Charitable giving at Wal-Mart is a critically important avenue through which we can deliver on our Company mission of saving people money so they can live better. Charitable giving, both by Wal-Mart directly or by the Wal-Mart Foundation, allows us to create opportunities that improve the lives of our associates, our customers and their communities. We believe this is especially important in today's economic climate, because now more than ever, our customers, our associates and countless charitable organizations are looking to Wal-Mart to help them live better, healthier, more sustainable lives.
In 2008, Wal-Mart and its Foundation in the U.S. donated approximately $378 million to more than 100,000 charitable organizations in more than 4,000 communities, and our global giving number exceeds $423 million. Additionally, our customers and associates around the world made millions in personal financial contributions through our stores. We were so proud to see our associates also contribute a total of more than 1 million volunteer hours to local charitable organizations in their communities.
Through financial contributions, in-kind donations and volunteerism, Walmart U.S. corporate giving supports initiatives in four key areas at the national, state and local levels. They are: workforce development, education, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. Wal-Mart and its U.S. Foundation have been recognized in the past by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest cash contributor in the U.S., and by Forbes Magazine as the "number-one most generous company overall."