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Walmart Aiding Disaster Recovery

To mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have pledged to give $25 million over five years to support disaster recovery and resiliency efforts worldwide. As part of the commitment, the Walmart Foundation will make an initial investment of $500,000 in grants to several local nonprofit organizations in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

The mega-retailer made its pledge during the Aug. 21 "Before. During. After." leadership forum in New Orleans, at which Walmart brought together government, business and nonprofit leaders to reflect on the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and discuss the future of disaster response.

Released in tandem with the event, new Walmart-funded research conducted by Louisiana State University found that Katrina and other large-scale disasters have spurred an increase in public-private partnerships, the use of technology, and innovations to develop a better "preparedness culture."

"Hurricane Katrina touched our customers, associates and communities in a profound way, and we haven't forgotten," said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. "Working hand in hand with the people of the Gulf Region at that difficult moment showed us there are times when we can make a real difference. … We will continue to help communities prepare for -- and recover from -- the unexpected."

As well as the $25 million commitment, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation recently awarded $2.9 million in grants to several nonprofit disaster-preparedness organizations: Good360, PYXERA Global, Team Rubicon and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction..

Be Prepared

The company is also hosting volunteer and disaster preparedness events. For instance, Walmart and Sam's Club are title sponsors of New Orleans' Citywide Day of Service on Aug. 29, which seeks to involve 10,000 volunteers in local service projects, and during National Preparedness Month in September, participating Walmart stores, together with local emergency management organizations, will help customers create family communications plans and organize supply kits.

After Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provided cash donations and delivered truckloads of water, food and other necessities; the company also promised jobs for all associates displaced by the storm. Since that time, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have invested $168 million in the region.

Over the past decade, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have contributed more than $50 million toward global relief and resiliency in the United States, Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti, the United Kingdom, Canada and Chile.

Walmart operates 11,532 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. The company employs more than 2 million associates worldwide.

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