Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wal-Mart's Charity Is Self-Serving, A Philanthropy Watchdog Says

From the New York Sun:

A charity watchdog group charged yesterday that charitable and political giving by America's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is part of a self-serving campaign to enrich the company's owners, the Walton family.

The 29-page review of the operations of the Wal-Mart Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and political funds connected to the company asserts that the firm is using its gifts to divert attention from a host of thorny problems, including discrimination lawsuits and opposition to the company's efforts to build new stores.
We aren’t quite sure if a report was necessary to point the obvious: Wal-Mart does engage in a lot of charity work but it is often targeted to deflect key criticisms with regards to community involvement and minority issues. Also, the point needs to be made that Wal-Mart and its foundations are relatively stingy both compared to other philanthropists like Bill Gates and to the country’s small businesses. It’s not that Bentonville retailer shouldn’t be commended for its charitable causes but that this giving be put into context.