Bank of America has been named a 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award recipient, the highest recognition given to companies for support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. “We recognize the unique skills and experiences that National Guard and Reserve employees bring to our company, and that’s why we place such value on attracting, developing and retaining them,” said Andrea Smith, Global Human Resources executive at Bank of America. “We employ some 6,000 veterans, Guard and Reserve members, 1,600 of whom were hired last year. We’re working hard to increase that number, and the level of support we provide.” Freedom Award winners are recognized for their implementation of formal policies and informal initiatives that go above and beyond in assisting and encouraging National Guard and Reserve service. In 2012, Bank of America established the Military Affairs Advisory Group, an internal team dedicated to coordinating programs across the company focused on supporting Guard and Reserve employees, and veterans. In addition, the company works with these employees through the Military Support & Assistance Group, a resource that creates opportunities for advancement and leadership development through networking, mentoring and information forums. Bank of America also supports the military through contributions to service-focused nonprofit organizations such as the George W. Bush Institute Military Service Initiative and Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), and by providing differentiated banking services for service members. In 2012, the company broadened its efforts by announcing a three-year commitment to make up to 1,000 properties available to nonprofits and local government programs that provide homes for veterans and first responders. “I commend and thank the 15 recipients of the 2013 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for providing exceptional support to our Citizen Warriors,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “So many of our Nation’s employers are finding ways to contribute to our Nation’s security, but these employers stand out for their commitment to our Guardsmen and Reservists. They have the gratitude and thanks of the entire Department of Defense.”
A national selection board of senior defense department officials, business leaders and prior awardees selected the 15 Freedom Award recipients from a pool of nearly 2,900 nominations submitted earlier this year by National Guard and Reserve service members. Winning companies will be honored at the 18th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 26, 2013.Bank of America recently relaunched its successful “Express Your Thanks” campaign, with the goal of donating up to $1 million – allocated evenly between Welcome Back Veterans and WWP – to support the critical needs of service members and veterans. Individuals can participate in the campaign by taking a photo, creating a video or writing a message of support and sharing it on www.bankofamerica.com/troopthanks. Alternatively, they can post on Twitter and tag with #troopthanks. “From hiring practices to philanthropic endeavors, we’re walking the walk when it comes to military support,” said Jeff Cathey, senior military affairs executive at Bank of America. “Our gratitude toward those who serve is reflected in our actions, and a big part of who we are as a company.” About the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom AwardThe Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 to recognize exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees from the employer community. In the years since, 175 employers have been honored with the award. Established as a Department of Defense agency 40 years ago, The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce. For more information about the Freedom Award and this year’s recipients, visit www.FreedomAward.mil. Bank of AmericaBank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. We serve approximately 52 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,400 retail banking offices and approximately 16,300 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.