Target Practice
 
 
(Click Here for Original Target URL)
Claim:   Target stores do not "support veterans."

Status:  
Target's Side of the Story.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2002]


TARGET STORES DO NOT SUPPORT VETERANS!!!
Subject: Vietnam vets not worthy?

Vietnam Veterans Not Worthy Of Target's Help?
By Dick Forrey, Vietnam Veterans Association.

We asked our local Target store to be a sponsor of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall during our spring recognition event. We received back a reply from Target management that "veterans do not meet our area of giving. We only donate to the areas of arts, social actions and education."

My thought: If the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and the Vietnam veteran himself, does not meet the criteria of these areas, something is wrong at Target. We were not asking for thousands of dollars, not even hundreds, but simply sponsorship endorsement for a "memorial remembrance".

As follow-up, I e-mailed the Corporate Headquarters and their response was the same. Personally, I will NOT be buying anything at Target Stores again. If the Vietnam Veteran does not meet their area of giving then why should I as a Vietnam veteran, spend my hard earned money in their stores?

Please pass this on to as many people as you know. Maybe Target and other businesses will get the message.


Origins:   As Strother Martin's character wryly commented in Cool Hand Luke, "What we've got here is failure to communicate."

Dick Forrey, of the Howard County Vietnam Veterans organization in Indiana penned the above after failing to secure endorsement for a travelling Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall exhibit from his local Target store. In response, Target's customers relations group wrote:
We want to clearly and completely apologize for any misunderstanding regarding Target's support of the Vietnam Wall and our corporate giving program. Giving back to the communities where our stores are located is something we're proud to do. In fact, nationwide, Target Corporation gives more than $2 million a week to the communities in which we serve.

In March of 2002, a veteran approached one of our stores seeking a $100 donation for a display of the "moving wall" in his area. Target does support events in the communities in which our stores are located. While each store determines which events to sponsor, any contribution is limited and is made in the form of a gift card. The stores are not able to give cash contributions to any organization. Stores are also able to donate volunteer hours to community events and projects.

Our corporate giving program that does incorporate cash donations is handled through a process called grants. Unfortunately, the veteran and his organization were not provided the proper information to facilitate consideration of a grant from either the store or our corporate office. The initial response of the team member at the store and the reply from our corporate office are inconsistent with the respectful manner in which we want all of our guests to be treated. We are truly sorry for this oversight and the resulting confusion that has taken place.

We accept all applications for grants from January 1 to September 30 of each calendar year. Any guest can request a grants application brochure at their local store, called "Grant Guidelines." Veterans programs may be considered for grants if the subject matter falls into one of our three general areas of giving: education, arts and family violence prevention.

Guests can also access a grant application at our web site.

This is certain: Target appreciates the dedication and service of all our veterans. Thank you again for your interest.

Sincerely,

Daniel Cleland
Group Team Leader
Guest Relations
The first issue is that the Target store approached by Mr. Forrey wasn't able to provide a donation because Target corporate policy doesn't allow donations to be made at the local store level, only at the corporate level, and any such donation would have to be requested TARGET through Target's Community Giving grant program. (Mr. Forrey's original message says that his veterans' group was seeking "simply sponsorship endorsement for a 'memorial remembrance"; Target's reply indicates the group asked for a $100 contribution.) Still, the Target Guest Relations mea culpa response quoted above tends to confirm that nobody at either the local or the corporate level at Target told Mr. Forrey about the grant program (at least initially), and it seems a bit self-serving of Target to respond to the negative publicity he generated by pointing to their grant program when they'd already told Mr. Forrey that they "limit funding to the areas of arts and family violence prevention" and therefore his cause wouldn't qualify.

Still, to be thorough we e-mailed Mr. Forrey and asked him if his issue with Target had ever been resolved. He responded as follows:
They did send me a letter by e-mail telling me about the grant program which I have no problem with as many Companies do it that way. They told me to get a grant form and fill it out so I tried to print one and it would not let me have one as again we as veterans do not qualify for their grant program.
(If a grant applicant using Target's web site indicates that his request does not deal with the areas of arts and family violence prevention, he receives a "We are unable to consider your request" message rather than a link to a submittable application form.)

When we asked Mr. Forrey if he had filed a grant application anyway, he said, "I didn't submit a grant application as they would not give me one." This is a bit of a weak excuse, as the grant application form is readily available on Target's web site, and a travelling Vietnam memorial wall exhibit might very well have qualified for a grant in the arts or education category. Before a grant-seeker denounces Target for not considering Vietnam veterans "worthy of help" and urges that consumers shop elsewhere, it behooves him to at least go through the formal procedure of actually applying for a grant.

In any case, the stance that a company which won't financially contribute to someone's pet project doesn't "support" whatever cause is being represented and should therefore be boycotted by all like-minded people is a selfish one, and in this case a grossly unfair one. As the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) note on their website:
Although there has been a resurgence of patriotism and support for our nationís veterans, there have been various messages posted on the Internet that would lead people to believe that corporate America, specifically retail department stores, are falling short in supporting our nation's veterans.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars would like to remind all that the Internet culture weaves rumors and misinformation. Simply put, don't believe everything you read. For example, an e-mail message urging veterans to boycott Target has been circulating on the Internet because a solicitation request to support "The Moving Wall" was denied.

Target has a long-held corporate policy regarding donations. And in all fairness, Target contributes more than $2 million weekly to charitable causes and is one of the corporate sponsors for the 2003 tour of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund's "The Wall That Heals." "The Wall That Heals" is a traveling Vietnam Veterans memorial and museum that has a strong educational component for schools and serves to honor all our veterans.
Last updated:   26 March 2003
 
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