Officials with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Walmart Foundation on Monday (April 22) announced that they have given more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind contributions during the most recent fiscal year.
According to the Wal-Mart statement, it is the “first time Walmart or any U.S. retailer has achieved that level of giving.”
Much of the fiscal year in which the record was reached included the tenure of Sylvia Burwell, who was president of the Wal-Mart Foundation beginning in January 2012. On March 3, 2013, it was announced that Burwell was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
Prior to January 2012, Burwell had an executive leadership role with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Wal-Mart said the increase in giving was boosted by in-kind donations in the U.S. to food banks and to families suffering through disasters.
Arkansas was one of the top beneficiaries of the giving, with the total from Wal-Mart and the foundation reaching $72.807 million, second only among the 50 states to Texas which received $86.211 million.
Rounding out the top five states were Florida (3) at $53.677 million, North Carolina (4) at $39.853 million, and Georgia (5) at $37.055 million.
Oklahoma cash and in-kind support totaled $27.543 million, and the Missouri total was $31.652 million.
"At Walmart we believe in taking care of our neighbors and our communities," said Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs for Walmart. "We serve people who fight hard for their families, and we are going to fight for them. We have a responsibility to do what we can to give them better options and better lives."
Dach, who is leaving Wal-Mart in June, said the company attempts to use its “size and the unique strengths of our business” to boost giving and direct it to programs and locations that really need it.
Overall, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation's total global contributions of $1.08 billion in the last fiscal year include:
• U.S. giving of $1 billion in cash and in-kind gifts, up from $872.7 million last year;
• More than 351 million meals to local food banks through Feeding America;
• 1 million bottles of water to residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy;
• $1.9 million in grants to Share Our Strength to provide 122,000 families the skills and resources needed to prepare healthy, affordable meals;
• Individual stores and clubs gave $4.9 million toward first responders, including nearly $3 million toward local law enforcement;
• $106.4 million in cash and in-kind gifts given by Sam's Club and the Sam's Club Giving Program;
• Helped 3,600 small-business owners get the training they need to succeed;
• Provided grants to nonprofit partners that enabled 265 small-business loans; and,
• International giving of $82.2 million in cash and in-kind gifts.
Some of those benefitting from Walmart's hunger relief efforts include students at Port Towns Elementary School in Prince George's County, Md., where 80% of students live at or below the poverty line. Last year, the Walmart Foundation donated more than $700,000 to the Prince George's County school district to help fund a Breakfast in the Classroom program.
In addition to the more than $1 billion from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, Walmart and Sam's Club customers and associates around the world raised $156.3 million for local organizations such as the Salvation Army and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
There is no break out for how much of the $1.08 billion was cash. However, the total giving amount is almost 7% of income the company generated in the fiscal year.
For the full year ended Jan. 31, Wal-Mart profits declined 4.2% to $15.699 billion, while revenue rose 5.9% to $443.854 billion. But a conservative guidance for fiscal 2013 also concerned investors.
Total revenue for the first quarter of the new fiscal year ended April 30 was $113.018 billion, up 8.5% compared to the same quarter in 2011 — and that was up against a negative foreign currency exchange rate that reduced the top line by about $800 million.