Activision boss calls for more vet hires, endowment donations spike

Bobby Kotick urges companies to hire veterans. His Call of Duty Endowment gave out 480 percent more grants last tax year.

Activision Blizzard head Bobby Kotick called today for companies to help tackle the jobless rate of returning veterans by hiring them.

His call to arms, which ran on the Huffington Post, comes a day after the Labor Department reported on unemployment for post 9/11 veterans. It also comes the day after Kotick announced a new co-chairman for Activision's Call of Duty Endowment, which he helps run.

Former United States National Security Advisor General James L. Jones USMC (ret.) brings more than 40 years of experience in military and veterans affairs to the Call of Duty Endowment and will help lead its ongoing effort to address the issue of veterans' unemployment in the United States, according to the non-profit.

Last tax year, which ended on June 30, 2011, the endowment gave out more than a million dollars in grants to help veterans find jobs and get civilian training last. That's an increase of more than 480 percent from the previous year, according to paperwork filed with the Internal Revenue Service and obtained by Vox Games.

The IRS paperwork also shows that the organization spent $363,443 on "program operating costs," an increase from the previous year which showed only $40 in operating costs. A spokesperson told Vox Games that much of that money went toward hiring an external company that handles the grant process on behalf of the Call of Duty Endowment.

Call of Duty Endowment grants increased by 480 percent last tax year.

When asked about the spike in donations an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Vox Games that the endowment, which was announced on Veteran's Day in 2009, had to spend time establishing the infrastructure, finalizing the advisory council and accepting and reviewing proposals for grant recipients. Since it's formation, the spokesperson pointed out, the endowment has provided more than $1.5 million in grants and scholarships to veterans' organizations and colleges.

On Veterans Day 2011, Activision committed an additional $3 million donation to the endowment.

Kotick, the organization's other co-chair, writes that the endowment has used the money they've raised and donated to help 700 vets find jobs and has provided training and mentorship to another 2,500.

"We are pleased about the work that The Call of Duty Endowment has done to date in helping veterans find jobs," an Activision spokesperson told Vox Games. "However, with the troops leaving Iraq, a new struggle at home is emerging, as tens of thousands of veterans renew their lives as civilians. They are returning to a country stricken with staggering unemployment and stagnant economic growth. They face the real danger of joining a generation of veterans whose rate of joblessness significantly exceeds the population as a whole"

"As America Inc. works to recover and compete on a global scale, what better resource could we add to our workforce?" Kotick added in his Huffington Post story. "Our troops are home. It's time for American business to replace the yellow ribbons with help wanted signs."

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