BENTONVILLE, Ark., June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Walmart Foundation announced more than $20 million in grants to six nonprofit organizations nationwide that will create opportunities for children to enjoy smarter, healthier and more productive summers. The grants will help expand nutrition, learning and employment programs for elementary, middle and high school students in 350 local communities throughout the 2012 summer months. Grant recipients include YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), Innovations in Civic Participation (ICP), Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) and Brandeis University.
While most children look forward to the summer season, recent research shows that young people's health may decline in the summer due to lower levels of physical activity and lack of access to healthy meals. It is also well-documented that children who do not engage in educational activities during the summer months experience learning loss. Low-income children are particularly vulnerable during the summer, reporting larger losses in health and academic achievement during summer months compared to their higher income peers. For older youth, nationwide economic challenges have also severely limited summer job opportunities, which can be a source of supplemental income for families as well as skills training that will prepare future workers.
"School may be out, but the need for healthy meals and engaging activity continues during the summer," said Dr. Michele Borba, renowned children's health and development expert and award-winning author of 22 parenting and educational books, including Parents Do Make a Difference. "For children who lack access to these essentials, summer can result in permanent set-backs in health and academic achievement. Parents and caregivers of school-age children need to be aware of this risk and look for opportunities in their communities to keep kids healthy and engaged throughout the summer."
Specifically, the grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will provide:
- Healthy Meals: $6.5 million in funding to help Y-USA and the NRPA expand their reach and provide more than 10 million meals to 160,000 children in low-income and underserved communities.
- Learning Programs: More than $8 million in grants to the NSLA, ICP and BELL to support learning programs that will provide nearly 16,000 students with structured summer learning programs aimed to increase learning, reading and classroom participation when school is back in session.
- Summer Jobs: $5 million in grants will support youth employment programs and provide access to job opportunities and academic enrichment to nearly 3,000 inner-city youth in Phoenix, Ariz.; New York, N.Y.; Hartford, Conn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Chicago, Ill.; Detroit, Mich.; and Los Angeles, Calif. The summer jobs initiative is led by Brandeis University.
The Summer Jobs grant responds to the call-to-action issued by President Obama for the private and public sectors to join the Administration in helping to address record unemployment among America's youth. This initiative, called Summer Jobs+, challenges business leaders and communities to work together to create summer jobs and other employment opportunities for low-income youth this year. A report issued by the White House Council for Community Solutions finds that increased collaboration between governments, grant makers and nonprofits is important for educating and preparing young people for jobs.
"Summer is a critical time for the continued health and development of our nation's youth," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. "We know that providing access to meals, learning programs and job opportunities during the summer months will enable kids to return to school healthy, prepared and ready to succeed. By working closely with our nonprofit partners, we can help kids have better summers and ultimately, better lives."
Walmart's summer meals grants are part of a $2 billion commitment by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to fight hunger in the U.S. through 2015. For additional information on the summer programs that Walmart is supporting and to learn more about how Walmart is fighting hunger visit http://www.walmart.com/fightinghunger.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
SOURCE Walmart Foundation