Grant to support Idaho’s efforts to “Green the Games”
BOISE, Idaho, Nov. 18, 2008 – The Walmart Foundation today announced a $1.1 million grant to the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho. The grant will be used to help launch a “Greening the Games” initiative to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the upcoming games.
Thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities from more than 100 countries will travel to Idaho to compete in the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games February 7-13. Earlier this year, the Walmart Foundation awarded an additional $500,000 grant to the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, for a total contribution of $1.6 million in support of the event.
“As a valued employer of people with disabilities and a company that recognizes its responsibilities to the communities it serves, Walmart is showing great corporate citizenship and civic virtue by contributing so generously to so worthy a cause,” said Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter. “The Walmart Foundation’s assistance will help ensure the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be a legacy of accomplishment and success for Idaho and for the individual athletes and families involved.”
Through the “Greening the Games” initiative, the Walmart Foundation’s grant will help bring ‘green’ buses into the World Winter Games fleet to provide transportation for athletes, coaches and supporters. The green buses will operate on Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), which is an environment-friendly alternative to bio-diesel fuel or natural gas. The grant will also support a recycling program at the games, aimed at recycling 50% of the materials used, and help source local food for the athletes in an effort to reduce transportation emissions.
“Walmart is proud to support the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games as well as Idaho’s efforts to host an eco-friendly event,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “Through their active participation and support, our associates at Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs across the country have demonstrated that Special Olympics is an organization that is important to our company.”
Since 2007, the Walmart Foundation has awarded more than $3.7 million to support Special Olympics programs in communities across the country. Walmart is recognized as one of the leading employers of people with disabilities in the nation. In 2007, Walmart 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 CAREERS and the disABLED magazine. Additionally, in 2008, Walmart was recognized by the National Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, as an Outstanding Employer for People with Disabilities.
“We are thrilled to have Walmart’s support in taking steps to make our Games as ‘green’ as possible,” said Chip Fisher, CEO and Chairman of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. “These Games are an opportunity for us to set an example of how future events like this can and should make the environment a priority to some degree in the planning process.”
With support from the Walmart Foundation, the World Winter Games developed a website for the “Greening the Games” initiative (www.greeningthegames.org). The website provides information and tools to help visitors learn how to reduce their impact on the environment. The website features a carbon calculator, a carbon offset program, a blog on green initiatives and a list of eco-friendly ideas that can be applied to everyday life. The Walmart Foundation will also help produce “How-to-Go-Green” kits that will be distributed to athletes, families and visitors at the games. The kits will provide eco-friendly ideas that they can take home and implement in their own communities.
About the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games:
The 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be held in Idaho, USA, 7-13 February 2009 and up to 3,000 athletes from more than 100 countries are expected to compete. Surpassing the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games in athlete numbers and participating nations, the World Winter Games will be the largest multi-day winter sporting event ever held in Idaho. Competition will take place in seven winter sports – Alpine Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing, Figure Skating, Floor Hockey, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing and Speed Skating. Competition and other activities will take place in communities and venues throughout Idaho including but not limited to Boise, Sun Valley and McCall. For more information, visit www.2009WorldGames.org.
About the Walmart Foundation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in education, job skills training, sustainability and health. In 2007, Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Walmart Foundation gave $296 million to communities across the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.