Walmart pledges $25M disaster relief commitment, will host preparedness events


NEW ORLEANS — As the 10th anniversary of Hurrican Katrina approaches, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are making a commitment to disaster relief efforts. Wal-Mart Stores CEO Doug McMillon announced Friday on Instagram that the two organizations would be donating $25 million over five years to worldwide disaster relief and recovery efforts. The first $500,000 of the commitment will be going to nonprofits in the form of grants. 


McMillon also announced the commitment at New Orleans’ “Before. During. After” forum, where the company is convening humanitarians, as well as New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and former Louisiana Gov. Haley Barbour. Walmart will also be releasing the findings of its disaster relief research that it partnered with Louisiana State University to conduct. The research looks at what lessons can be taken from the response to Hurrican Katrina. 


“Hurricane Katrina touched our customers, associates, and communities in a profound way, and we haven’t forgotten,” McMillon said. “Working hand in hand with the people of the Gulf Region at that difficult moment showed us there are times when we can make a real difference. Today we’re gathering with leaders in New Orleans to reflect on the progress made since the storm and to make a $25 million commitment to disaster response and resiliency globally. We will continue to help communities prepare for - and recover from - the unexpected.”


In addition to the $25 million commitment, the company and foundation announced that they recently donated more than $9 million in grans to nonprofits aimed at building emergency preparedness in communities across the U.S. Organizations chosen were Good360, PYXERA Global, Team Rubicon, and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. 


The focus on emergency preparedness will continue throughout the month as well, with Walmart  and Sam’s Club sponsoring New Orleans’ Day of Service on Aug. 29. In September, which is National Preparedness Month, select Walmart stores will partner with local emergency management organizations to help customers create emergency preparedness plans. 


“When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Walmart was on the front lines of the response. Walmart opened make-shift stores, sent truckloads of supplies to our city, and activated associates on the ground to help those in need,” Landrieu said. “I’m proud to be here today with Walmart and emergency response thought leaders to reflect on lessons learned over the past 10 years. In addition, I look forward to commemorating this time in our history by supporting local neighborhoods during a Citywide Day of Service next week.”