Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation Donates $2.18 Million to Bentonville School District
Grant will expand district’s pre-kindergarten program
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 8, 2006 – The first five years of a child’s life are a time of great growth and learning. Yet many families struggle to find an opening – as well as the resources – for their child to participate in a pre-kindergarten program. Thanks to the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation, families in Bentonville will soon find hundreds of additional seats in classrooms for three- and four-year-old children. The company today announced a donation of $2.18 million to the Bentonville School District to fund significant expansion of its pre-kindergarten program.
School district officials, representatives from the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation and associates from the Bentonville Supercenter and the Hudson Road Neighborhood Market store announced the gift during a presentation at the Jefferson Creek pre-kindergarten building located behind Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. The gift will help the district meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, many of whom work yet cannot afford early childhood education programs.
“Our waiting lists are very long, and many families have pressing needs we can address by simply making these additional spots available,” said Dr. Gary Compton, Bentonville School District superintendent. “This gives us an opportunity to offer high quality early learning opportunities to better prepare children for success when they enter school. In addition, access to quality care means working parents can rest easy that their children are getting a jump-start on their formal education.”
The donation will allow Bentonville’s current program to expand from 90 to approximately 500 children through new and renovated facilities that will be designed specifically for preschool classrooms. The current school district office on N.W. 2nd St. and the Special Services Center, located on the campus of Washington Junior High School, will be renovated. A new facility will be constructed, but a site has not yet been determined. In addition to providing new and improved classrooms, the grant will also provide 30 scholarships for one year for families with working parents -- or “gap” families -- who are just out of range to qualify for public assistance.
“Education is always a smart investment,” said Betsy Reithemeyer, vice president of corporate affairs at Wal-Mart and executive director of the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation. “Wal-Mart has an ongoing commitment to education, and I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate that commitment than by helping children and families in our own community.”
Last year Wal-Mart donated more than $45 million in support of educational initiatives, including support for local schools at the store level and through its Teacher of the Year program, one of the largest teacher recognition programs in the country. The company also recognizes more than 7,000 outstanding high school seniors annually through the Sam M. Walton Scholarship program, awarding approximately $7.6 million each year.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAMS CLUB locations in the United States. The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The companys securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
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