Launched in 2014, the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund focuses on the development of domestic manufacturing with a specific goal of advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. Over the next five years, the fund will provide a total of $10 million in grants.
Walmart, the Walmart Foundation, and the United States Conference of Mayors recently released a third round of Requests for Proposals (RFP) for 501 (c) (3) organizations and public universities that are instrumentalities of a state government interested in receiving support for applied research from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund. For this cycle, the fund prioritized textile manufacturing activities with an emphasis on sustainability.
The application cycle is now closed. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible organizations, and awardees will be announced in the coming months.
In 2015, five leading research and academic institutions were awarded a total of $2.84 million in grants by the fund for work focused on innovations in textile manufacturing. U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant winners include
- Clemson University for energy and effluent reduction through innovative dyeing of polyester fabrics
- Oregon State University for environmentally conscious dyeing of fabrics using continuous digital printing and drying of biopigment inks
- University of Texas at Austin for on-loom fabric defect inspection using contact image sensors
- North Carolina State University for developing a non-stop tying-in process/approach to improve weaving efficiency
- Cornell University for recycling post-consumer textile waste and a raw material substitute for new textiles
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund?
The Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is a collaboration between Walmart, the Walmart Foundation, and the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). The Fund is focused on the development of U.S. manufacturing, with a specific goal of making it both easier and more competitive to make household goods in the U.S.
- How will the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund achieve this goal?
Funding research in the manufacturing space in focus areas identified as major challenges is another way Walmart and the Walmart Foundation can facilitate and accelerate U.S. manufacturing. The Fund will achieve this goal through grants that directly support applied research projects advancing innovative solutions to key challenges that, once addressed, can lower the cost of making consumer products in the U.S.
- Who is eligible to receive funding from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund?
Grants will be awarded to applicants working on qualifying projects and who satisfy the following minimum eligibility requirements:
- Applicant organization must be a (i) tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (other than a Type III supporting organization), or (ii) public university that is an instrumentality of a state government or any political subdivision thereof or the District of Columbia, including city and community colleges, for exclusively public purposes.
- At least 50% of project teams must be based in the U.S., with U.S.-based management
- Applicants must have the endorsement of a mayor of a USCM member city when submitting full proposals
- Projects should address a technological innovation that can advance U.S. manufacturing, specifically those listed in the “Focus Area” section of the RFP
- Projects must have a budget exceeding $100,000 per year Overhead costs must not exceed 10% of total budget Applicants should demonstrate a proven ability to execute the proposed Project via expertise and/or past experience.