In June 2020, Walmart announced their five-year plan contribute $100 million over five years through a Center for Racial Equity to help address racial disparities in the U.S. and, starting this week, they’ve started with $14 million that will be spread among 16 different nonprofits in the first round of distribution.
Some of the organizations receiving funds will be: Harlem Children’s Zone, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, and U.S. Vaccine Adoption Grants.
“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 Walmart.org 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.”
Although more than one-fifth of Walmart’s U.S. employees are Black, only seven percent of Walmart’s higher-level officers are Black. A twenty-year veteran of Walmart herself, Sims originally joined the company to pay off student loans but then saw it as a place where should could move up, and she eventually became their senior director of global ethics and compliance before her current role. Sims believes that she can be an example of what is possible at Walmart, especially for other Black women.
However, she also acknowledged to CNBC that it won’t be an overnight process, saying, “Progress sometimes is slow, but with the work and the power and the commitment behind it, we’re going to make change.”