American servicemen and women communicate with loved ones on donated iPads, receive care packages and get access to important health screenings, all thanks to three charitable organizations supported by Diageo. The premium drinks company — in partnership with iPads for Soldiers, Packages from Home and the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago — has committed to funding and supporting volunteer efforts that benefit soldiers abroad and at home.
"Our Salute The Troops program is a three-pronged approach that encompasses commercial sales, charitable contributions and research initiatives," says Marc Strachan, vice president of multicultural marketing at Diageo. In this video, Strachan and Diageo Executive Vice President Guy Smith explain what the partnership means to the company, and how it helps change the lives of those in the military. “Our troops have given so much to our country. These programs are intended to make their lives better,” said Smith.
iPads for Soldiers is a grassroots operation that raises money to send iPads to troops in Afghanistan and to injured soldiers in military hospitals, enabling them to access the Internet, stay in touch with their families and learn new skills. Packages from Home supplies care and comfort items, tailoring packages to the needs of individual soldiers. The newest program, a screening and brief intervention training tool through NORC, helps identify people with risky alcohol patterns at military health clinics around the world and provides them with crucial support.
"Diageo makes a great partner for iPads for Soldiers because they actually get involved right there; we've met them many times at military hospitals saying thank you to the soldiers, going in and taking time out of their day," says Winnie Pritchett, founder of iPads for Soldiers. "They're more than a company, they're a company that cares."
"With Diageo's help, NORC is working closely with the U.S. Army to identify military personnel whose risky alcohol use puts them, their units, and their families at much greater risk of alcohol related problems," said Eric Goplerud, Senior Vice President and Director of the Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and Criminal Justice department at NORC at the University of Chicago. "We understand the stress our military personnel are under which is why Diageo is a great partner in producing a program that also provides brief counseling sessions. This counseling helps personnel modify their risky behavior and connects them to treatment and ongoing support services if necessary. We are lucky that Diageo understands the need to deal with risky alcohol use."
To learn more about Diageo's social responsibility efforts, go to Diageo.com.