Call of Duty fund to help veterans expands support to the UK

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The Call of Duty Endowment, a fund launched off the back of one of the world’s most popular video game franchises, will be supporting UK veterans.

The Call of Duty Endowment is a non-profit, private foundation founded in 2009 by Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, the company behind the COD franchise.

It is co-chaired by General James L. Jones, former NATO Commander and National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama and is led by Dan Goldenberg, a veteran and captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

The Endowment was initially established in the US to identify and fund best-in-class organisations to place 25,000 veterans in jobs by the end of 2018. That goal was met two years early, and has subsequently and ambitiously been revised to placing 50,000 veterans into high-quality jobs by 2019.

Providing more than £19 million pounds in funding and other support to best-in-class non-profit organisations, the programme has placed more than 37,000 US veterans into full-time jobs with an average 2016 starting salary of £42,000. As a result, the Endowment has helped veterans capture over £1.3 billion in first year salaries and demonstrated the value of veterans in the civilian workplace to companies across the US.

The expansion of its activities to the UK will seek to identify and forge partnerships with a select group of UK charities, to be announced in the coming months.

To fund UK endowment programmes, Activision has this week announced The Call of Duty Endowment Double Duty Calling Card for Call of Duty®: Black Ops III, is available in the UK. Designed by Treyarch, the animated Calling Card allows players to view a service member transform before their eyes from a uniformed warrior to a civilian on their way to work, showing their donation’s meaningful impact on the veteran community. In addition to the animated Calling Card, the pack includes three rare supply drops. All proceeds received by Activision, as a result of sales of these digital items to UK consumers, will go towards Endowment programmes dedicated to finding veterans high quality work.

“Our expansion to the UK was a natural move–with a long-standing ally whose armed forces have served so closely with those of the US.” said Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director of the Endowment.

Through its Seal of Distinction program, enabled via a pro bono relationship with Deloitte, the Endowment identifies and evaluates veteran-serving non-profit organisations that effectively connect recent military veterans with real career opportunities. UK application criteria include:

- Organisation must undergo a review and evaluation process, as well as have a mission that includes directly assisting unemployed and underemployed veterans to find high quality jobs

- Group must complete an application, provide requested documentation and be prepared to submit to verification procedures by Deloitte

- Applicants will be assessed by metrics including, the number of veterans placed in jobs, the quality of those placements, average cost-per-placement, average starting salary, six-month retention rate, and a variety of organisational, financial and other health indicators and requirements.

Winners receive a £23,000 unrestricted grant that supports their organisation’s efforts to place veterans in meaningful jobs followed by the opportunity to earn restricted grants that have historically averaged more than £450,000.