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The Leaven Receives $25,000 from the Walmart Foundation

Grant will support healthy lifestyle program for children

Rialto, CA (May 1, 2014) – The Leaven Program (The Leaven) yesterday received a $25,000 contribution from the Walmart Foundation to serve 100 local students and 200 families through its Pathway to Healthy Lifestyles program. Pathways to Healthy Lifestyles promotes positive and productive changes toward a healthier lifestyle by educating, supporting and empowering at-risk students in some of the most barren food deserts within the cities of Rialto and Ontario to make healthier food choices for themselves and their families.

“We are excited to work with Walmart in our shared commitment to cultivate healthy eating habits and to improve the well-being of our most vulnerable youth and families,” said Mark Lillis, Executive Director of The Leaven. “The Leaven is tremendously grateful for this generous donation.”

The Leaven works to significantly improve the health and school performance of at-risk children by establishing after-school program centers directly in dense, low-income housing neighborhoods so that children have safe, consistent access to the centers and by offering programs to bridge the critical educational and nutrition gaps.

“We are proud to support the efforts of The Leaven and its Pathways to Healthy Lifestyles program,” said Michael Acheson, Walmart Market Manager. “Walmart strongly believes in giving back locally, and we look forward to partnering with this organization as it works to positively impact the lives of Rialto’s children and families.”

In September 2011, The Leaven opened its Southern California division with the launching of its tutoring center in Rialto. The Leaven at Quail Ridge in Rialto provides daily after-school tutoring, Monday through Thursday, to students living in the Beechwood apartment neighborhoods of Rialto. Strong support from the local community and the City of Rialto has been critical to the launching of The Leaven’s new site.

“I am pleased to see The Leaven and Walmart partnering on programs that will increase our residents’ quality of life,” said San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt. “These funds will be used in the most critical of ways – by providing access to healthy eating programs in a safe environment for our children and families.”

Through Walmart’s healthier food initiative – which includes a commitment to increase funding for nutrition programs – more than $41 million in grants have been awarded by the Walmart Foundation to organizations with a focus on increasing nutrition literacy and equipping people with food and cooking skills programs that improve the health of Americans.

The contribution to The Leaven was made possible through the Walmart Foundation’s California State Giving Program. Through this program, the Walmart Foundation supports organizations that create opportunities for people to live better. The Walmart Foundation State Giving Program strives to award grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S. In Fiscal Year Ending 2013 in California, Walmart stores, Sam’s Club locations and the Walmart Foundation awarded more than $26.3 million to local organizations with more than $3.2 million going to Inland Empire area organizations.

To be considered for support, perspective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program’s online grant application.  Applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum eligibility criteria.  Additional information about the program’s funding guidelines and application process are available online at www.walmartfoundation.org/stategiving.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.