Seven nonprofits receive donations for programs that range from helping children stay in school, to empowering women to build meaningful careers

BENTONVILLE, ARK., March 31, 2015 – Today the Walmart Foundation announces more than $400,000 in grants to seven nonprofits in Northwest Arkansas that care for local women and children in need. The nonprofits’ programs range from helping children overcome trauma, build life-long relationships and stay in school, to empowering female domestic violence survivors to build meaningful careers. The nonprofits receiving grants are CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Northwest Arkansas, Fayetteville Public Education Foundation, Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter, Northwest Arkansas Rape Crisis Center, Peace at Home Family Shelter, Saving Grace, Inc. and Youth Bridge.

The grants all go to organizations that responded to the Walmart Foundation’s request for proposals (RFP) for work that supports systematic change for women and children in the region. The RFP was intended to provide transitional support to local human services nonprofits after the Foundation announced a narrowing in the focus of its Northwest Arkansas Giving Program in 2013 in order to provide greater impact. Winners all articulated clear regional issues they sought to address, laid out strong program plans and outlined ways the work would be sustainable beyond this grant. 

For example, the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation will use its one-time grant to help low-income families prepare their children for kindergarten. Next year, the Fayetteville School District will transition all 5th grades to middle schools, providing one elementary school with an extra classroom to house a summer program for low-income Pre-K students. The summer program will provide children, and their parents and guardians, with activities to increase student readiness for Kindergarten. Programs like this will help the one in four Northwest Arkansas children living in poverty today.[i]

“With support from the Walmart Foundation, we will be able to plan for our future and strengthen our support within the community to help more low-income families prepare their children for kindergarten,” said Cambre Horne-Brooks, executive director of the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation. “We believe that every opportunity offered to each student is equally important and with our programming we are able to help students reach their full potential.”  

CASA of Northwest Arkansas, another grantee, supports local foster children. CASA will use the funding to identify family and friends in a child’s life and help build life-long relationships. Similarly, the Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter will use its grant for a training program that develops trusting relationships between children who have experienced trauma and their caregivers.

Another local shelter, Youth Bridge, will use the grant to hire a teacher to provide basic education, remediation and tutoring to help vulnerable youth overcome academic barriers. Also working towards improvement in education outcomes, Saving Grace, Inc., will create opportunities to continue improving the retention and graduation rates of foster youth enrolled in Northwest Arkansas colleges and universities.

Other grantees will help disadvantaged women within the community. Peace at Home Family Shelter will provide an intensive 24-month financial program to help empower domestic violence survivors to overcome barriers, like the skills gap, and build meaningful careers. The Northwest Arkansas Rape Crisis Center will use funding to help build public awareness about sexual assault and provide prevention training.

“These organizations are systematically improving our region’s ability to support women and children,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs. “We hope these grants help them develop the plans and tools to sustain their work into the future, for the benefit of women and children in our community.”

The Walmart Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities so people can live better. To build on the Foundation’s tradition of supporting the Northwest Arkansas community, associates and their families, and deepen and focus its impact, the Foundation implemented changes to the Northwest Arkansas Giving Program at the beginning of 2013. The Foundation established the following strategic areas for Northwest Arkansas: 1) Provide greater access to hunger relief and nutrition services, 2) Increase health care access for low-income people, particularly oral and front-line health care, and 3) Enhance quality of life by increasing access to arts and recreational programs and facilities, and supporting regional planning.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts that draw on the strengths of Walmart in the arenas of sustainability, economic opportunity, and community. As part of our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system worldwide, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States. They recently exceeded a $2 billion goal to fight hunger one year ahead of schedule and have donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.


# # #