Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committing $100 million toward addressing systemic racism, CEO Doug McMillon announced Friday.
The retailer is creating a new center on racial equity, which will support philanthropic initiatives in four key areas: finance, health care, education and criminal justice. The goal of the center, according to McMillion, is to “help advance economic opportunity and healthier living.”
“To influence and lead change, we are going to use the power of Walmart to invest resources and develop strategies to increase fairness, equity, and justice in aspects of everyday life,” said McMillon. “We will find the natural overlaps between Walmart’s core business and society’s larger needs that perpetuate racism and discrimination. We will take actions to influence them in a positive direction, consistent with our human values of decency and equity.”
The retailer is appointing teams to focus on improving Walmart’s own business practices in each of the four key areas it has identified. Within its organization, the company will aim to increase accessibility to health care through its existing health and wellness business, as well as to strengthen its academic support efforts, including Live Better U, which “offers Walmart associates college degrees, high school diplomas, language courses, and professional certificates for $1 a day.” The retailer will also look to drive economic access to minority-owned businesses.
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In addition, Walmart is committed to improving its own hiring processes. The chain says it will “review and evolve” its hiring process to allow nonviolent, formerly incarcerated applicants fair consideration. In addition, Walmart plans to create “broader and deeper ties” to historically black colleges and universities. The company currently employs over 340,000 black and African-American associates.
Walmart’s new commitment to racial equity follows the death of George Floyd. A 46-year-old unarmed black man, Floyd was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis by white police officer Derek Chauvin. His death has ignited a national conversation regarding police brutality and racial injustice — with protests held across all 50 states.
Following Floyd’s death, brands across the footwear and fashion industries have issued statements condemning racism — including both those that have frequently spoken up on social issues as well as those that have typically remained silent. And like Walmart, scores of companies — such as Nike, H&M and Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH Corp. — have announced donations toward fighting racial injustice.