Walmart Stores and its philanthropic arm, the Walmart Foundation are making a $25 million, five-year commitment to disaster preparation and recovery efforts.
The announcement, timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, will be made today in New Orleans.
Kathleen McLaughlin, the foundation’s president, said grants will be made in the United States and internationally.
Included in the $25 million will be $500,000 in grants made to Gulf Coast nonprofits. The first three, which will each get $100,000, will be Evacuteer, a group that maintains locations where residents can meet and receive assistance during evacuations; St. Bernard Project, for its Disaster Resilience and Recovery Labs, which are designed to train residents how to mitigate the risks of a disaster; and Way Maker Ministries, which trains residents in disaster preparedness and survival.
Ten years ago, when Katrina hit, Walmart was able to take advantage of its vast logistics and transportation network to get food and supplies to areas slammed by the storm much quicker than government efforts.
At the event today, the foundation plans to outline research it supported at Louisiana State University suggesting that public-private partnerships are key to disaster preparedness and that additional investments are needed to develop community leaders.
Ms. McLaughlin said great strides had been made since Katrina’s landfall.
"As a society, we’re developing a stronger disaster-preparedness culture," she said.