Walmart Provides $2M for Black, Hispanic Caucus Internships

Goal is to ‘expand the pipeline of talent on Capitol Hill and beyond,’ retail giant says

Rep. Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, welcomes the Walmart funding as a way to address underrepresentation of Latinos on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo) 

Walmart is giving away $2 million so African-American and Hispanic young people can intern on Capitol Hill.

The retail giant will split the money between the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

The goal is to “expand the pipeline of talent on Capitol Hill and beyond by providing our future leaders with the tools needed for success,” according to Julie Gehrki, vice president of programs for Walmart’s charity.

Career development is one of those tools. Funding for basic living expenses is another. The three-year, $1 million grant to the CBCF will go toward training, housing and monthly stipends.

The grant to the CHCI will fund Latino college students with paid summer or spring internships.

[Staff Up Congress Aims to Tackle Diversity From the Top]

That builds on several years of funding the nonprofits have received from the big-box chain.

Such partnerships have “successfully increased the number of scholars who have access to the intern-to-staffer pipeline,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said in a news release. The Texas Democrat sits on the CBCF’s board of directors.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, shared a similar sentiment.

“We value Walmart’s support of [our] mission to address underrepresentation of Latinos on Capitol Hill by providing transformative experiences and the critical skills needed to embark on careers in public service,” the congressman said in the release.

Walmart is hosting a reception with the two members Tuesday night to celebrate the grants.

[Democratic Staff of Most Powerful Senate Committees Have the Least Racial Diversity]

Former interns of both programs are slated to attend, along with the groups’ CEOs. Bruce Harris, vice president for federal government affairs at Walmart, will also appear.

The grants are part of the Walmart Foundation’s larger charitable push around diversity.

Earlier this month, the Walmart Foundation gave a $500,000 grant to the United Negro College Fund, also known as UNCF, HBCU Buzz reported. The money will go towards accreditation reaffirmation, enrollment management or technical assistance.

And as of September, Walmart will partner with the nonprofit Path Forward to offer internships to women who are returning to professional life after taking time off to take care of family.

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