Call of Duty Endowment

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Call of Duty Endowment
Type501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PurposeVeterans services
HeadquartersSanta Monica, California
United States, United Kingdom
Key people
  • Dan Goldenberg, executive director
  • Bobby Kotick, founder and co-chairman
  • General James L. Jones, USMC (Ret.), co-chairman

The Call of Duty Endowment (CODE) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation co-created by Bobby Kotick, CEO of gaming company Activision Blizzard, to help U.S., and later, UK military veterans find high quality careers. The Endowment funds non-profit organizations that help former service members transition to civilian careers after their military service and raises awareness of the value veterans bring to the workplace.[1] The name of the Endowment is a reference to the video game series Call of Duty.


Kotick and Brian Kelly, chairman of the Activision Blizzard board of directors, co-founded the Call of Duty Endowment in 2009 to address the high unemployment rate for young U.S. veterans who had served in post-9/11 conflicts.[2]

Kotick said the idea for the Endowment came from a conversation with former Veteran's Administration Secretary Jim Nicholson. At the time, Kotick was interested in funding arts programs for veterans, but Nicholson advised him that the most effective way to help veterans was to find them jobs.[3] Kotick said that the high unemployment rate among veterans was unacceptable and should be “far less than the national average, not more,”[4] and that veterans “bring tremendous value to the workplace.”[5]

The Endowment made its first donation of $125,000 in 2009 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America to help open a vocational rehabilitation center.[4] From 2009 to 2011, the Endowment offered several small and medium-sized grants to nonprofit organizations, but the board became concerned that they could not measure the impact of the grants and paused grant making.[3] In 2013, Dan Goldenberg, a Navy veteran and experienced business executive, was hired as executive director. The Endowment changed its strategy to only target supporting organizations with a proven track record of placing veterans into high-quality jobs.[3]

In 2013, the Endowment started the "Seal of Distinction" grant program, which identifies and recognizes non-profit organizations that are successful in placing veterans in quality jobs. The Endowment worked with Deloitte to develop a rigorous assessment process to measure the effectiveness, efficiency and integrity of the nonprofits that apply.[3][2]  Organizations that receive a Seal of Distinction are also eligible for a $30,000 unrestricted grant to use in their veteran job placement activities, and are then eligible for future funding.[6]

In 2017, the Endowment announced that it would expand its efforts to include veterans in the United Kingdom.[7] RFEA and Walking With The Wounded were the first UK organizations to be awarded the Seal of Distinction and grants.[8]

According to the organization website, primary grantees include AMVETS, Vet Jobs Powered by Corporate America Supports You, Hire Heroes USA, JVS SoCal, Operation: Job Ready Veterans, The Forces Employment Charity (RFEA), Salvation Army Community Integration Services, Still Serving Veterans, US VETS, Veterans Inc., Walking With The Wounded, and Workshops for Warriors.[9]


Veterans often face barriers transitioning to civilian careers because their military experience does not transfer easily to civilian jobs.[10] The Call of Duty Endowment funds organizations that help veterans with resume preparation, career coaching, mock interviews, and other skill building to help them enter the civilian workforce.[5] The Endowment also works with employers to show that hiring veterans makes good business sense and that veterans make valuable additions to the workplace.[5]

In 2018, the Endowment announced that it reached its goal of funding the placement of 50,000 veterans into meaningful employment a year ahead of the 2019 deadline it had set.[11] Then the Endowment set a new goal of placing 100,000 U.S. and U.K. veterans into jobs by 2024.[12] In 2019, the Endowment placed more than 11,661 veterans in jobs with an average starting salary of $60,733.[13] As of September 2020, the organization's website reports that it has supported and funded the placement of more than 72,000 veterans into jobs since 2009.[14]

Goldenberg has said that the Seal of Distinction model of veteran job placement costs one sixth of the amount that it costs the U.S. Department of Labor to place a veteran in a job.[15] In 2019, the Endowment reported an average cost of $499 per placement.[16]


The Call of Duty Endowment is funded with donations from Activision Blizzard, gamers, corporate partners and individual donors. Activision Blizzard funds all of the operating costs for the Endowment, so 100% of donations go directly to grantees to fund veteran job placements.[17]

The Endowment raises money through promotions and in-game merchandise in the Call of Duty game series.[18][19] It also partners with retailers such as GameStop, which have historically donated a portion of games sold to the Endowment and raised funds through in-store donation programs,[20][21] and through efforts with celebrities such as actor Josh Duhamel and Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones.[22][23] In 2019, the Endowment launched the #HireHonor campaign to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The campaign featured a call to action video from former U.S. Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis. General Mattis urged the video's viewers to honor veterans by hiring them and said that combat veterans are great assets to the workforce.[24]

In 2019, the U.S. Army Esports team partnered with the Endowment to launch the CODE Bowl, an event where teams of popular streamers and members of the Army Esports team competed in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to raise awareness about the value of military service. Streamers also used their channels to raise funds for the Endowment.[1]

