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Walmart to Give $14.3 Million in Grants to Address Systemic Racism

In June, while the firestorm of protests sparked by the extra-judicial police killing of George Floyd was burning across the United States, Walmart was one of many companies who spoke out against the general weight of racism that still holds this country down. In an interview with CNBC at the time, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company would look for ways they could use their resources to address racial inequality, including a promise that Walmart would invest $100 million in the cause of racial justice.

Walmart is the largest employer in the United States and by a large margin, with an estimated 1.5 million employees in the States (and 700,000 more worldwide). They’re also a major employer of black Americans, who make up more than one-fifth of their workforce. According to their own reporting, however, that percentage decreases significantly in higher positions – about 12 percent of management positions are filled by back employees, and fewer than 7 percent of company officers, the highest tier. According to Kirstie Sims, leader of Walmart’s Center for Racial Equality, the company is making tangible efforts within their own walls to improve those numbers.

McMillon had no details on that $100 million pledge in June, and they’ve been sparse in the months since, but on Monday, February 1, the Walmart Foundation announced that they would be disbursing $14.3 million to 16 nonprofits around the country, in the form of grants. Those grants are being given to groups who are addressing race and class inequality in a variety of ways, including health education for communities of color, debt relief for students at historically black colleges, and improving internet and technology access to children who are still attending school remotely.

“Progress sometimes is slow, but with the work and the power and the commitment behind it, we’re going to make change,” said Sims, who originally went to work herself at Walmart to pay off student debt, over twenty years ago.

Source: CNBC

Editorial credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

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Health Organizations Team Up To Fund Blood Cancer Research

Three leading health organizations—the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, and the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group—have joined forces to find a cure for blood cancer.

Each organization contributed $1.5 million to the LLS Blood Cancer Discoveries Grants Program, a newly established fund dedicated to advancing the medical community’s understanding of these diseases. Over the next three years, the program will award up to six grants of $750,000 to projects focused on blood cancer research.

“These grants represent a significant investment in cancer discovery research that has a clear line of sight to better outcomes for patients,” said Michele Cleary, CEO of the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. “In collaboration with our partners at LLS and the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, the Mark Foundation is pleased to help address the critical need for this type of funding, and we look forward to seeing the results of the science it will support.”

Experts estimate that 176,200 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma in 2019. That equates to roughly one person every three minutes. The number of deaths caused by these diseases is expected to be 56,770 in 2019 alone.

“LLS’s investment in research over the past fifteen years is translating into remarkable improvements in outcomes for blood cancer patients,” said Lee Greenberger, chief scientific officer at LLS. “Over the past two and a half years alone, we’ve seen the FDA approve 48 therapies in the blood cancers, and LLS’s investment in research played a role in 42 of these. However, cures still remain elusive for many aggressive blood cancers. This new program, made possible through this collaboration, seeks to ignite that next wave of discoveries and fill the pipeline that eventually will become the translational research of the next five to 10 years.”

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Donation

Chicago Foundation for Women Awards $1.1 Million in Grants

Disenfranchised women and girls from the Chicago area will now have a better chance of obtaining economic security and reproductive justice, thanks to a $1.114 million donation from the Chicago Foundation for Women.

The donation was broken down into 43 grants, which were awarded to multiple different organizations and causes. According to Philanthropy News Digest, 29 grants totaling $810,000 were given to organizations that support economic security for women through professional development training, stabilization services, and advocacy. Grantees include the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, which mentors and assists impoverished women from immigrant families; Enlace Chicago, which works to expand opportunities and access to health care for the city’s Spanish-speaking population; and the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Chicago, which seeks to increase wages and improve working conditions for those employed in the local food services industry.

The foundation awarded an additional eight grants totaling $270,000 to groups that support reproductive justice. One such grantee was the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, which aims is to reduce racial disparities in breast cancer survival rates for black women by increasing their access to health care.

The remaining $33,000 in grants was given to organizations that promote safety, health, and justice for black women and girls. Grantees include the Girls Like Me Project, which gives young black girls access to technology that can be used to record and share their experiences, and the Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program, which equips girls with life skills, including communication and career tools.

“Chicago Foundation for Women takes a comprehensive approach to women’s economic security,” said K. Sujata, president and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women. “We ensure women and girls have the skills necessary to thrive in today’s economy, as well as support in addressing barriers to employment such as housing insecurity, previous incarceration, and access to healthcare… But we know that women do not live and work in a vacuum, so CFW also invests in women-led organizing and advocacy to address the root causes of economic insecurity and to build movements that prioritize reproductive justice.”