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02/01/2021

Walmart Gives Out 1st Round of Racial Equity Grants

Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Walmart Gives Out 1st Round of Racial Equity Grants
This past June, Walmart made a commitment to contribute $100 million over five years through Center for Racial Equity to help address racial disparities in the United States.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are distributing $14.3 million to 16 nonprofit organizations in the first round of its June 2020 commitment to contribute $100 million over five years through a Center for Racial Equity to help address racial disparities in the United States.

“Walmart has made a commitment to advancing racial equity, finding areas where we, as a company, can best contribute our resources and expertise to change society’s systems that perpetuate racism and discrimination,” noted Kirstie Sims, senior director of the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity. “We are excited to announce our initial investment to these deserving nonprofits that help advance racial equity through their organizations every day.”

The center’s mission is to complement and extend the societal impact of Walmart business initiatives to further racial equity in the nation’s financial, health, criminal justice and education systems.

The first grant distributions will go to the following organizations:

  • American Heart Association (AHA), Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund ($5 million): AHA’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund is an initiative to improve health equity by supporting community-driven entrepreneurial solutions addressing social determinants of health. The foundation’s investment will provide resources to the fund to make about 40 loans and grants to community-based organizations and entrepreneurs in Atlanta and Chicago who are working to boost access to affordable healthy food in communities of color.
  • U.S. Vaccine Adoption Grants ($2.75 million): The foundation has provided grants to the following organizations that are positioned to help address education needs regarding COVID-19 vaccine uptake in diverse communities: NAACP Empowerment Programs, Inc.UnidosUSJohns Hopkins Center for American Indian HealthAssociation of Asian-Pacific Community Health Organizations, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander PhysiciansAsian & Pacific Islander American Health ForumInterfaith Youth Core and The Conference of National Black Churches.
  • Student Freedom Initiative (SFI) ($1 million): SFI provides alternative financing for historically Black college and university juniors and seniors majoring in STEM to help reduce their student loans/debt. The foundation’s investment will support the operating costs associated with the planning and launch of SFI with an initial cohort in the fall 2021 academic year.
  • Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) ($500,000): The grant will enable HCZ to operationalize The Take on Race Coalition’s 1 Million Connected Devices Initiative, enabling two key components of this work: providing 1,250 low-income students with remote-learning equipment and internet access, and providing resources to HCZ for policy work that will support sustainable solutions to the digital divide.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) ($100,000): The King Center prepares global citizens to create a more just, humane, peaceful and equitable world using Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology. The foundation’s grant will help support two of the center’s programs: Nonviolent 365 Education & Training, an initiative designed to help participants understand and apply their lives to Dr. King’s six steps and principles of nonviolence, and the Camp NOW Leadership Academy, a multiyear program that helps low-income youths aged 13-19 experience and prepare for academic and career success.
  • Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) ($2 million): LISC is a nonprofit with strong community partnerships that connect public and private resources with underinvested places and people. The investment will support LISC’s Chicago Project 10X work, a strategy to greatly advance racial equity across health, wealth and opportunity.
  • Echoing Green (EG) ($1.5 million): EG is an organization that develops diverse future global leaders in social innovation, invests in seed funding and providing support to their emerging social enterprises, and builds leadership capacity through a renowned, competitive fellowship program. The foundation’s investment in support of EG’s Racial Equity Philanthropic Fund will help support social entrepreneurs in communities across the country to grow the organizations they lead and to advance their work to address issues related to racial equity.
  • Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) ($1 million): ABFE is a national membership organization that promotes effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities. The foundation’s investment will bolster ABFE’s capacity to coordinate people, information, investments and practices that further racial equity.
  • PolicyLink ($500,000): PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity. Walmart’s grant will help support the launch of the Racial Equity through Corporate Actions Initiative, which will spur the creation and adoption of corporate standards on racial equity that will be freely available to companies.

“When we address racial gaps in health, wealth and opportunity, we strengthen our communities and make our economy work better for everyone,” said Maurice A. Jones, president and CEO of New York-based LISC. “That’s why innovative collaborations between business and philanthropy are so important, especially with partners like Walmart. Working together, we can fuel strategies that break down systemic barriers and help build a broadly shared prosperity throughout the country.”

Since making its racial equity pledge last June, Walmart has made additional moves in this area. This past September, the retailer issued its inaugural culture, diversity and inclusion midyear report, shifting from an annual to twice-per-year format. The company also revealed a partnership with North Carolina A&T State University, the United States’ largest and top-ranked HBCU, on the Equity in Education Initiative, a program that aims to increase the number of African- American college graduates in careers in fields critical to the nation’s workforce. 

In November, the retailer opened two new Walmart Health centers in Chicago that provide affordable and accessible health care for members of the community, as part of a commitment to rebuild and reopen four area supercenters with more services, including Walmart Academies for associate training and ongoing learning. In December, Walmart joined the New York-based One Ten Coalition, a group of American companies committed to upskill, hire and promote 1 million Black Americans over the next decade into family-sustaining jobs with advancement opportunities.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide.

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