Nation’s Largest Retailer Launches Innovative Online Resource for Latinos
BENTONVILLE, Ark., September 10, 2008 – Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and a leading private employer of Hispanics, will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, September 1 – October 15, by providing its customers and the Hispanic community with valuable information and resources for the pursuit of higher education. Walmart’s commitment to supporting education initiatives will be featured in a national campaign that will coincide with the launch of a Spanish-language website, AhorraMasViveMejor.com, aimed at facilitating and empowering moms and kids to access information on higher education and school funding.
“Highlighting the importance of educational advancement is an ideal way to honor Hispanic heritage,” said Gisel Ruiz, vice president and regional general manager, Walmart Stores, U.S. “By doing so, we can inspire and shape success for future generations to come, ultimately helping people live better lives.”
Created for students and parents, AhorraMasViveMejor.com will offer insight into preparing for college, planning and budgeting. Online users will have access to tools and resources such as studying skills, test preparatory, loan information, scholarships, colleges and applications. The interactive site will fully integrate viewers with an enhanced knowledge of the overall steps necessary for pursuing a college education and will address questions and answers that are typical of the college admission process.
The retailer also plans to recognize several recent scholarship recipients who, with Walmart’s financial support, have triumphed and achieved academic excellence. Through company sponsored scholarship programs and partnerships with organizations like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the Walmart Foundation has made a philanthropic commitment by donating more than $67 million in the last year to education-focused organizations. Of that, $29 million has gone directly to local schools in nearly every community where Walmart and Sam’s Club have a presence.
Hector de Santiago, a recent recipient of the HSF/Walmart Scholars scholarship, was just seven years old when his parents made the life-changing decision to leave Mexico in order to provide a better future for the family. Today Hector is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at San Jose State University in California. “Walmart realizes through education it can empower young Latinos such as me,” said de Santiago. “With this scholarship I have been afforded the opportunity to pursue my dream of higher education.”
Hector, along with several other scholarship recipients, will be featured throughout Walmart’s mass advertising campaign and will be highlighted as examples of Walmart’s ongoing commitment to higher education. Each of the scholars will also be profiled in Walmart’s Viviendo magazine. The publication will feature educational-themed content with articles such as “Start the Financial Aid Search Early” and the “Top 10 Jobs”. Walmart will also feature suppliers such as Kimberly- Clark, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, Maybelline, Coca-Cola, Tyson, Nestle, General Mills, Unilever, PepsiCo and Mission Foods, in its Spanish-language circulars, that have displayed a commitment to education and whose products are popular with Hispanic customers.
Currently Hispanics are America’s largest ethnic minority and the fastest growing demographic. Reports from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that serious discrepancies remain when Hispanic educational levels are compared to other groups. Statistical information reveals that Hispanics have the highest high school dropout rate (23.8 percent, U.S. Census 2006) as compared to any major racial or ethnic group.
“Our partnership with Walmart has been instrumental in our ongoing efforts to strengthen America by increasing higher education among Hispanic Americans,” said Frank D. Alvarez, Hispanic Scholarship Fund President and CEO. “Walmart’s investment in HSF ensures that students, like Hector, pursue their dreams.”
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) is working to break the cycle of under-education among Hispanics. HSF helps Hispanics fund their college education with more than $247 million in scholarships granted to date. Since 2006 Walmart has actively supported HSF and its mission through a multi-year grant that has funded the HSF/Walmart Scholars Program, making the dream of higher education possible for more students. During Hispanic Heritage Month, Walmart will present HSF with one million dollars to assist in providing more college financial aid to the Latino community.
Walmart’s commitment to the Hispanic community extends throughout the organization as a leading employer of more than 165,000 Hispanic associates. For the third year in a row, the company was named one of the “50 Best Companies for Latinas” by LATINA Style Magazine. The company tailors each shopping experience to its diverse customer base by adopting the “Store of the Community” concept, which uses locally relevant store designs and a merchandise mix that reflects the wants and needs of its Hispanic customers.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Walmart 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 Stores, Inc. (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 communities in the United States. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
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