Washington, D.C., November 20, 2008 – The leadership of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. announced today that Walmart, through the Walmart Foundation, has provided a $12.5 million letter of credit which will expedite the beginning of physical construction of the memorial. The Walmart Foundation’s latest effort is in addition to the $1 million donation it made in 2005.
The generous support provided by Walmart allows the Memorial Foundation to obtain a construction permit from the National Park Service (NPS) to begin construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. Both the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts announced final approval of the Memorial design in September 2008. The Memorial Foundation submitted an application for a construction permit along with the final design documents to the NPS in early October 2008. The letter of credit allows the Memorial Foundation to submit the final financial documents to the NPS to obtain a construction permit.
“The Walmart Foundation has played a vital role in the development of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial by first making a $1 million donation in 2005 and now providing a $12.5 million letter of credit,” said Harry E. Johnson, President and CEO of the Memorial Foundation. “Walmart’s partnership demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to the community and to the causes important to its associates and customers. The company’s continued support helps to uphold the ideals of hope, democracy, justice and love for which Dr. King stood.”
The Memorial Foundation continues its aggressive program to reach its total fundraising goal of $120 million. To date, the Memorial Foundation has raised $100 million. The Walmart Foundation’s letter of credit will help the Memorial Foundation as it seeks to raise additional funds needed to complete the overall construction of Dr. King’s memorial.
“Dr. King stood for what is best about this country – courage, resolve and a commitment to making life better for all people,” said Walmart President and CEO Lee Scott. “This memorial helps us recall the impact of his life and words, but it is also more than that. Above all, it reminds us of Dr. King’s belief that each of us has the potential to be more than we are – and challenges us to rise to that promise.”
“On the dawn of a new and historic period in America, I am delighted by Walmart's unprecedented and unparalleled commitment to ensure the building of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “There are very few more significant national projects than the MLK Memorial. Like Dr. King's life and legacy, this memorial will continue to serve as a beacon of hope and as a reminder of the greatness of this country.”
About the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
A Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be built on the National Mall, situated adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a Memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, D.C. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place on November 13, 2006 and the Memorial will be completed in 2010. McKissack & McKissack / Turner Construction Company/ Gilford Corporation / Tompkins Builders, Inc. Joint Venture will serve as the Design-Build Team. McKissack & McKissack is the oldest minority-owned architectural firm in the United States. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.buildthedream.org.
Major donors to date include: General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, NBA/WNBA, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Walt Disney Company Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Motor Fund, Toyota, AARP, AFLAC, BP America, Inc., CIGNA, Credit Unions of the United States, DuPont, ExxonMobil Foundation, Fannie Mae Corporation, FedEx Corporation, GE, Ann and Joel Horowitz Family Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Sheila C. Johnson-Newman, Lehman Brothers, George Lucas, MacFarlane Partners, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, McDonald’s Corporation, MetLife Foundation, National Association of Realtors (NAR), National Education Association (NEA), Nationwide Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Pfizer Foundation, Prudential Financial, Inc., Shell Oil Company, State Farm Insurance, Verizon Foundation, Viacom, Walmart and Morehouse College, among others.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
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.