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TRUE Northwest Arkansas Bolsters Local Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts

December 17, 2020
Provides Funding for TRAIN Program Participants in Benton and Washington Counties

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (Dec. 17, 2020) – TRUE Northwest Arkansas, an initiative supported by the Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation, is helping 14 local organizations bolster their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. In 2019, the organizations completed TRUE’s nine-month TRAIN program, where they participated in peer-learning opportunities and expert-led coaching sessions.

The foundations will now provide a combined $1,267,500 to help grantees implement individualized DEI plans. The support is part of TRUE’s commitment to ensure all members of the Northwest Arkansas community can thrive and feel included.

“Fayetteville Public Schools’ partnership with TRUE has played a valuable role in the development of our five-year equity plan, which is designed to grow and sustain a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Superintendent John L. Colbert, Ed.D. “With this grant, the district can now provide professional development on culturally responsive education, bias, and decreasing disproportionate discipline; help diversify staff through recruitment and retention; and make investments in important community partnerships.”

Funding will help address operations, program design or research at the following organizations:

  • BikeNWA: Develop a methodology and plan for measuring progress, including creating a regional population profile to ensure equitable practices, planning processes and infrastructure initiatives.
  • Circle of Life: Provide internal training, as well as leadership and professional development, to enhance overall DEI efforts.
  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: Enhance overall DEI capacity through assessment, dialogue, continuing education and organizational strategy.
  • Downtown Bentonville, Inc.: Support training, strategy development and community engagement to help ensure inclusive programming.
  • Downtown Springdale Alliance: Develop a strategy to build and cultivate relationships with diverse communities through inclusive outreach, events and public programs.
  • Fayetteville Public Library: Conduct an internal assessment to determine how policies, procedures and operations can better reach underserved communities.
  • Fayetteville Public Schools: Support the district’s Equity Plan and five-year engagement with the University of Arkansas IDEAL Institute.
  • Northwest Arkansas Council: Develop a roadmap and policy recommendations to increase staff and board diversity, support training and assess strategy and programming.
  • NWA Center for Sexual Assault: Complete an assessment of staff, board members, volunteers, providers and programming to ensure a holistic, fully integrated DEI focus.
  • Ozark Literacy Council: Help develop a more robust volunteer base, educate volunteers on DEI values and strengthen social networks within the community.
  • TheatreSquared: Support the organization’s focus on DEI through staff development, program implementation and training.
  • Tricycle Theatre: Provide internal training and support research listening sessions to increase access to future programming for diverse stakeholder groups.
  • University of Arkansas IDEALS Institute: Develop, implement and evaluate six virtual and on-campus DEI trainings for participants from all sectors.
  • Walton Arts Center: Ensure policies, procedures and governance support DEI goals; increase training to foster an equitable environment; promote inclusive and authentic programming; and prioritize listening and learning to support diverse communities.

“Many of our former English Language Learner students have become volunteers for our organization as well as others in the region,” said Patty Sullivan, executive director of Ozark Literacy Council. “This grant will give us the funding we need to further expand our program and create even more connections among diverse cultures, social networks and communities.”

TRUE Northwest Arkansas is a program of the Arkansas Community Foundation, made possible with support from the Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation. It is focused on training local champions of diversity and inclusion; reporting on the region’s state of inclusion to better understand gaps and barriers; uplifting the work of underrepresented populations; and engaging communities in the process. Research, technical assistance and program design are provided by Converge, a New Orleans-based social justice consulting firm.

The Walmart Foundation’s support stems from its efforts to strengthen partnerships among local leaders and organizations to foster an even more inclusive and empathetic community. The Walton Family Foundation funding, at the recommendation of Steuart Walton and Tom Walton, builds on existing efforts to enhance quality of life in the region for both newcomers and long-time residents. For more information, visit truenwarkansas.org.

About Arkansas Community Foundation
Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps. Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $310 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state. Contributions to the Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 29 affiliates are fully tax deductible.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By leaning in where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employing more than 2 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs that work to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, address hunger and make healthier, more sustainably grown food a reality, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit walmart.org or find us on Twitter @walmartorg.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2019, the foundation awarded more than $525 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contacts:
Luis Gonzalez, Walton Family Foundation
479-802-7317
lgonzalez@wffmail.com

Walmart Media Relations
1-800-331-0085
news.walmart.com/reporter