Walmart Foundation: Grants for Disease

OVERVIEW: The Walmart Foundation broadly focuses its disease-related grantmaking through its state and local giving programs.

IP TAKE: Walmart prefers a broad approach to its grantmaking, which makes it difficult to understand in what it seeks to invest. However, this approach also makes it easier for applicants to secure small- to medium-sized grants through the foundation's state and local giving programs.

PROFILE: The philanthropic arm of its corporate sister, the Walmart Foundation invests millions annually in grantmaking. While it does not dedicate a specific program to disease grantmaking, the foundation conducts philanthropy through three focus areas: Opportunity, Sustainability, and Community.

Due to the lack of a specific program through which to conduct grantmaking to disease issues, Walmart pursues such grantmaking through all three of its focus areas, which govern its State and Community Giving programs. In the past, the foundation has supported other organizations that fight disease, such as the American Heart Association, through its National Giving program. Furthermore, the foundation explicitly says that it will consider proposals that fall outside of its focus areas in the State Giving and Community programs, especially if they address the "unmet needs of underserved low-income populations." The State Giving page specifically mentions access to healthcare as an example of this.

The foundation's grantmaking programs are based on scale, and are divided into National, State and Community Giving. Its National Giving offers grants of $250,000 and above to organizations working across at least several states. Applications begin with a Letter of Inquiry, and full applications may only be submitted upon invitation. State Giving range from $25,000 to $200,000 (with an average of $40,000) to organizations working within individual states. Its Community Giving grants range from $250 to $2,500 and are awarded to organizations that work in communities served by a Walmart store. Applications are due at the end of the calendar year. Lastly, the foundation also operates an International Giving program, which does not accept unsolicited applications.

Although Walmart is nominally focused on a dozen or so states, its disease-related grants support an even smaller number. Nearly half of grants prioritize just five states — Texas, New York, Virginia, Arkansas, and Arizona. In Virginia, two-thirds of those grants went to just one organization: the American Diabetes Association, which is based in Alexandria.