In May 2020, Activision Blizzard donated $2 million to the Call of Duty Endowment to help fund emerging needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.[25] The company also launched the Fearless Pack as an in-game purchase in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone with all proceeds going to the Endowment.[25] The organization stated they saw a 50 percent increase in calls for assistance during the pandemic, and advocated for employing veteran medics and hospital corpsmen as emergency medical technicians and paramedics.[26]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Received Golden Halo Awards for Best Digital Campaign in 2016 and 2017.[27][28]
  • Received Golden Halo Gold Award in Best Social Service Initiative in 2018.[29]
  • Received the Cynopsis Social Good Award in the category of Nonprofit/Corporate Partnership in 2017.[30]
  • Received a Vetty Award, presented by the Academy of the United States Veterans Foundation, in the Employment category.[31]
  • In 2020, the #HireHonor campaign was recognized as a Webby Awards Honoree in the Public Service and Activision Category.
  • Guidestar awarded the Endowment the Platinum Seal of Transparency in 2017–2020.[32]

The Endowment was profiled in Uniform Champions: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Excellent Assistance for Veterans, written by Thomas Meyer in 2018.[33]


  1. ^ a b "Call of Duty Endowment and U.S. Army create Code Bowl esports event for armed forces". VentureBeat. December 5, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Gutierrez, Carlos Miguel (March 27, 2017). "CEO Bobby Kotick on Inspiring Play, Competition and Community". Huffington Post. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Uniform Champions Case Study" (PDF). Philanthropy Roundtable. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-10-30.
  4. ^ a b O'Keefe, Ed (2009-11-09). "Game developer's newest 'Call of Duty' helps veterans find jobs". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  5. ^ a b c "How 'Call of Duty' Changed the Lives of Veterans". Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  6. ^ "Team Courage Wins Call of Duty: Modern Warfare U.S. Army eSports CODE Bowl". ScreenRant. 2019-12-14. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  7. ^ "The Call of Duty Endowment expands its veterans charity to the U.K." Gamecrate. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  8. ^ UK Charities Added to Call of Duty Endowment - IGN, retrieved 2020-10-27
  9. ^ "Call of Duty: Endowment | Partners". Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  10. ^ Wolfgang, Ben. "'A fair chance': Veterans blocked from civilian jobs by patchwork of red tape". The Washington Times. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  11. ^ "Call of Duty Endowment reaches 50,000 veteran employment placement goal early". Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  12. ^ Barber, James (2019-11-11). "Jim Mattis Answers the 'Call of Duty'". Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  13. ^ "Call of Duty Endowment placed 11,000 veterans into jobs in 2019". VentureBeat. 2020-03-05. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  14. ^ "Call of Duty Endowment | About". Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  15. ^ "Call of Duty Endowment is increasing job placement for veterans". VentureBeat. 2019-06-18. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  16. ^ "Call of Duty Endowment placed 11,000 veterans into jobs in 2019". VentureBeat. 2020-03-05. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  17. ^ Paynter, Ben (2019-04-05). "Call of Duty's virtual soldiers are helping real ones get back to work". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  18. ^ EDT, Steven Asarch On 5/22/20 at 1:00 PM (2020-05-22). ""Call of Duty" Endowment Fearless Pack celebrates Military Appreciation Month". Newsweek. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  19. ^ Snider, Mike. "New 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' pack supports veterans through Activision's endowment". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  20. ^ "Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare Release: Pre-Order Bonuses, Dark Edition, And More". GameSpot. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  21. ^ "Call of Duty Endowment and GameStop Partner to Help Veterans". PlayStation LifeStyle. 2019-07-01. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  22. ^ Lanier, Liz (2018-11-09). "Call of Duty Endowment and Josh Duhamel Partner for Veterans' Benefit". Variety. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  23. ^ Meinert, Kendra. "Packers' Aaron Jones teams up with 'Call of Duty' to help veterans during the pandemic". Green Bay Press-Gazette. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  24. ^ "Call of Duty Endowment's 'Hire. Honor' campaign aims to get veterans back to work". VentureBeat. 2019-11-09. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  25. ^ a b "Activision Blizzard donates $2 million to Call of Duty Endowment for veterans jobs". VentureBeat. 2020-05-01. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  26. ^ "As veterans face heightened unemployment risk, 'Call of Duty' lends a hand". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2020-05-23.
  27. ^ "2016 Halo Award Best Digital Campaign". Engage for Good. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  28. ^ "2017 Halo Award Best Digital Campaign". Engage for Good. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  29. ^ "2018 Halo Award Best Social Service Campaign". Engage for Good. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  30. ^ "2017 Social Good Awards - Results". Cynopsis Media. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  31. ^ "Vettys Winners". AUSV | Vettys. Retrieved 2020-10-27.
  32. ^ "The Call of Duty Endowment". Guidestar. Archived from the original on 2020-10-31.
  33. ^ "Uniform Champions". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved 2020-10-27.

External links[edit]