Gift will provide long-term operating expenses to support a planned facility expansion
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 21, 2008 – The Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter (NWACS) today announced it is launching its “Give Every Child a Chance to Heal” capital campaign to create an endowment that will subsidize operating expenses for a new facility. Additionally, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has come forward as the first major supporter of this campaign, announcing a $2.5 million donation at a press conference held this morning at the shelter with members of the facility’s board of directors, key donors and Wal-Mart representatives present.
“The work that the shelter does to help the youngest and most vulnerable people in our state is so important, and we hope that our gift will make it possible for more children to be served through expanded facilities and programs,” said Mike Duke, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and honorary co-chairman of the shelter’s capital campaign.
Established in 1993, NWACS serves an estimated 300 children annually, providing emergency shelter, educational and counseling services for children who are the victims of child abuse, sexual abuse and domestic violence. An on-site school and counseling services are provided for children who need them during their stay.
“We are very grateful for this generous donation,” said Todd Simmons, who with his wife, Shelley, serves as co-chairman of the shelter’s current capital campaign. “It’s unfortunate that there are children in our area who need the services provided here, but for those kids whose circumstances bring them here, it is a place where they will be cared for and nurtured. This gift will help us to reach more children who are in desperate need of help and provide them with more options for care.”
Simmons also noted that despite the shelter’s name, only 60 percent of the children served are from Benton or Washington County. The remaining 40 percent come from all over Arkansas, making it the largest shelter of its kind in the state. According to Tim Nichols, executive director of NWACS, the shelter must turn away approximately 800 children each year because it lacks the space to adequately care for them. Construction on the new facility is expected to begin in 2009.
In 2006, Wal-Mart and its foundation gave more than $270 million to 4,000-plus U.S. based communities, including donations of more than $37 million to organizations in the state of Arkansas. For the last two years, Wal-Mart has been recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest corporate cash contributor in America.
“Our philosophy at Wal-Mart is to operate globally and give back locally. We are proud to be able to lend a hand to worthwhile organization right here in our own community,” said Duke.
About Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter
The Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter is a private, nonprofit organization that provides 24-hour emergency residential care to children who are victims of family violence, neglect and physical and sexual abuse. It is designed to meet the needs of these children by providing them with an immediate safe and loving environment that reduces their current trauma through support and nurturing.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.