When Sam Walton opened his first Walmart, it was strongly grounded in its local community. Today, Walmart’s 2.3 million associates are residents, neighbors, friends and relatives in thousands of communities around the world.
Walmart aims to strengthen the health of our communities not only by providing products, services and jobs through our retail business, but also by facilitating associate volunteerism along with local donations from our suppliers, the Walmart Foundation, customers and associates.
We believe that strengthening local communities creates a virtuous circle of value for business as well as society. Inclusive, vibrant communities support business growth, which creates additional opportunities for associates. In turn, having associates and customers who are better engaged leads to more inclusive and vibrant communities.
Supporting community engagement
In addition to investing in local communities by providing jobs, building stores and sourcing products, we support efforts by our associates and others to foster more inclusive, vibrant communities. We provide that support in a variety of ways, including grants, in-kind donations and participation in local initiatives.
Walmart donated more than $100 million in community grants in FY2017.
Just as diversity and inclusion build stronger and more vibrant organizations, we believe those same elements contribute to stronger communities. Following the incidents that occurred earlier in FY2017 in the U.S. communities of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; St. Paul, Minnesota and Tulsa, Oklahoma, we received numerous inquiries from our associates and community organizations asking what we could do to help build bridges across communities. In response, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provided more than $500,000 in grants to support community cohesion in FY2017.
Our efforts included supporting programs to encourage dialogue in some of the affected communities. For example, the Walmart Foundation made a grant of $75,000 to the Urban League of Greater New Orleans to help bring together law enforcement and the community. The League started with a town hall to discuss concerns regarding law enforcement and the criminal justice system, as well as concerns arising from a shooting incident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For example, the Walmart Foundation also invested $75,000 with the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul, Minnesota to fund outreach to youth and connect them with resources and organizations, including education, job skills and training, counseling and financial resources and assistance. The goal of the program is to help reduce juvenile crime rates and build relationships between youth and other community stakeholders.
Walmart has two global headquarters, which support our operations in 28 countries around the world— Bentonville, Arkansas, and the San Francisco Bay Area, California. We’re proud to be a part of these thriving communities and to give back to them.
- Northwest Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas has been home to Walmart since Sam Walton opened his first store in Rogers, Arkansas. Today, we operate all over the world, but we still call northwest Arkansas home. In FY2017, we invested more than $10 million to support local organizations enhancing hunger relief systems, public health programs and access to arts and recreation. In FY2017, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation made a multi-year $8 million commitment toward the construction of the first pediatric health care campus in the region, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Northwest, serving children in an 11-county area.
- The San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco Bay Area, where many of our eCommerce associates are located, has been another global hometown since 2000. Here we make grants aimed to help address community challenges. For example, we provided a grant of $575,000 in FY2017 to Cities of Service to continue volunteer initiatives in Bay Area cities that address local disaster preparedness challenges such as flood hazards and to help enhance community preparedness plans.
Engaging associates and customers to help others
Our associates and customers around the world contribute their time, expertise and money to Walmart-supported initiatives such as hunger relief and disaster relief, as well as to a range of causes they are personally passionate about, such as education and hospitals.
The nonprofit organizations Walmart and the Walmart Foundation supports are often in need of specific skills. At the same time, we have over 2.3 million associates with a broad range of skills and passions. In FY2017, Walmart continued to expand programs to enhance skills-based volunteerism, in which associates with a particular expertise, for example in technology or logistics, are matched with charities that need them.
- Leveraging our legal skills. Walmart’s legal associates initiated the Medical-Legal Partnership program, which has helped more than 140 families in Arkansas access medical benefits and services.
- Utilizing our creative skills. Walmart’s marketing creative team completed four installations of public art along the Northwest Arkansas trail system. The team also volunteered time to contribute to the newly established Bentonville Arts District — including installing murals, sculpture and interactive art.
We strive to support the generosity of our associates and customers as they seek to address needs in their communities. In markets across the globe, Walmart supports fundraising and other initiatives in local communities. Examples of such programs include: