Grant Provides Thousands of Low-Income Youth with Opportunities
to Earn High School Diplomas or GED’s and Rebuild Their Communities
BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 21, 2008 – In line with its commitment to make education a top priority in 2008, the Wal-Mart Foundation today announced a $5 million grant to YouthBuild USA. The grant is the largest given to the organization at one time by a corporation. YouthBuild USA provides low-income youth who left high school without a diploma the opportunity to resume their education, earning a GED or diploma while simultaneously developing marketable job skills. The retailer’s grant to the nonprofit organization will allow 2,000 students to enroll in nearly 60 YouthBuild programs across the country, including Philadelphia, Portland, New Orleans, Austin and St. Louis. Through these programs, YouthBuild students will build at least 100 units of affordable housing for low-income families in Wal-Mart communities nationwide.
“The Wal-Mart Foundation is committed to providing opportunities so people can live better.” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “By supporting YouthBuild USA, not only are we supporting young people in their efforts to improve their own lives, but we’re also aiding their efforts to improve the living conditions of low-income families across the country.”
YouthBuild engages young people ages 16-24 to rebuild their lives and their communities by enrolling students in YouthBuild alternative schools to earn their diplomas or GEDs. In addition to their work in the classroom, YouthBuild students also learn hands-on construction skills while building houses for homeless and low-income families. Since 1994, 76,000 YouthBuild students have completed more than 17,000 units of affordable housing in 226 of America’s poorest communities.
YouthBuild programs increasingly use and teach “green” building techniques to protect the environment and make YouthBuild graduates more competitive in an industry with an increasing focus on sustainability. Part of the Wal-Mart Foundation’s grant to YouthBuild USA will be used to expand local programs’ ability to utilize sustainable building techniques.
“This is the largest single grant from a corporate foundation that YouthBuild has ever received. Wal-Mart is choosing to generously support a national network of community-based organizations working in America’s poorest communities to give all youth a chance – an education, a job, a career, a set of positive values, a purpose,” said Dorothy Stoneman, president and founder of YouthBuild USA. “This powerful new collaboration between The Wal-Mart Foundation and YouthBuild USA will help expand this proven solution for one of America’s most challenging problems.”
The Wal-Mart Foundation presented its $5 million contribution to YouthBuild USA at a YouthBuild construction site in Philadelphia, where students are completing gut rehabilitation on three homes for low-income homeowners. In Philadelphia alone, Wal-Mart’s donation is providing 400 at-risk youth with education opportunities and a chance to improve their local community.
“A lot of people have a negative view of youth,” said Carreather Atcherson, 19, YouthBuild Philadelphia student. “The projects we complete as part of the YouthBuild program are great examples of youth doing really positive things for our communities. YouthBuild USA and the generous organizations that sponsor it are helping us prove that young people really can make a difference.”
For a complete list of the 59 YouthBuild sites that will be receiving Wal-Mart Foundation support, please visit Walmartfoundation.org.
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. 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 $296 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit http://www.walmartfacts.com, http://www.walmart.com, or http://www.walmartfoundation.org.
About YouthBuild USA
YouthBuild is a youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development. In YouthBuild programs, low-income young people ages 16-24 work full-time for 6 to 24 months toward their GED or high school diploma while learning job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people and participating in leadership development activities in their communities.
There are 226 local, autonomous YouthBuild programs in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, engaging approximately 8,000 young adults each year. YouthBuild USA is the national intermediary and support center for this network. In this role, YouthBuild USA orchestrates advocacy for public funding, guidance and quality assurance in program implementation, leadership opportunities for youth and staff, research to understand best practices, and grants and loans to YouthBuild affiliates. YouthBuild USA recently received the international Skoll Award for social entrepreneurship and has been named as one of America’s 12 best non-profits in the book “Forces for Good.” For more information, visit www.youthbuild.org