Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. All the procrastinators are scrambling to Target, Walmart, and other retailers to finish, or start, their Christmas shopping. The stores are bringing in billions of dollars in holiday sales. Did you know that a lot of retailers use their revenues to fund foundations that also give out millions of dollars in grants? Below is a list of just a few of the stores that also support a variety of causes their foundations.
In 2013, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $1.3 billion in cash and in-kind contributions around the world, surpassing 2012's total by more than $244 million. This foundation supports several causes: hunger relief and healthy eating, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, career opportunity improvements, veteran’s causes, and natural disaster recovery. The Walmart Foundation also has three different funding amounts. Non-profits operating on a national level can receive grants of $250,000 and above. Those operating on a regional/state level are eligible for $25,000-$250,000, while individual Walmart stores can award grants ranging from $250-$2,500 for local non-profit organizations. Only Letters of Intent (LOIs) are accepted for the national giving program. Applications for state-wide grants are accepted during designated periods that can be found on the website. Community grants for 2014 will be accepted until Dec. 31.
School field trips, early childhood reading programs, and arts, culture and design initiatives in school, are all supported by grants from Target Foundation. The Foundation also has special support for arts and social service programs initiatives in its hometown of the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Early Childhood Reading and Arts, Culture & Design in Schools grant applications are accepted March 1- April 30. Target Field Trip Grants applications are accepted Aug. 1–Sept. 30. To be eligible for a grant, an organization must be a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, an accredited school, or a public agency located. Field trip grants are $700. Reading and arts/culture/design grants are $2,000.
This major home improvement store’s foundation focuses on education and community improvement projects in communities it serves. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has contributed nearly $200 million since it started in 2007. The company’s major education initiative, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, has helped 940 different schools in 49 states. Projects funded in this program include technology, safety improvements, library needs, and more in K-12 schools. Education grants can range from $2,000 to $100,000, with the large majority falling between $2,000 and $5,000. The spring application cycle will run Jan. 1–Feb. 13, 2015. Community improvement grants to non-profits and municipalities range from $5,000 to $100,000, with most projects falling between $10,000 and $25,000. These grants can support projects such as technology, building upgrades, and safety improvements. The spring application cycle will be March 30–May 29, 2015.
The Container Store Foundation supports non-profit organizations that promote women’s and children’s well-being and health. The support comes in the form of gift cards and product donations. Additionally, The Container Store provides storage and organization makeovers for non-profit facilities. This foundation also has a unique giving program in that every time a new store opens, the new store will donate 10% of all sales during its grand opening weekend to a local non-profit partner. Donation requests are accepted throughout the year from non-profits throughout the United States.
The Best Buy Foundation wants to ensure all teens have access to technology and opportunities to develop technology skills. In 2014, Best Buy donated $2 million in community grants to local and regional non-profit organizations to meet those goals. The average grant amount is $5,000, and grants will not exceed $10,000. Eligible organizations must be within 50 miles of a Best Buy store. This year grants were accepted in June, so plan ahead for 2015’s grant cycle.
Photo Credit: Grand Canyon National Park