Home News Wal-Mart Foundation, HP to Help Special Olympics Athletes Compete in Upcoming International Winter Games

Wal-Mart Foundation, HP to Help Special Olympics Athletes Compete in Upcoming International Winter Games

With a combined contribution of $1.5 million, the two companies call on others to “open their hearts” and provide support

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 14, 2008 – The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Organizing Committee (GOC) today announced that it has received a combined donation of $1.5 million from the Wal-Mart Foundation and HP. Hundreds of athletes with intellectual disabilities from around the world will travel to Idaho, USA for the 2008 Special Olympics Invitational Winter Games February 25-28. The contribution boosts the Special Olympics’ goal to raise approximately $35 million. So far, the organization has collected $16.3 million in in-kind goods, services and funding.

The Wal-Mart Foundation’s $500,000 donation will help to provide transportation, housing and meals for the Special Olympics athletes so that they can compete in a variety of events from cross-country skiing to floor hockey. In addition, the donation will help support the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2008 Invitational Winter Games, as well as the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games to be held February 6-13 in Idaho.

In 2007, through grants made at the store-level, Wal-Mart and its Foundation gave a total of nearly $1.2 million to support Special Olympics programs in the communities where it has a presence. Wal-Mart is recognized as one of the leading employers of disabled people in the nation. In 2007, Wal-Mart was recognized for the fourth year in a row as one of the “Top 50 Employers” for providing a positive working environment for people with disabilities according to a poll sponsored by Career and the disABLED Magazine. Fifty-two percent of all Special Olympics athletes have jobs and many are employed at Wal-Mart stores, reports the Special Olympics.

“Our associates in Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Clubs across the U.S. through their active participation and store-level funding support have demonstrated that the Special Olympics is an organization that is important to our company,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “The Special Olympics World Winter Games only occur every four years, and we’re proud that the U.S. will be hosting the event next year. We hope our donation today will encourage other organizations and individuals to open their hearts and support this important event.”

As the Official IT Provider of the 2009 Special Olympics Winter Games, HP is contributing $1 million in cash and equipment. Ranging from notebook PCs and printers to software and servers, the HP products will be key to managing and tracking events, schedules, transportation and activities of the 3,000 athletes and 6,000 volunteers at the Games. In addition, more than 300 HP employee volunteers are expected to provide technology and logistics support during the Games.

“We welcomed the opportunity to contribute HP technology and the support of our employee volunteers to the Special Olympics Winter Games,” said Yvonne Hunt, Vice President, Global Philanthropy, HP. “We join hands with Wal-Mart in encouraging wider, wholehearted support for an event that is full of courage and hope, and makes a meaningful difference in the lives of the athletes, their families, and their communities.”

At the conclusion of the Games, Special Olympics will distribute the HP equipment used in the 2008 Invitational and 2009 Winter Games to Special Olympics chapters across the United States.

“We are honored to be associated with organizations of Wal-Mart’s and HP’s caliber,” said Chip Fisher, CEO and Chairman of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.  “Eighty-five percent of the public believe that corporate partnerships with Special Olympics ‘make a difference’ in the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Wal-Mart’s and HP’s generous donation is without a doubt making a difference in the lives of thousands athletes who will be taking part in the 2008 Special Olympics Invitational Winter Games and 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games.” 

Recognized as the largest corporate cash contributor in America, in 2006 Wal-Mart’s charitable giving totaled more than $270 million in financial and in-kind donations to various charitable organizations and causes.

About the Special Olympics Winter Games
The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Idaho, USA February 6-13 and will include up to 3,000 athletes and 6,000 volunteers from as many 85 countries. Competition will take place in seven winter sports – Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing and Speed Skating. Competition and activities will be in communities and venues throughout Idaho including Boise, Sun Valley and Tamarack, Idaho. 

About HP
HP focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers – from individual consumers to the largest businesses. With a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP is among the world’s largest IT companies, with revenue totaling $104.3 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended Oct. 31, 2007. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at www.hp.com

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.