Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation Donates $5.53 Million
To Expand Northwest Arkansas Pre-Kindergarten Programs
Bentonville, Springdale and Rogers School Districts to Benefit
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 children to participate in a pre-kindergarten program. Thanks to the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation, families in the Northwest Arkansas region will soon find hundreds of additional seats in classrooms for three- and four-year-old children. Representatives from the foundation and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today announced a region-impacting donation of $5.53 million that will be divided between three area school districts -- Bentonville, Springdale and Rogers. The gift will fund significant expansion of each district’s pre-kindergarten program.
The donation will help these districts meet the needs of a rapidly growing population, many of whom work yet cannot afford early childhood education programs. Each district currently offers high-quality preschool programs, but excessive demand for these three districts has resulted in lengthy waiting lists for each program. Announcement events will be held throughout February to allow each school district to detail individual expansion and programming plans for their community. The Bentonville donation of $2.18 million was presented today at the Jefferson Creek pre-kindergarten facility.
“We are so fortunate that our public schools in Northwest Arkansas are of such a high caliber,” said Betsy Reithemeyer, vice president of corporate affairs at Wal-Mart and executive director of the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation. “These gifts are designed to help those districts with the greatest need serve even more families by making high quality early learning opportunities more accessible for families who need or want it. We know these programs help prepare children for success when they enter school, and they help working parents rest easy that their children are in a safe, caring, educational environment during the day.”
Education has been a giving focus of the Wal-Mart & SAM’S CLUB Foundation for many years. Last year, the company 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. Wal-Mart 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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