For any business to be successful, it is crucial for that business to be an active member of the community in which it operates. This goes beyond providing a service and being an employer. It means supporting organizations which are integral to the fabric of that community. We can do this through our foundation, through corporate and in-kind contributions and by encouraging our Associates and customers to give back to their communities.
Over the years, as we’ve grown from a small company in the Southeastern United States to a corporation operating in 14 markets around the world, we’ve not only worked to continually give back more, but also to retain our focus on giving back at the local level. That’s because we believe we can have the greatest impact on our communities by supporting causes that are important to our customers – right in their own neighborhoods. This is at the core of our “store of the community” concept. So today, we provide financial and volunteer support to more than 100,000 charitable and community-focused organizations, and we use our locations to give our customers and Associates opportunities to give back.
In 2005, we were recognized as the largest corporate cash contributor in America by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Through our corporate giving, we donated more than $300 million to support 7,000 communities around the world, including $272 million donated within the United States, and more than $28 million in our International markets. This is in addition to the $100 million and $16 million donated by our customers and Associates through company-sponsored fundraisers in the United States and international markets, respectively. The majority of those contributions were made to organizations at the local level, based not just on corporate decisions, but on recommendations from our Associates. This grassroots-style philanthropy encompasses the small things, like the refurbishment of an elementary school that was damaged by fire on the Atlantic coast of Honduras, to the big things, like funding college scholarships and helping communities recover from hurricanes and tornadoes.
In addition to our charitable contributions, we encourage and support our managers and hourly Associates to be active in their communities by volunteering their time and becoming involved in local organizations. We make contributions to the organizations they work with based on the number of hours they donate. Last year, Associates volunteered nearly 1 million hours of their personal time to local causes and organizations around the world. Because of these volunteer hours, we give over $5 million annually to these organizations.
As we maintain our grassroots focus, we are also working to deepen the connection between our strategy as a business and our strategy as a charitable foundation. In bridging the two approaches, it will be imperative that we develop a clear and consistent vision for our corporate philanthropy efforts, drive our charitable giving planning in a way that aligns with our business, and – as our business continues to develop globally – elevate the reach and awareness of our programs worldwide.
Facts and Figures
Together with our associates and customers, Wal-Mart contributed over $418 million to communities around the world in 2006.