Expands the Call of Duty Endowment’s Commitment to Ending Veteran Unemployment
SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) today expanded its commitment to the veteran community by participating in the White House’s Joining Forces initiative. At a ceremony hosted this morning by First Lady Michele Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in the White House, Activision Blizzard joined over 50 other US-based technology companies who altogether pledged more than 100,000 in hiring commitments for veterans and military spouses over the next five years.
The only interactive entertainment company to join the pledge, participation in the Joining Forces initiative complements the work of Activision Blizzard’s foundation, The Call of Duty Endowment (the Endowment), which secures high-quality jobs for veterans and raises awareness about America’s significant veteran unemployment problem.
“Over the past year, organizations supported by the Endowment saw a 15% increase in requests from veterans for support,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard and Co-Founder of the Call of Duty Endowment. “Activision Blizzard and the Endowment have helped more than 22,000 vets get good jobs, but there is much more to be done.”
Joining Forces works with the public and private sectors to ensure service members, veterans and their families have the right tools to succeed throughout their lives. Since the launch of Joining Forces in 2011, more than 1.2 million veterans and spouses have been hired or trained.
“By supporting the Joining Forces initiative, we hope the combined efforts of the White House and companies like ours can solve the ongoing problem of veteran unemployment,” saidDan Goldenberg, Executive Director of the Call of Duty Endowment. “If we accomplish this task, we will improve the lives of those who served and their families for generations to come.”
In 2009 the Endowment set a goal of 25,000 veteran career placements by 2018. To date, through its robust and efficient grant program, The Endowment and its grantees have placed more than 22,000 veterans in high quality jobs at a cost of less than $600 per placement1. Veterans placed last year earned an average starting salary of more than $50,000.2
The Endowment takes a performance-driven approach to funding organizations that deliver the highest standards of quality and cost-efficient veteran job placement services. Through its Seal of Distinction program, the Endowment identifies best-in-class organizations in the veteran employment space. Applicants have to meet rigorous criteria to be considered, including opening their books to provide extensive documentation about their results in placing veterans in jobs. A sample of the metrics assessed include number of placements made, average cost per placement, average starting salary, six-month retention rate, key employee background checks, and a variety of organizational financial health indicators. Semi-finalists are then independently assessed on a pro bono basis by Deloitte and ultimately approved by the Endowment’s Board of Directors. The award is accompanied by a $30,000 unrestricted grant, as well as the opportunity to apply for future funding. The Endowment awarded $5.6 million in grants to previous Seal of Distinction recipients this year and has donated over $21 million to the effort since inception in 2009.
In addition to its annual veteran-focused Day of Service, Activision Blizzard also utilizes key business opportunities to support veteran employment. These include the Race to Prestige, an annual video game marathon featuring the newest Call of Duty game which raises money for the Endowment. Last year Activision Blizzard participated in partnerships with Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, GameStop, Costco, BestBuy, CKE and others to support getting veterans back to work. Activision Blizzard completely covers the organization’s overhead costs, so every dollar the Endowment raises goes directly to funding veteran employment programs.
About Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard, Inc., a member of the S&P 500, is the world’s most successful standalone interactive entertainment company. We delight over 500 million monthly active users around the world through franchises including Activision’s Call of Duty®, Destiny and Skylanders®, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft®, StarCraft®, Diablo® and Hearthstone®: Heroes of Warcraft™, and King’s Candy Crush®, Pet Rescue® and Farm Heroes®. The company is one of the Fortune ʺ100 Best Companies To Work For®ʺ. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard has operations throughout the world, and its games are played in 196 countries. More information about Activision Blizzard and its products can be found on the companyʹs website, www.activisionblizzard.com.
About the Call of Duty Endowment
The Call of Duty Endowment is a non-profit, public benefit corporation co-founded by Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. The Endowment helps veterans find high quality careers by supporting groups that prepare them for the job market and by raising awareness of the value vets bring to the workplace. For more information about the Call of Duty Endowment, please visit www.callofdutyendowment.org.
1 2015 figure. Source: Call of Duty Endowment
2 Source: Call of Duty Endowment