One million shared gestures of gratitude in Bank of America campaign

Nov 08, 2013

Jerry Majetich served four years in the Marines and over 15 years in the Army. While he was a troop commander in psychological operations in Iraq, his Humvee struck an IED. He suffered burns on 35% of his body, and was sent to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for treatment. While there, he was regularly visited by a volunteer from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) who provided practical advice and showed him that “there was hope afterwards.” Today, Majetich, thanks to support from WWP and his children — and his own grit and determination — works at a veteran-owned firm that offers skills training for combat-injured veterans and helps them find jobs. 

This year, as part of its commitment to helping returning veterans make the transition to life at home, Bank of America launched the “Express Your Thanks” campaign with the goal of donating up to $1 million to support military service members and veterans. During the campaign, people were able to share gestures of gratitude — photos, messages, Tweets — that each resulted in a $1 donation from the bank. The campaign ran from Memorial Day to Veterans Day, and was promoted at banking centers and through the bank’s partnerships with NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports, MLB and various NFL teams.

After serving their country thousands of miles from home, veterans have to confront pressing issues of employment, housing and finances. The $1 million donated by the bank will support veterans’ and family reintegration programs, including mental health (PTSD research and treatment) and employment programs run by Wounded Warrior Project® and Welcome Back Veterans.

Wounded Warrior Project® raises awareness of the needs of injured service members, and provides peer mentorship and job skills and training through economic empowerment programs, part of 18 programs and services that address veterans’ holistic needs. Welcome Back Veterans provides ongoing treatment to veterans for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and also funds research for PTSD.

"With hundreds of thousands of service men and women leaving active duty this year alone, raising awareness of the unique challenges they face as they integrate back into the workforce is more important than ever," said Jeff Cathey, senior military affairs executive at Bank of America. "Through our 'Express Your Thanks' campaign, we helped foster a real connection between the public and our military in a meaningful way, while  supporting programs like WWP and Welcome Back Veterans, which help these heroes make this transition back to civilian life." 

“Wounded Warrior Project® and Welcome Back Veterans share our goal of helping connect service members to education and job training opportunities,” said Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “Our partnership through ‘Express Your Thanks’ aligns with our philanthropic focus on issues related to workforce development and education and supports our company’s goal to help improve the financial lives of individuals and families.”

Jonathan Sullivan, executive vice president of development for WWP, said: “As the wars wind down, it’s our challenge to make sure that we don’t forget about the amazing sacrifices these people have made on our behalf.  Less than one percent of Americans are wearing a uniform. It’s the responsibility of the rest of us to make sure that these warriors have everything that they need to have a good life when they come home. The ‘Express Your Thanks’ campaign was so important because it provided the platform for Americans to tell the troops they care, that they respect the service that they gave, and will continue to be there for them.”

“Thousands of service men and women are returning from the battlefield, and efforts like ‘Express Your Thanks’ are a perfect example of how we can support their return while recognizing the sacrifices they’ve made,” said Donald Cooke, senior vice president of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which created Welcome Back Veterans in 2008 in partnership with MLB.

Join the conversation: See how we’re connecting with our customers, clients, and communities on the Bank of America Facebook page and on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

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