WASHINGTON - A new NCRP report reveals more than just charitable intentions in Wal-Mart’s seemingly generous, but systematically self-interested philanthropy. The Waltons and Wal-Mart: Self-Interested Philanthropy chronicles the philanthropic and political activities of the Walton family through their family foundation and through their Wal-Mart corporate empire, painting a picture of a family and corporation with increasing financial and political prowess.
“The Waltons’ and Wal-Mart’s philanthropy deserves more scrutiny than praise. Giving by the family and the corporate foundation exemplifies the family’s true priorities and agendas,” said Jeff Krehely, deputy director of NCRP. “Not only are they deflecting public scrutiny with their shameless public relations campaigns, they are doing so while simultaneously using quasi-public dollars to advance an agenda of personal enrichment cloaked in philanthropy. We encourage the media, nonprofit advocates, and policy makers to step up oversight efforts of corporate philanthropy, as these vast concentrations of wealth have the potential to change the policy landscape, and not necessarily in the best interests of the public,” said Krehely.
With no previous watchdog or media scrutiny, analysis or exposure lent to Wal-Mart’s and the Walton family’s philanthropy, NCRP’s report is the first of its kind, revealing the Waltons’ interests in pursuing social issues such as the privatization of public education, and their exponentially growing political influence. Profiled are two Walton-affiliated foundations: the Walton Family Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation, with the latter’s scattershot giving analyzed in a recent issue of Responsive Philanthropy, NCRP’s quarterly.
The Wal-Mart Foundation is the nation’s 51st-largest corporate foundation based on its assets, and is ranked first in total giving among corporate givers by Newsweek, having increased its giving by almost 70 percent from 2002 to 2004, with its 2004 giving totaling $170 million. The Walton Family Foundation, on the other hand, is the 25th largest foundation in terms of giving ($106 million in 2003), and maintained an average payout rate of 10 percent over the past five years.
Lambasted for their substandard corporate and labor practices, Wal-Mart’s every corporate move has been closely observed by recently created watchdogs such as Wal-Mart Watch and Sprawl Busters. NCRP adds a valuable perspective to Wal-Mart’s list of questionable behaviors.
The report, $12.50 for NCRP members and $25 for non-members, is available online at www.ncrp.org/index.asp. Contact email@example.com for a complimentary media review copy.
NCRP is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes public accountability and accessibility among foundations, corporate grantmakers, individual donors and workplace giving programs. For more information on NCRP or to join, please visit www.ncrp.org or call (202) 387-9177.