january 28, 2013

Record-breaking “Jeans for Troops” Fundraising Drives in 2012 Raise over $175,000 for Returning Veterans

Schools and businesses from all over New Jersey raised funds for organization to benefit veterans affected by Superstorm Sandy
Students from Franklin Middle School in Franklin, NJ participate in the "Jeans for Troops" program during Veterans Day of 2012 to benefit the GI Go Fund

NEWARK, NJ-The state of New Jersey took part in an important widespread movement to help their returning veterans in 2012, teaming up to contribute to the most successful fundraising drives in the history of the GI Go Fund. Showing their patriotism during the two most important military-specific holidays, over 600 companies, schools, municipalities, and government agencies took part in the GI Go Fund’s “Jeans for Troops” Drive and raised over $175,000 for veterans.

During both Memorial Day and Veterans Day of 2012, employers, schools, and government agencies across the state allowed employees to wear jeans to work for a $5 donation to help the GI Go Fund further its mission of providing veterans with help finding employment and educational opportunities, homelessness assistance, and access to critical health and financial benefits.

The Memorial Day drive was heavily promoted by the NJ State Assembly, which passed a proclamation formally declaring May 24, 2012 as “Jeans for Troops Day”. Members of the Assembly also wore jeans themselves as they voted that day, making a contribution of over $1,500 in support of veterans.

“I am thrilled to see members from both sides of the aisle come together to support our veterans,” said Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, Chair of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. “Our veterans have given so much for us, and it is great to have the members of the Assembly show their support for our men and women in honor of Memorial Day.”

The drives were also sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), who encouraged all of its member schools and teachers to participate in the “Jeans for Troops” drive. Over 550 schools and school districts participated in this fundraising drive for our veterans. In addition, the NJEA made a $5,000 contribution to the drive to help assist our veterans.

“NJEA is proud to sponsor the GI Go Fund’s Jeans for Troops program,” said NJEA President Barbara Keshishian. “Our members, many of whom are veterans themselves, are committed to supporting our troops as a way of thanking them for their service.”

The Veterans Day event was a particularly unique success story, as many of the schools who signed up to participate for the event scheduled for November 7 were thrown into a difficult situation when Hurricane Sandy hit just days earlier. Over 100 schools were forced to delay the event for days or even weeks, but they were determined to contribute, helping raise over $75,000 for Veterans Day despite the difficulties.

“This program has been truly remarkable,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “People from all across the state did an unbelievable job in helping us do the work we need to do for our veterans. Veterans are coming back home now, and they are coming back to a very rough terrain for vets looking to land on their feet. We need the community to come together and recognize the needs that veterans face, which is why I am so thrilled to see thousands of participants from all across the state and region stepping up to help the neighbors who left to protect them. Veterans need a movement behind them in order to solve these issues, and with the help of the NJEA, the NJ Assembly, and the hundreds of employers who will participate, we have the chance to make a significant impact on the lives of our veterans.”

Over 600 employers, schools, and government agencies participate, including Johnson & Johnson, PSEG, AXA Equitable, Marsh & McLennan, Community Education Centers, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission, Cablevision, Advance Realty Group, WithumSmith + Brown, Community Solutions, and Gibbons.