An e-mail allegedly penned by veteran Dick Forrey claims that Target, the national chain of discount department stores, refuses to donate to veteran organizations.
The e-mail appears to have been inspired by a conflict between a veteran and a local Target store that probably could have been handled better than it was. The original e-mail, which lamented Target’s lack of support for a specific project, has since morphed wildly to include claims that the company is owned by the French, suspends benefits for military reservists whom have been activated and only supports liberal charities.
Here’s the e-mail:
Date Collected: 12/17/2003
I never much cared for Target and now I know why.
Recently we asked the local TARGET store to be a proud sponsor of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall during our spring recognition event.
We received the following reply from the local TARGET management: “Veterans do not meet our area of giving. We only donate to the arts, social action groups, gay &lesbian causes, and education.”
So I’m thinking, if the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and veterans in general do not meet their donation criteria, then something is really wrong at this TARGET store. We were not asking for thousands of dollars, not even hundreds, just a small sponsorship for a memorial remembrance.
As a follow-up, I e-mailed the TARGET U.S. corporate headquarters and their response was the same. That’s their national policy.
Then I looked into the company further. They will not allow the Marines to collect for ‘Toys for Tots’ at any of their stores. And during the recent Iraq deployment, they would not allow families of employees who were called up for active duty to continue their insurance coverage while they were on military service. Then as I dig further, TARGET is a French-owned corporation.
Now, I’m thinking again. If TARGET can not support American Veterans, then why should I and my family support their stores by spending our hard earned American dollars and to have their profits sent to France. Without the American Vets, where would France be today?
Feel free to pass this along to whomever you want.
Veterans Helping Veterans
The version of the e-mail above is one I got in December 2003, but I first received this message back in February (yeah, I slacked on this one for a very long time … its recent resurgance got me off my butt). Target has been very good about responding to this hoax; here is their latest (1/6/2004) word on the topic:
TARGET CORPORATION SUPPORTS VETERANS
~ Company is not foreign-owned ~
Since 2002, Target has been the victim of a misleading e-mail campaign. This e-mail campaign grossly misrepresents our support of veterans and our soldiers. In fact, the author of the original e-mail recently contacted Target to express his regret for sending the initial e-mail in 2002 and to share his concern about the false information being attributed to him. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the Internet and e-mail communication, the original e-mail has been repeatedly and inaccurately modified and perpetuated by unknown writers.
The National Veterans of Foreign Wars posted a press release on their Web site on December 6, 2002 to help clarify this issue and show their support of Target at http://www.vfw.org/news/target.htm
Target Corporation is a publicly held U.S. company (NYSE: TGT). The company has been based in Minneapolis, Minnesota ever since its founding as The Dayton Company by businessman George Dayton in 1902. Target is not now, nor has it ever been, foreign-owned.
Our company has supported many charitable causes throughout our history, including veteransí organizations. For years, Target has donated funds and volunteer hours to local and national veteran and military organizations around the country.
†National Charitable Giving Examples:
- World War II Memorial
- “The Wall that Heals” 2003 National Tour, a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund outreach initiative that honors our veterans and has a strong educational component for schools. For more information, please visit the Web site at http://www.vvmf.org/index.cfm?SectionID=3.
- American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services
†In addition to supporting veteran and military organizations on a national scale, we also support local organizations.
†Local Charitable Giving Examples
- Yankee Air Force Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan
- Hays County Veterans in San Marcos, Texas
- Kenny Nickelson Memorial Foundation for Homeless Veterans in Manhattan Beach, California
Target Corporation is proud to count many veterans and military reservists among its more than 300,000 team members nationwide. To help support these team members, Target Corporation provides benefits for activated reservists, including pay differential, that surpass the benefits required by law. The Reserve Officers Association has recognized our company for these benefits, and the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve also lists Target on their Web site at http://www.esgr.org/employers/outstandingEmployers.asp.
Target team members who are activated for military service and were participating in optional dependent coverage at the time of their deployment are eligible to continue these benefits if they choose. Target Corporation also allows any Target team member to continue benefits as provided by the 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
Target gives to diverse causes that reflect all types of guests in a wide variety of communities. While every cause is worthy, Target receives thousands of grant requests every year and unfortunately, we are unable to grant funds or partner with every organization. For more information that describes the guidelines and the application process, visit any Target store and ask for the grants brochure or go to target.com and click on “Community Giving.”
Marines Toys for Tots:
Target greatly respects the good work of the Toys for Tots program and all the volunteers who make this program a success every year. Target has a longstanding policy of no-solicitation by any group or organization at our stores. This policy includes the use of our store locations as collection or drop off sites for any type of activity. The only organization that we currently allow to solicit at our stores during the holiday season is the Salvation Army, due to our longstanding relationship with this organization.
Target Corporation wholeheartedly supports U.S. veterans, reservists and active duty personnel. We are proud of our record and remain committed to continuing support of veteransí organizations as part of our overall charitable giving program.
The letter explains Target’s position rather nicely. The vetern that Target’s response refers to is Dick Forrey. According to the debunking on Snopes.com, he really did write the original version of this e-mail, but he’s now sorry that he did — he never meant to start a national boycott, and he’s horrified to see how someone’s bent his words to further their own goals.
And yes, his original e-mail has been twisted to further someone’s (or multiple someones) political ends — the bits about “gay and lesbian” donations, the company being owned by the French, and the complaints about benefits weren’t in the original version.
Here are some debunkings from other Web sites:
- Snopes.com: Target Practice: A very thorough debunking of this hoax, including an explanation of how it got started.
- About.com: Target Stores vs. Vietnam Veterans: Another good debunking, though not as complete at Snopes’.