Walmart pledges $100 million to advance racial equity

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart is committing $100 million over five years in the “fight for greater racial equity inside and outside Walmart,” CEO Doug McMillon announced in an email to employees on Friday.

According to the email, titled ‘Making a Difference in Racial Equity,’ the money will be dispersed by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation through a “new center on racial equity.”

The Walmart CEO said the company would make the recruitment, development, and support of Afircan Americans and other people of color “even more of a priority” and called on employees to “actively partner to identify and work with your leaders to bring in great talent to the company.”

McMillon also said the Bentonville-based retail giant will “invest resources and develop strategies to increase fairness, equity and justice in aspects of everyday life.” He said there would be a specific focus on the “power of Walmart on our nation’s financial, healthcare, education and criminal justice system.”

You can read the full letter from McMillon below:

In our 50-plus years as a company, it rings true more each year that the world’s challenges are our challenges. The global health crisis has tested all of us in recent months, and the racial violence in the U.S. – in particular, the murder of George Floyd – is tragic, painful and unacceptable.

Today, on what would have been our Associate and Shareholder Celebration, we’ll come together during our Friday Afternoon Meeting to talk about a number of things. But I didn’t want to wait until then to share with you some important decisions we’ve made about how we will move forward – together – in the fight for greater racial equity inside and outside Walmart. 

Inside the company, our work to recruit, develop and support African Americans and other people of color will be even more of a priority. We need each of you to actively partner to identify and work with your leaders to bring in great talent to the company. We want all of you to exercise your voice to make every part of our company even better.

To influence and lead change in society more broadly, we are going to invest resources and develop strategies to increase fairness, equity and justice in aspects of everyday life. We will find the natural overlaps between Walmart’s core business and society’s larger needs that perpetuate racism and discrimination. Specifically, we’re going to focus the power of Walmart on our nation’s financial, healthcare, education and criminal justice systems.

In addition to leveraging our business to drive these outcomes, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committing $100 million over five years through a new center on racial equity. The goal of the center will be to address systematic racism in society head-on and accelerate change. Through the $100 million commitment, the center will support philanthropic initiatives that align with the four key areas noted above. The center will seek to advance economic opportunity and healthier living, including issues surrounding the social determinants of health, strengthening workforce development and related educational systems, and support criminal justice reform with an emphasis on examining barriers to opportunity faced by those exiting the system. 

As an associate at Walmart, you are expected to truly, authentically and more deeply embrace inclusion. We must work together to actively shape the culture to be more inclusive and not just accept our differences but celebrate them – all the time – within every team.

We’ve made a difference in the world in so many ways. We can make a meaningful, lasting difference in racial equity, too.

Doug McMillon, President and CEO – Walmart

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