An e-mail circulating the Internet claiming Target stores refuse to donate to veteran charities, saving their money for “social actions,” is not true.
The e-mail contends:
We asked our local Target store to be a sponsor of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall during our spring recognition event. We received back a reply from Target management that “veterans do not meet our area of giving. We only donate to the areas of arts, social actions 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.
The note goes on to say the corporate office of Target gave a similar anti-veteran response. It also claims the company is French-owned, which is also false.
The author, Dick Forrey, a member of a Vietnam veterans’ group, encourages readers not to patronize Target stores due to the company’s apparent actions.
However, according to Snopes.com, a hoax-research site, the e-mail is misleading and comes to incorrect conclusions. The website publishes a letter from Target explaining that individual stores do not give cash donations to any causes. The company’s policy is for the main office to make all judgments on grants, while individual stores are allowed to give only gift cards to local causes.
The representative from Target says the local store Forrey contacted erred by not providing him with grant application material when he inquired.
“The initial response of the team member at the store and the reply from our corporate office are inconsistent with the respectful manner in which we want all of our guests to be treated. We are truly sorry for this oversight and the resulting confusion that has taken place,” the letter said.
Said Snopes in its analysis: “The Target Corporation donates a tremendous amount of money to charitable causes every year, and in both 2002 and 2003 they topped Forbes magazine’s list of ‘America’s Most Philanthropic Companies.’ Among the many organizations to which Target donates are veteran-related causes, including exhibits like the one for which Mr. Forrey was seeking a contribution.”
Forrey says he regrets how his initial e-mail has been changed and blown out of proportion.
“I made a mistake on this one, and I’ve learned a hard lesson – that’s for sure,” he told Snopes. “What started out as a message for the members in our organization has turned into a hate-type thing. I never wanted to start any national boycott. I just wish it would all stop.
“Some people have used my words and perpetuated lies. It’s sad that some of these people would use veterans as a way to push their own political views. I’ve sent out a retraction, and no one pays any attention.”
The latest version of the e-mail adds that Target only gives to “gay and lesbian causes,” a line that did not appear in the original note.