteran participant in our Veterans Green Corps land conservation training program said, “Veterans Green Jobs is really a great organization and the opportunities you provide for veterans really changes lives. Again, thank you and to everyone else in your organization for doing the work you do. I really can’t express how much of a difference VGJ has made for my family!! Please keep up the great work and thank you!!!”
Xcel Energy Foundation
In 2010, Xcel Energy Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to support our Veterans City Canopy program. This gift helped a team of transitioning homeless veterans plant hundreds of trees in Denver residents’ yards. The shade trees increase energy efficiency while giving our crew members valuable hands-on green career experience.
Jeff Hollingshead, a member of the first Veterans City Canopy cohort, said of his participation in this program: “I’m taking advantage of an opportunity to help the environment and advance my own station in life. I expect to have enough money put aside to complete truck driving school and get a job as a truck driver. I eventually want to buy my own truck and sustain myself in my own business…. I love working together with other vets on a team effort. I look forward to planting the trees the most – I like the hands-on work.”
El Pomar Foundation
The El Pomar Foundation donated $2,500 to support Veterans Green Jobs’ San Luis Valley Weatherization Services program, helping veterans from a variety of backgrounds get good jobs and see a sustainable career path for themselves.
Tony Matthews, a weatherization technician for the San Luis Valley weatherization program, shared the following perspective: “There’s a big need in the Valley for homes to be weatherized and become more energy efficient. I can’t believe the money some people are spending to heat these homes; the heat is just going out the window, the roof and the floor. It makes me feel good to make someone else’s life better.”