NEW ORLEANS, August 21, 2015 – In observance of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, today Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announce a $25 million commitment over five years to support organizations in disaster recovery and resiliency efforts worldwide. The commitment was announced by Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., on Instagram. As part of the commitment, the Walmart Foundation is making an initial investment of $500,000 in grants to select local nonprofits in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.
The announcement will be made as part of the “Before. During. After.” forum in New Orleans where Walmart will convene government, business and nonprofit leaders, including New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Harry Connick, Jr., to reflect on the lessons learned since Hurricane Katrina and inform the future of disaster response. The forum can be viewed on YouTube from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. CDT.
Coinciding with Walmart’s commitment and thought leader forum, new research made possible with funding from Walmart and conducted by Louisiana State University will be released that looks to the past and future of disaster response since Hurricane Katrina to answer the question, “Are We Ready Now?” The study captures insight from academics and first responders who have experienced disasters worldwide regarding the importance of formal public-private partnerships, technology innovations, preparedness and the power of heroes in disaster relief and resiliency. The research found that the lessons learned from Katrina and other large scale emergencies drove an increase in public-private partnerships, the use of technology and innovations to create a better “preparedness culture.”
“Hurricane Katrina touched our customers, associates, and communities in a profound way, and we haven’t forgotten,” McMillon said. “Working hand in hand with the people of the Gulf Region at that difficult moment showed us there are times when we can make a real difference. Today we’re gathering with leaders in New Orleans to reflect on the progress made since the storm and to make a $25 million commitment to disaster response and resiliency globally. We will continue to help communities prepare for - and recover from - the unexpected.”
In addition to the $25 million commitment, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are announcing $2.9 million in grants recently made to several nonprofits that will help build the capacity of communities across the United States to be prepared to respond to disasters through business, government and nonprofit collaboration, volunteer training and new technology. Good360, PYXERA Global, Team Rubicon, and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction are receiving grants that will support the following programs:
- Good360: A $1 million grant from Walmart will support, in part, a new digital platform called DisasterRecovery360. The platform enables nonprofits to track the supplies needed immediately at the site of a disaster and then empowers companies to fulfill those needs in real-time through in-kind and cash donations. The public can help by making donations that will fund the transportation of goods to the right place, at the right time.
- PYXERA Global: A $457,000 grant from Walmart will develop a global disaster corps model and run three pilot programs, in partnership with Team Rubicon. The model is designed to leverage volunteers to help communities prepare and respond to disasters.
- Team Rubicon: A $250,000 grant from Walmart will support the reintegration of military veterans by using their unique skills to respond to emergencies. The grant will further develop an incident management curriculum and develop advanced disaster response training for Team Rubicon volunteers.
- United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction: A $1.2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation will support the R!SE Initiative that will help build coalitions and local campaigns in the U.S. Gulf Coast specifically, and communities worldwide, to address the challenges of community preparedness and resiliency.
Local Communities Through Volunteerism and Preparedness Events
Walmart will continue activating local communities across the United States in August and September with volunteer and disaster preparedness events. Walmart and Sam’s Club are serving as title sponsors of New Orleans’ Citywide Day of Service on Aug. 29 that aims to engage 10,000 volunteers in local service projects. Volunteers can register now to participate with the city directly at http://katrina10.org/serve/. Then, during National Preparedness Month this September, participating Walmart stores, in coordination with local emergency management organizations, will hold events to help customers develop family communications plans and organize supply kits to be used during an emergency.
“When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Walmart was on the front lines of the response. Walmart opened make-shift stores, sent truckloads of supplies to our city, and activated associates on the ground to help those in need. In turn, they started to change the role of the private sector in disaster response,” Landrieu said. “I’m proud to be here today with Walmart and emergency response thought leaders to reflect on lessons learned over the past 10 years. In addition, I look forward to commemorating this time in our history by supporting local neighborhoods during a Citywide Day of Service next week.”
Ongoing Commitment to Disaster Relief and Resiliency
When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation immediately responded not only through cash donations, but Walmart also activated its network of associates on the ground to deliver truckloads of water, food and other essential supplies. Additionally, Walmart promised a job for all associates displaced by the storm. Since that time, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have continued support of the U.S. Gulf Coast, investing $168 million over the past 10 years.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to making disaster response and resiliency a priority, leveraging their ability to convene government, nonprofit and business leaders as well as associates and customers to quickly respond to disasters and support the communities affected. Over the past 10 years, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have contributed more than $50 million in global relief and resiliency, responding to disasters in the United States, Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti, the United Kingdom, Canada and Chile.
To learn more about Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s disaster response and resiliency efforts, visit http://news.walmart.com/disaster-response.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, we serve nearly 260 million customers who visit our 11,532 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2015 revenue of $486 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.