HASTINGS, Minn., March 10, 2015 // PRNewswire // -- Anytime Fitness is partnering with Tee It Up for the Troops, a national non-profit organization, in a first-of-its-kind effort to help military veterans open their own gyms and provide additional employment opportunities for fellow veterans. Dubbed "Operation Heartfirst™," Tee It Up For the Troops will offer a $125,000 grant and a $125,000 loan to a select number of honorably discharged veterans for the purpose of assisting with initial start-up capital to be used for the development of an Anytime Fitness franchise. Anytime Fitness' Heartfirst Charitable Foundation™ will provide a grant to Tee It Up for the Troops, which will then offer this opportunity to approved veterans, National Guard members, or reservists, as well as oversee the selection process and management of logistics.
"Operation Heartfirst™ is our way of saying thank you to all of the fine service men and women who've made tremendous sacrifices for our country," said Dave Mortensen, President of Anytime Fitness, LLC. "Currently, about 10% of our franchisees are military veterans. We'd like to see that number grow even higher. Veterans are some of our best and most successful club operators."
Tee It Up for the Troops will accept online applications from March 16 – May 1, 2015, via http://www.teeitupforthetroops.org/anytime-fitness-veteran-franchise-opportunity/. Among other key criteria, interested veterans must have "a passion for fitness and community engagement."
"We are looking for candidates who are eager to help others lead healthier lifestyles and who continue to serve and support the U.S. military and its veterans," said Tim Wegscheid, President of Tee It Up for the Troops. "This first opportunity involves an Anytime Fitness gym to be located in Fayetteville, NC, near Fort Bragg. The selected franchisee will determine the precise location of the gym."
Anytime Fitness, LLC has also agreed to waive its initial franchise fee and ongoing royalty payments related to this opportunity. Consideration will be given by the selection committee to veterans with service-related disabilities.
"The unemployment rate for military veterans is significantly higher than the national average," said Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, LLC. "That's just not right. Our hope is that Operation Heartfirst™ will not only help veterans operate their own businesses, but also provide jobs for other vets as club managers and personal trainers – for many years to come."
The first Operation Heartfirst recipient will be selected by June 1st with a club opening date expected by the end of 2015.
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Ranked #2 on Entrepreneur's prestigious Franchise 500® list, Anytime Fitness is the fastest-growing gym franchise in the world, with nearly 3,000 gyms serving more than 2,000,000 members on five continents. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Anytime Fitness prides itself on providing its members with convenient fitness options and friendly, personal service in well-maintained facilities which feature top-quality exercise equipment. Gyms are now open in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Grand Cayman, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Qatar, India, Chile, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines. All franchised gyms are individually owned and operated. Join one gym and use them all. Members also enjoy free access to AnytimeHealth.com, the most comprehensive wellness website available.
Tee It Up for the Troops, Inc, is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves U.S. military veterans and their families. Based in Minnesota, Tee it Up for the Troops inspires communities across the country to organize golf events to raise funds for partnering veterans service organizations who deliver critically needed services to military families. These locally-supported events greatly assist returning service members to successfully reintegrate into their communities. Established in 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted over 300 events in more than 30 states and has donated over $5 million to more than 200 various organizations serving veterans across the country. In addition, through their REUNION initiative, Tee It Up for the Troops has reunited more than 125 combat altered veterans who were separated due to battlefield injuries or changes in rehabilitation status. Through these reunions, participating veterans enhance their transition process into productive and fulfilling civilian lifestyles.
SOURCE Anytime Fitness