Pilot Flying J and Bunker Labs partner to empower military veteran entrepreneurs in Tennessee and beyond
In honor of Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Pilot Flying J is donating $125,000 to Bunker Labs with $25,000 applied directly toward expanding the chapter in Tennessee, part of a three-year plan to donate $75,000 to the state chapter.
Bunker Labs, a national not-for-profit organization headquartered in Chicago and built by military veteran entrepreneurs, empowers other military veterans to start and grow businesses. A veteran-founded company, Pilot Flying J’s donation will aid Bunker Labs in its expansion across the country.
“It’s both an honor and a responsibility to show recognition and provide resources to the men and women who protect our freedom,” said James A. Haslam II, founder and chairman of Pilot Flying J and a veteran of the U.S. Army. “I hope the partnership with Bunker Labs will result in opportunities for our veterans, in helping them settle into and prosper in their post-military life. We’re humbled to be a part of this and to help support our veterans with Bunker Labs.”
Through local chapters across the U.S., Bunker Labs has helped to launch more than 360 companies since 2014, creating more than 1,700 new jobs in the process.
“I believe military veterans are out there with great ideas, and we need to be the catalyst and support system for them to bring their dreams to life,” said Todd Connor, Bunker Labs founder and Chief Executive Officer. “What we’re trying to do is to reach out and find military veterans who don’t otherwise know this is an option for them. This grant and partnership with Pilot Flying J allows us to expand our reach to support more veterans and to create the spark that this is in fact possible for them.”
Pilot Flying J’s philanthropic efforts aim to make an impact in several important areas, with one of the key focuses being on organizations and programs that support and create opportunities for veterans and the U.S. armed forces. Haslam completed service in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (1952-1955), which included deployment to Korea. Over the years, Pilot Flying J has also supported other military-focused beneficiaries, some of which include Wreaths Across America, the National Desert Storm War Memorial and the National Museum of the United States Army.