America Supports You: Organizations Join Forces for Military Families
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 2, 2008 Gift cards can make a stay away from home while a loved one recovers easier for servicemembers and their families.
A Bank of America Visa debit card bearing the Fisher House Foundation logo is displayed during a ceremony to present the first 400 such cards to the Brooke Army Medical Center Fisher Houses on Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Through a new partnership, Bank of America’s Military Segment has agreed to cover processing and other fees associated with purchasing gift cards, thereby stretching the Fisher House Foundation’s donors’ dollars. Photo courtesy of the Fisher House Foundation
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Fisher House Foundation, which provides living quarters at or near major military medical facilities for families visiting hospitalized servicemembers, frequently provides its residents with such cards, using donated money to purchase them.
“We have purchased American Express, (Army and Airforce Exchange Service), CertifiChecks, Target, Wal-Mart, Giant and Safeway [cards],” said Jim Weiskopf, executive vice president of communications for Fisher House Foundation. “As you know, some of these gift cards have fees associated with them.”
This fact meant that a portion of the donations used to purchase gift cards was used to cover fees that can run about $4.95 for a $100 card.
“We wanted either a Visa or a MasterCard debit card for universal use and found no way to avoid the service fees,” Weiskopf said.
In fact, the foundation capitalized on an American Express special platinum card, which waived processing fees. The foundation purchased a large quantity of the cards, saving a substantial amount of money. But specials like that don’t happen frequently enough to truly benefit organizations like the Fisher House, Weiskopf said.
Now, Bank of America’s Military Segment is helping fix that problem for the Fisher House Foundation.
As part of its continued support of the foundation, the bank has agreed to cover the cost of processing fees, setup charges and shipping fees on cards purchased by the Fisher House Foundation.
“The key point is that for donors, a dollar donated is worth a dollar given to a servicemember or his or her family,” Weiskopf said. “There are no administrative fees.”
Through the partnership, the Fisher House Foundation initially provided the four Fisher Houses at Brooke Army Medical Center on Fort Sam Houston, Texas, with 400 gift cards, each worth $50. Since that distribution, the Fisher House Foundation has bought an additional $220,000 worth of Bank of America gift cards and is in the process of distributing them.
“We continually look for ways to assist our military servicemembers and their families, and this is just one example of our continued commitment,” said Pat Rainey, Bank of America’s senior Military Segment executive.
The Fisher House Foundation is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad. Bank of America is a corporate supporter of the Defense Department program.