Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart Inc. and Walmart.org have announced three additional shared value and philanthropic initiatives that build on its strategy to advance equity in education.
- Three leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) – Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University and Spelman College – will be added to the slate of Walmart’s Live Better U academic partners, in partnership with Guild Education. Through the company’s LBU program, Walmart pays 100 percent of college tuition and books. Approximately 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in the U.S. are eligible for the program.
- Walmart teams up with Jackson State University in Mississippi, pledging $2.4 million to focus on academic and career enrichment and financial support.
- Walmart, through the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity, invests $3 million in a set of grants helping to strengthen the traditional education system.
Walmart welcomes leading HBCUs to Live Better U
HBCUs were established with a principal mission to educate Black Americans who were largely prevented from attending existing colleges and universities. Today, they continue to welcome students of all races, ethnicities and cultures. By adding these HBCUs to its LBU program, Walmart is expanding access to new learning and career pathways for associates.
“These new partners further demonstrate our commitment to create a path for associates to learn, grow and discover their career journey,” said Lorraine Stomski, SVP of learning and leadership at Walmart. “As we work to become an even more diverse employer, what better way to fill the pipeline of future talent than with our own associates?”
More than 300,000 of Walmart’s associates are Black and African Americans. According to a recent study, 18 percent of Walmart’s Live Better U participants are Black, and Black associates who participated in the Live Better U program at Walmart were 88 percent more likely to receive promotions than non-participants.
“Morehouse believes that a world-class education has the power to transform lives by evolving an individual’s talent and potential into achievement and realized outcomes,” said David A. Thomas, Ph.D., Morehouse College president. “By extending our mission to create leaders with disciplined minds as we educate Walmart associates, we are helping to create the innovators who will move the global economy forward.”
Walmart has 65,000 associates who have participated in an LBU program since its inception in 2018, growing by nearly 10,000 since Walmart announced it would pay 100 percent of college tuition and books for associates this summer.
The full list of academic partners for Walmart’s LBU program now includes Bellevue University, University of Massachusetts Global (formerly Brandman University), Johnson & Wales University, Louisiana State University online, Pathstream, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, University of Arizona, University of Denver, Wilmington University, N.C. A&T State University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Voxy EnGen.
Walmart invests $2.4 million over three years with Jackson State University
Walmart and Jackson State University, through a partnership with JSU Athletics, are deepening their relationship and focusing on three core pillars to benefit all students: academic enrichment, career enrichment and financial support.
Walmart is pledging $2.4 million over three years, including investing in case studies, an executive-in-residence program where Walmart leaders will advise faculty on curriculum and lead mentoring circles, and supporting key athletic initiatives including rebuilding the practice field used by JSU athletes. The partnership, initiated by head football coach Deion “Prime” Sanders, is set to benefit all JSU students, including non-athletes and student-athletes alike.
Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity invests $3 million in grants
The Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity is announcing a $3 million investment in a set of education grants as part of the $100 million commitment announced last year to address inequity across education, health, finance and criminal justice systems.
An initial focus of the center’s education philanthropic approach aims to strengthen the post-secondary education system for Black and African American students.
“Our work through the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity builds on our business and philanthropic efforts to advance equity in education and seeks to shift the system for Black and African American students,” said Kirstie Sims, senior director of the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity. “These initial investments will help us develop research on the barriers in the system, build capacity of our nation’s HBCUs and strengthen the pathways between education and in-demand careers.”
More information about the Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity grants can be found here.