Walmart Continues Commitment to Local Community with $500,000 Grant to Northwest Arkansas Council

    Walmart Continues Commitment to Local Community with $500,000 Grant to
                          Northwest Arkansas Council

Donation will help raise the standard of living for more than 480,000
Northwest Arkansas residents through improvements in education, jobs, health
and physical infrastructure

PR Newswire

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 16, 2013

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Today, Walmart announced a
$500,000 grant to the Northwest Arkansas Council supporting the advancement of
healthy living and economic improvement initiatives throughout Northwest
Arkansas. The grant is part of a three-year commitment by Walmart to fund the
Greater Northwest Arkansas Development Strategy, a regional growth and
development plan spearheaded in 2010 by the Northwest Arkansas Council, local
chambers of commerce and other organizations. In its third year, the grant
will impact more than 480,000 local residents through plans to increase access
to and quality of education, job opportunities, healthy lifestyles and
infrastructure improvements. Each of these areas of focus support Walmart's
mission of creating greater opportunity in Northwest Arkansas by enhancing the
quality of life for residents.

The Northwest Arkansas Council is a private, nonprofit organization committed
to sustaining and improving the region as a great place to live and conduct
business. Walmart founder Sam Walton was instrumental in establishing the
Northwest Arkansas Council in 1990, and the organization played an active role
in many of the region's most notable successes over the past 20 years.

Much like Mr. Walton's high interest in improving the region, Walmart and
Sam's Club associates have provided their own, direct support to the Northwest
Arkansas Council by offering hundreds of hours to participate in Northwest
Arkansas-focused meetings and initiatives, and provide leadership in
determining the most deliberate ways to accomplish many of the Council's 55
strategic actions.

"We follow the philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally, and
are committed to enriching the lives of the people in our community. By
supporting partners such as the Northwest Arkansas Council that share our
mission of improving quality of life for area citizens, and by working to
provide solutions to the challenges facing our region, we can bring tangible
improvements to the region," said Karen Parker, senior manager for Walmart's
Northwest Arkansas giving strategy.  "The Northwest Arkansas Council is an
exceptional organization that shares our commitment, and together, we will
continue to make great strides to bring economic growth and lifestyle
improvements to our home."

Through The Northwest Arkansas Council's Greater Northwest Arkansas
Development Strategy, the grant provided by the Walmart Foundation will help
raise the standard of living for local residents through programs that support
the following: 

  oEducational Achievement: The contribution by Walmart allows the Council to
    work with colleges and universities to increase how many Northwest
    Arkansas adults obtain a bachelor's degree or higher. The funds
    contributed support programs such as Reach Out NWA, an initiative to
    encourage individuals short of a high school degree finish school.
  oJob Opportunities: Walmart's contribution and time provided by associates
    support the Council's work with entrepreneurs who want to turn great ideas
    into startups. Additionally, the donation allows the Council to market
    Northwest Arkansas as a great place to live and do business and helps
    support the Council's overall economic development program. As a result,
    the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area added
    7,500 jobs in the first two years of the Council's five-year plan, and
    average wages increased by $1,900 to about $44,000 annually.
  oHealthy Lifestyles: This year the Council launched  EnergizeNWA, a
    community-led movement designed to increase residents' access to healthy
    foods and physical activity.
  oInfrastructure Improvements: The Council has a long history of supporting
    efforts to improve highway infrastructure, develop and enhance the
    Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and protect the water supply. The
    regional airport administration aggressively pursues new air service with
    assistance from the Northwest Arkansas Council, and the Council worked to
    inform voters about Issue No. 1, a ballot measure approved last year. That
    measure funds highway construction projects statewide, and it includes
    starting 77 new lane miles as part of three major projects in Northwest
    Arkansas by the end of 2015.

"We look forward to working with Walmart for the third year in a row to
continue the growth and development of our community through impactful
advancements in everything from education to jobs," said Mike Malone,
president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. "Through their generous
support, we are working together with local leaders to ensure Northwest
Arkansas continues to be a great place to work and raise a family."

"We know the value of Walmart's financial commitments, but the value of the
time and expertise provided by associates is an incredible gift as well,"
Malone said.

These grants are part of an ongoing commitment by Walmart and the Walmart
Foundation to support organizations focused on the development of Northwest
Arkansas. During the last fiscal year, organizations in Arkansas received
$72.8 million to support initiatives throughout the state. To learn more about
Walmart's philanthropic efforts, visit foundation.walmart.com.

About the Northwest Arkansas Council
The Northwest Arkansas Council, established in 1990, is a private, nonprofit
organization determined to improve quality of life, education, water quality,
transportation and economic opportunity in the region. In January 2011, the
Northwest Arkansas Council released the Greater Northwest Arkansas Development
Strategy – a five-year blueprint for growing jobs and economic opportunities
in fast-growing Northwest Arkansas. For more information about Northwest
Arkansas, visit www.nwacouncil.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better
through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally,
Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the specific needs within Northwest
Arkansas by supporting local organizations that share its strategic focus:
Providing greater access to hunger relief and nutrition services, increasing
health care access for low-income individuals and enhancing the quality of
life for area citizens through increasing access to the arts and recreational
facilities. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $72.8 million in cash and
in-kind gifts in fiscal year ending 2013 in the state of Arkansas. To learn
more about Walmart's giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.

SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Website: http://foundation.walmart.com
Website: http://www.nwacouncil.org
Website: http://walmartstores.com
Contact: Scott Pope, Walmart, 1-800-331-0085, news.walmart.com/reporter
 
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