Home Depot co-founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank are teaming up for the first time in nearly 20 years for a good cause. The two are creating a network for veterans and first responders to treat mental health issues.
The proposed project would create 20 treatment sites across the U.S. At these sites, military veterans and first responders can establish treatment plans for post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse problems, and a host of other issues. One thing the two philanthropists and businessmen want to tackle is traumatic brain injuries.
To get the program up and running, both Home Depot co-founders have pledged $20 million of their own money. They’ve also partnered with actor Gary Sinise, who advocates for veterans as well. The idea for the network occurred on Marcus’ 90th birthday, and the two have been busy laying the groundwork since.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Bernie Marcus again to support a cause that’s important to both of us, the well-being of the individuals in our armed forces and our first responders,” Blank told the AJC.
Home Depot Co-Founders Establish the Mental Health Network
Both Marcus and Blank retired from Home Depot in the early 2000s. Since then, the two men became among Georgia’s biggest givers in regards to charities and other humanitarian works. Marcus and Blank differ politically. (Marcus is a Republican, and Blank supports the Democrats). But they maintain a friendship and partnership despite their differences. Blank also owns the Atlanta Falcons as well.
“This is not a mental health issue. This is an issue of not being able to cope with the world as it is. And there’s been very few treatments that have been very successful. Our treatment we’ve had in place now for about eight years, Operation Share in Atlanta has operated and we’ve had hundreds of these people through our program,” Marcus told Fox News. “And I have to tell you something, the biggest problem we face is suicide. You’re not going to believe the number 20 every single day, 20 young men and women commit suicide every single day. That’s a tragedy.”
The Home Depot co-founders hope that their newly established network will service 10,000 people a year. They hope to reach this goal within the next five years. Both men hope to attract others to their cause and to grow the network even larger to reach more veterans and first responders.