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Despite the pandemic and the end-of-year Omicron variant, the Call of Duty Endowment charity found jobs for more than 16,138 veterans in 2021.
That’s a record year for the number of veterans placed in high-quality jobs, which is the mission of the endowment.
Mike Lavigne, marketing manager for corporate social responsibility at Activision Blizzard, said the year had its challenges with COVID-19 but the endowment still made meaningful progress toward its goal of placing 100,000 veterans in jobs by 2024.
Although Activision Blizzard had a difficult year with a high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit, the resulting bad publicity did not hurt the independent charity, which was started by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. Activision Blizzard is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft for $68.7 billion.
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The average salary in 2021 was $64,163 – the highest in the endowment’s 12 year history – and nearly twice the current U.S. average. Those numbers resulted in a total of more than $1 billion in first-year salaries gained by the veterans helped – another record for the endowment.
The endowment worked with New York-based organization American Corporate Partners, which drives measurable, high-quality job placements through curated one-on-one mentoring, networking, and online career advice.
In addition to ACP, the endowment provided $8.6 million in grants in 2021 to 12 other U.S. and UK-based organizations to place veterans in jobs, typically at a much lower cost than government-funded programs.
The U.S. government pays $4,988 to put a single veteran to work through transition programs. It costs the endowment one ninth of that: an average of $547 with higher quality outcomes, Lavigne said.
Activision’s Call of Duty studios created digital item packs to help raise funds and awareness. The first digital item pack was inspired by Tim Hobbs, an Army medic. The endowment placed him in a high-quality job.
As a result of digital pack sales across the franchise, the endowment was able to place more than 5,500 veterans in full-time jobs.
Corporate partners also helped tremendously – funds raised through initiatives led by GameStop, Pilot Company, USAA, and Humble Bundle in the U.S., and Yogscast’s Jingle Jam, Amazon, and Papa John’s in the UK, combined to put more than 6,000 veterans to work.