Walton money and the environment | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Walton money and the environment

Posted By on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Walmart, which needs some good press lately amid the Mexico bribery investigation, got some recently in a New York Times article on the company's progress at becoming more environmentally friendly. The environmental push has made some urban areas, not previously friendly to Walmart stores, more receptive, the article noted.

The article said Walmart had been working with the Environmental Defense Fund on the effort, but said the EDF took no money from Walmart.

Perhaps, says Columbia Journalism Review. But the Walton Family Foundation, a charity built with Walmart riches, has given $39.5 million since 2003 and accounted for 13 percent of the group's revenues in 2009. The Waltons still control ownershp of Walmart, just so you'll know. Times' readers won't. No error was made and it is against the paper's policy to make "clarifications," the public editor is quoted in the Journalism Review article.

As luck would have it, the Walton Family Foundation sent a news release this morning on the $71 million the foundation gave to environmental causes in 2011. The release follows. The full list of grants shows $4.1 million three grants totaling $13.6 million to the Environmental Defense Fund.

NEWS RELEASE

BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 25, 2012 – Today the Walton Family Foundation announced investments totaling more than $71.4 million in environmental initiatives in 2011. The foundation made grants to more than 160 organizations in the U.S. and other countries that work to protect natural resources while strengthening the local economies that depend on them. The foundation directed an overwhelming majority of the grants toward its two core environmental initiatives – Freshwater Conservation and Marine Conservation.

“Our work is rooted in our belief that the conservation solutions that last are the ones that make economic sense,” said Scott Burns, director of the foundation’s Environment Focus Area. “The foundation and our grantees embrace ‘conservationomics’ – the idea that conservation efforts can and should bring economic prosperity to local communities.”

The Walton Family Foundation worked over the past year to bring conservation, business and community interests together to find long-term solutions to big problems. The foundation’s work to repair the damage done to the Gulf Coast by the 2010 oil spill led to the formation of a coalition of environmental advocates, small business owners and local governments dedicated to the economic and environmental restoration of the region. This coalition worked tirelessly to ensure that fines paid for the spill will be directed to restoration projects along the Gulf Coast.

In 2011, the foundation made strategic investments to further its Freshwater Conservation and Marine Conservation initiatives.

Freshwater Conservation - $26.8 Million

· The National Audubon Society helped develop nature-based tourism opportunities throughout the Mississippi River Basin that will bring jobs and economic growth to the region.

· The Nature Conservancy developed innovative ways of protecting and restoring the Colorado River that benefit both people and nature.

Marine Conservation - $30.5 Million

· Conservation International continued to implement a three-year program to empower local communities to manage and conserve fishing resources on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.

· The Marine Stewardship Council worked with seafood buyers and retailers to create a market for sustainably-caught seafood, preserving the livelihoods of fishermen while protecting depleted fish populations.

The foundation’s 2011 portfolio included conservation projects across the globe, from the Mississippi River Basin to the islands of Indonesia and from Colorado to Costa Rica. In each region, the foundation supports programs that work toward healthy environments, healthy communities and healthy economies.

“Our commitment to conservationomics means that we support restoration projects that create jobs and boost local economies,” said Burns, a former commercial fisherman. “We are proud that our grantees are working to ensure that our rivers flow as strongly as the electricity they generate for nearby towns and that fishermen’s families and fishing communities are thriving alongside recovering fish populations.”

Environment Grant-making Profile

2011 Environment Grants $71,406,878

By Initiative
· Freshwater Conservation $26,842,289

· Marine Conservation $30,541,682

· Other Environment Grants $14,022,907

Top Five Grantees
· Conservation International $16,208,278

· Environmental Defense Fund $13,683,709

· Marine Stewardship Council $3,122,500

· Nature Conservancy $3,024,539

· National Audubon Society $2,739,859

2010 Environment Grants $71,823,528

By Initiative
· Freshwater Conservation $22,877,967

· Marine Conservation $36,341,561

· Other Environment Grants $12,604,000

Click here for a full list of 2011 Environment Grants

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