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. The Fund was established to provide a total of $10 million in grants.

In January 2017, Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors announced that six leading research and academic institutions were awarded a total of nearly $3 million in grants by the Fund for their work focused on innovations in textile manufacturing.

While this was the third and final round of grants from the Fund, the grantee work will continue over the next several years.

The most recent grant recipients were selected for their ability to address two key challenges that currently present barriers to increased domestic manufacturing:

  1. Reducing the cost of textile manufacturing, including home textiles and apparel, in the U.S. by addressing obstacles throughout production
  2. Improving common manufacturing processes with broad application to many types of consumer products.

The 2017 Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant winners are:

  • Washington State University to establish an environmentally friendly process to recycle cotton waste by fiber regeneration using a wet spinning technique
  • North Carolina State University to create a universal and sustainable commercial textile dyeing method that doesn't use salt or alkali; doesn’t produce effluent; and produces more than 95% savings of both energy and water
  • Clemson University for development of sustainable polyester fibers that achieve a high level of water and oil repellency
  • Oregon State University to develop a sustainable, cost-effective dyeing and printing of smart fabrics process
  • Texas Tech University to support research on various aspects of textile manufacturing, dyeing efficiency and specialty finishes
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell to develop magnetic dyeing technology to address the technical and environmental issues of current dyeing techniques

Learn more about previous winners announced in 2016 and 2014.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund?

The Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is designed to provide grants in support of applied research projects advancing innovative solutions to key challenges that have the potential to lower the cost of making consumer products in the U.S. The fund is a collaboration between Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors who strive to find innovative ways to grow local economies.

What is the specific pledge of the Fund?

In 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation pledged $10 million over five years to fund the development of domestic manufacturing with a specific goal of advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S. This current round of grants will complete the $10 million commitment.

How many funding cycles have occurred?

There have been a total of three funding cycles. The 2016-17 cycle is the third and final cycle with the entirety of the $10 million allocated to various research projects.

What is the overarching goal of the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund?

The U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund hopes to help jumpstart a more far-reaching revitalization of U.S. manufacturing, driving job creation and a stronger U.S. economy. Support for this fund complements Walmart’s larger commitment to purchase approximately $250 billion in products from U.S. manufacturers that support the creation of American jobs.