Big home improvement stores are realizing that they can do more to make the world a better place than sell kitchen sinks. Home Depot is the biggest player in this charitable field, and, most notably, it's currently pledging $80 million dollars over the next five years to serve veterans in various ways.
Atlanta is home turf for Home Depot, and the area has been showered with tons of grants over the past seven years from the home improvement giant. But Home Depot hasn’t stopped there. From Florida to Virginia and California to Colorado, Home Depot funds housing projects focused on veterans with both grants and donated products, as well as labor donated by company employees.
As another way to serve veterans, Home Depot Foundation Executive Director Gregory Gavin recently announced a new focus on projects to repair and improve American Legion buildings across the nation. “Hey look, The American Legion is important to us. It’s important to our communities,” he said at 96th National Convention of The American Legion.
As a side note, it's worth keeping in mind that all of Home Depot's co-founders have become major philanthropists.
Meanwhile, Lowe’s also gives at a pretty high level. Their focus is not on building, but on maintaining outdoor beauty in communities. In fact, Lowe’s just dropped $1 million on Keep America Beautiful, with the plan to use this money in 27 different communities to build community garden, plant trees, and lead disaster restoration and recycling programs.
Lowe’s left some of its giving up to voting consumers to decide where the money would go, and it turns out folks most wanted money to go to national parks and forests. Water.org, a charity with a worldwide focus on water and sanitation, also ranked in the top four of people’s choices for Lowe’s giving.
Lowe's is also a great friend to local schools, offering a grant program that gives cash for supplies and equipment schools need.
True Value Hardware Stores is somewhat new to the national-scale giving scene. It chose a national charitable partner for the first time in 2014, the Boys & Girls Club of America. The True Value Foundation is focused on the young folks and, though it has supported the local Cotter Boys & Girls Club in its home state of Illinois to the tune of $4 million since 1996, it is now going national for young folks in need.
True Value also adds a splash of color to its giving by donating 40 gallons of paint to 100 public schools every year. On top of that, it gives scholarships to children of its affiliates and retailers and has dropped more than $1 million into students’ wallets since 2000 through this program.
While operating on different scales, all three home improvement stores are making their marks on their communities. Hopefully, their charitable giving will keep “building” every year.