The Center for Racial Equity Awards Over $14 Million in First Round of Grants

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation pledged to contribute $100 million over five years through a Center for Racial Equity to help address racial disparities in the U.S. in June 2020. Walmart announced that Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are distributing the first $14.3 million of that commitment in grants to 16 different nonprofit organizations.

“Walmart has made a commitment to advancing racial equity, finding areas where we, as a company, can best contribute our resources and expertise to change society’s systems that perpetuate racism and discrimination,” said Kirstie Sims, senior director of the Center for Racial Equity. “We are excited to announce our initial investment to these deserving nonprofits that help advance racial equity through their organizations every day.”

The mission of the center is to complement and extend the societal impact of Walmart business initiatives to advance racial equity in the nation’s financial, health, criminal justice and education systems. The first grant distributions will be awarded to the following organizations, which focus on one or more of these areas:



American Heart Association (AHA), Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund ($5 million from the Walmart Foundation) – AHA’s Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund is an initiative to improve health equity by supporting community-driven entrepreneurial solutions addressing social determinants of health. The Walmart Foundation’s investment will provide resources to the Fund to make approximately 40 loans and grants to community-based organizations and entrepreneurs in Atlanta and Chicago who are working to increase access to affordable and healthy food in communities of color.

U.S. Vaccine Adoption Grants ($2.75 million from the Walmart Foundation) – The Walmart Foundation is honored to support organizations that are working on interventions in and with diverse communities around the United States to increase education, outreach and awareness of COVID-19 vaccines. The Walmart Foundation has provided grants to the following organizations that are positioned to help address education needs around COVID-19 vaccine uptake: NAACP Empowerment Programs, Inc., UnidosUS, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, Association of Asian-Pacific Community Health Organizations, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Interfaith Youth Core and The Conference of National Black Churches.



Student Freedom Initiative (SFI) ($1 million from the Walmart Foundation) – SFI’s mission is to provide alternative financing for historically Black college and university (HBCU) juniors and seniors majoring in STEM to help reduce their student loans/debt. The Walmart Foundation’s investment will support the operating costs associated with the planning and launch of SFI with an initial cohort in the fall 2021 academic year.

Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) ($500,000 from Walmart) – This grant will enable Harlem Children’s Zone to operationalize The Take on Race Coalition’s 1 Million Connected Devices Initiative. Walmart’s investment will enable two key components of this work: 1. Provide 1,250 low-income students with remote learning equipment and internet access and 2. Provide resources to HCZ for policy work that will support sustainable solutions to the digital divide.

Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) ($100,000 from the Walmart Foundation) – The King Center prepares global citizens to create a more just, humane, peaceful and equitable world using Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology. The Walmart Foundation’s grant will help support two impactful programs of The King Center, including Nonviolent 365 ® Education & Training, a program designed to help participants understand and apply their lives to Dr. King’s six steps and principles of nonviolence as well as the Camp NOW Leadership Academy, a multi-year program that helps low-income youths ages 13-19 experience and prepare for academic and career success.

Cross Cutting


Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) ($2 million from Walmart) – LISC is a nonprofit with strong community partnerships that connect hard-to-tap public and private resources with underinvested places and people. Since 1980, LISC’s Chicago office has focused on equitable development, ensuring every Chicago neighborhood and its residents have the opportunity to benefit from economic transformation by building community wealth. This investment will support LISC’s Chicago Project 10X work, a strategy to greatly advance racial equity across health, wealth and opportunity.

Echoing Green (EG) ($1.5 million from the Walmart Foundation) – Echoing Green is an organization that develops diverse future global leaders in social innovation; invests in seed funding and providing support to their emerging social enterprises; and builds leadership capacity through a renowned, competitive fellowship program. The Walmart Foundation’s investment in support of Echoing Green’s Racial Equity Philanthropic Fund will help support social entrepreneurs in communities across the U.S. to grow the organizations they lead and to advance their work to address issues related to racial equity.

Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) ($1 million from the Walmart Foundation) – ABFE is a national membership organization that promotes effective and responsive philanthropy in Black communities. The Walmart Foundation’s investment will strengthen ABFE’s capacity to coordinate people, information, investments and practices that advance racial equity.

PolicyLink ($500,000 from Walmart) – PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity. Walmart’s grant will help support the launch of the Racial Equity through Corporate Actions Initiative, which will drive the creation and adoption of corporate standards on racial equity that will be freely available to companies.

“When we address racial gaps in health, wealth and opportunity, we strengthen our communities and make our economy work better for everyone,” said Maurice A. Jones, president and CEO of LISC. “That’s why innovative collaborations between business and philanthropy are so important, especially with partners like Walmart. Working together, we can fuel strategies that break down systemic barriers and help build a broadly shared prosperity throughout the country.”

Since making its pledge for racial equity in June 2020, Walmart has launched additional programs and announcements to foster progress both internally and externally. In September, Walmart released its first-ever Culture, Diversity and Inclusion mid-year report, shifting from annual to twice per year. Walmart also announced it would be partnering with North Carolina A&T State University, America’s largest and top-ranked HBCU, to launch the Equity in Education Initiative. The new program is aimed at increasing the number of African American college graduates securing careers in fields critical to the nation’s workforce.

In November, the retailer delivered on its commitment to invest in Chicago by opening two new Walmart Health centers that provide affordable and accessible health care for members of the Chicago community. The two new Walmart Health centers are part of Walmart’s commitment to rebuild and reopen four supercenters with an expanded service offering, including Walmart Academies for associate training and ongoing learning. In December, Walmart joined the One Ten Coalition, which is a group of American companies committed to upskill, hire and promote one million Black Americans over the next 10 years into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement.

For more information about the Center for Racial Equity, please visit Center for Racial Equity. To learn more about Walmart’s progress towards diversity, equity and inclusion, visit

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