Why is corporate citizenship important to Veterans United?
Wilson: Corporate Citizenship is important because as an organization, I think it’s more than just … giving back to the community. It also extends to the support we provide for our employees.
Morse: To recognize that we can be a part of building that community. Communities within our walls but then also just the broader community in Columbia. The collective effort of corporate citizenship and investing in our communities here is going to get so much more done than fragmented efforts in the community.
What has been Veterans United’s biggest contribution to Columbia?
Morse: One of the things most people are familiar with is our Veterans United Foundation. Back in 2011, we decided to form the foundation. And so before that the company had been one that was very mindful and intentional of giving back in the community. And by forming the foundation, not only were we able to do more of that, but we were also able to give our employees the opportunity to, for one, they could volunteer 1% of their income as part of the foundation.
How does Veterans United Home Loans promote philanthropy and volunteer work within the company?
Wilson: I think we normalize that behavior. When we have the values written on the walls and we have constant communication of volunteering opportunities and pictures of people volunteering and sharing experiences of volunteering, that has really normalized that behavior amongst our VU family. It kind of becomes something that just makes sense.
What is the Flourish Initiative?
Wilson: The Flourish Initiative really came from the effort of VU employees going out into the community and surrounding areas. They conducted over 100 interviews with community leaders to kind of determine what could really create an impact in our community. Through all the information from those interviews they kind of drilled it down to working with Douglass High School. The Flourish Initiative provides wraparound services for youth at Douglass and their families. That can include mentoring. One thing we found was, in order for students to get to the point of graduation or post-secondary opportunities, we have to address that some of them may need support and fulfilling basic needs.