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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. -- the world's largest retailer -- said yesterday that in 2006 the company gave more than $300 million -- or $5.8 million per week -- to support the 6,700 worldwide communities in which it operates. That reflects a $30 million increase over 2005.
In addition, Wal-Mart's customers and associates donated more than $115 million in individual contributions through company-sponsored fundraisers.
"As our company has continued to grow, so have the dollars we've given to support our local communities," said Ray Bracy, s.v.p. of corporate affairs, in a statement. "We are glad to be in a position to make a real difference -- not just through our own corporate donations, but also by encouraging others to give."
Corporate giving at Wal-Mart is governed by a philosophy that was instituted by the company's founder, the late Sam Walton: Operate globally and give back locally.
Last year the Chronicle of Philanthropy recognized Wal-Mart as the largest corporate cash contributor in America. In 2006 Wal-Mart gave more than $270 million to support its 4,000-plus U.S.-based communities.
Charitable contributions from Wal-Mart support a variety of causes and issues in the areas of education, the environment, health and human services, civic and community groups, and culture and the arts.