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Column: Home Depot raising commitment to veteran causes to $500 million

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Nov. 9, 2018

The Home Depot Foundation will invest an additional $250 million in veteran causes by 2025, bringing the company’s commitment to veteran causes to $500 million.

The company is scheduled to make a formal announcement at a Veterans Day celebration on event on Nov. 9 at the Home Depot BackYard next to the Mercedes Benz Stadium. Craig Menear, The Home Depot Inc.’s chairman and CEO, as well as Arthur M. Blank, cofounder and a former Home Depot CEO who is now the majority owner of the Atlanta Falcons, will speak at the event.

Home Depot’s expanded commitment to veterans comes as company volunteers, known as “Team Depot,” have completed more than 100,000 volunteer hours during the Foundation’s seven-week Celebration of Service campaign.

Craig Menear Keisha

Keisha Lance Bottoms chats with Home Depot CEO Craig Menear after the December 2017 Atlanta Committee for Progress meeting (Photo by Maria Saporta)

“The Home Depot Foundation has been supporting veteran causes since 2011 and recently completed its commitment to invest $250 million, but we’re not stopping there,” Menear said in a statement. “We’re committing another $250 million by 2025 bringing our total investment to half a billion.”

Through partnerships with national and local nonprofits, the foundation completed its $250 million commitment two years early, resulting in improvements to more than 40,000 veterans’ homes and facilities since the original pledge was made.

The organization will continue to work with nonprofits including Volunteers of America, Semper Fi Fund and Gary Sinise Foundation and many others, to end veteran homelessness, perform critical home repairs for senior veterans and serve critically wounded veterans.

“Giving back to our nation’s heroes is a part of our DNA at the Home Depot,” said Shannon Gerber, executive director at the Home Depot Foundation. “We’re proud to partner with the best nonprofits in the nation to solve veteran issues and serve our servicemen and women who dedicated their lives to our country and sacrificed so much.”

Team Depot includes partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, the Mission Continues, the Tool Bank, Furniture Bank, Hero Box, Top Dogg K9 and Westside Future Fund, which all will participate in the Veterans Day ceremony and will host volunteer projects..

Those projects will include assembling kitchen tables for local families, building custom playhouses for children of veteran families, constructing therapeutic dog beds for veteran service dogs and framing walls for homes.

Home Depot Foundation also is holding volunteer projects for veterans across the nation. At the volunteer projects, the company’s associates wear military green rather than their usual Home Depot orange attire.

OnBoard honors Julie Shimer

At its annual dinner Nov. 8, OnBoard awarded Julie Shimer its 2018 Lettie Pate Evans Whitehead award – its most prestigious award.

Shimer currently serves as a director for several publicly traded companies. She is a director of Avanos Medical Inc. (NYSE: AVNS), a medical device manufacturer based in Alpharetta.

Dr. Julie Shimer

Dr. Julie Shimer

She also is a director of Windstream Holdings Inc., a Fortune 500 company that is a leading provider of advanced network communications and technology services. Windsteam merged with EarthLink Holdings Corp., an Atlanta-based company, in February 2017. Prior to the merger, Shimer chaired Earthlink’s board.

Shimer is also the lead independent director of Netgear, Inc., a global networking company. And she is a director of Apollo Endosurgery Inc.

Shimer received her B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her M.S. and Ph.D., in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University. Early in her career, she was an executive and inventor at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Most recently, Shiner served as CEO of Vocera Communications, a wireless communication company, from 2001 until 2007. She then served as CEO and chief innovation officer at Welch Allyn, a global manufacturer of frontline medical equipment and solutions, from 2007 until 2012. She was the first woman CEO in the company’s 95-year history.

City of Refuge board members

Two new directors have been named to the board of City of Refuge, a nonprofit based in Atlanta’s Westside that works to transform lives of those most in need.

The two new members are Bob Patton, Americas vice chair of accounts at Ernst & Young LLP; and Teri McClure, chief human resources officer and senior vice president of labor at United Parcel Service.

“These two individuals have been longtime supporters of our mission here at City of Refuge and we are thrilled to have their talents on our board,” said Bruce Deel, founder and CEO of City of Refuge. “Bob and Teri both have proven track records for implementing successful strategies in their respective industries and we can’t wait to see what ideas they bring to the table.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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