Retailer Establishes Emergency Assistance Fund for ‘Strive for Excellence Scholars’
BENTONVILLE, ARK. (March 4, 2005) – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today announced it has provided an award of $1.5 million to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) that includes a $1 million grant to establish the Wal-Mart Emergency Assistance Fund and $500,000 in operating support for UNCF member schools. The award will be distributed in two allocations beginning this year. The gift was announced by Lee Scott, President and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., last night at the United Negro College Fund 61st Anniversary Dinner.
U.S. Census Bureau research indicates that only 40 percent of the African-American students who enroll in college are able to continue in school through graduation, compared to 60 percent of white students, and that the primary cause for this attrition is the lack of resources required for tuition and fees, books and other direct costs of attending college. The Wal-Mart Emergency Assistance Fund would target those individual cases of unmet need. Grant recipients will be known as “Wal-Mart Striving for Excellence Scholars,” linking program objectives to one of the core values at Wal-Mart. The designation also acknowledges a focus on assisting nontraditional students such as first generation attendees and single parents and students who are in need of short-term financial assistance to continue their studies.
“At Wal-Mart, we make a difference in the lives of our customers and associates each day by providing quality merchandise at affordable prices and quality jobs with growth opportunities,” said Scott. “We would like to extend that commitment to the students that are a part of the 38-member UNCF schools. These grants will provide ‘just in time’ financial aid and help ensure that those students who are in the greatest financial need, may have an opportunity to continue in school through graduation.”
The UNCF has raised funds to support its 38 member historically black colleges and universities and the students who attend them for more than 60 years. It has raised and distributed more than $2.3 billion for student scholarships and college operating funds.
“Wal-Mart’s support is a critical component of our efforts to assist minority students who are faced with financial adversity, which often times affect their ability to finish school,” says Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF’s President and CEO. “We applaud Wal-Mart for its commitment to higher education.”
Wal-Mart’s gift to UNCF for the Emergency Assistance Fund will be divided among UNCF’s 38 member schools based on UNCF’s member institution distribution formula. Colleges can award Wal-Mart Emergency Assistance Fund grants to students from any city or state, pursuing any major, as long as each scholarship completed the student’s financial aid package and no individual scholarship exceeded $3,000.
For its fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2005, cash donations through Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation exceeded a record $170 million. Wal-Mart’s philanthropic efforts last year assisted more than 100,000 organizations, and overall, gave back $5 every second to support causes extending from disaster recovery efforts and educational initiatives to funding hospital equipment and treatment.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAMS CLUB locations in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The companys securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
Founded in 1944, The United Negro College Fund is the nation’s oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. UNCF has raised $2.3 billion to support its 38 member institutions and has helped more than 350,000 students earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. UNCF administers more than 450 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship programs, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 65,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country.
# # #