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The Wal-Mart Foundation has been in the giving mood lately, the latest of its gifts going to a fuel efficiency campaign and a charity to help low-income youth earn high school diplomas or GEDs.
Wal-Mart has joined the Alliance to Save Energy and more than a dozen other partners to launch the "Drive $marter Challenge."
Earlier this year the foundation donated $675,000 to the campaign, which offers tips to help consumers lower their gasoline usage and increase their cars' fuel efficiency through vehicle upkeep and smart driving.
"Wal-Mart understands the impact that rising energy costs have on consumers who are struggling to stretch their dollars during these tough economic times," said Matt Kistler, s.v.p. for sustainability at Wal-Mart. "By working with the Alliance to Save Energy, we hope to help Americans across the country save money at the pump so they can live better."
The campaign Web site, www.drivesmarterchallenge.org, features a calculator that drivers can use to determine how much money, gas, and CO2 emissions they can save by driving smarter. Drivers can also find recommendations for increasing their fuel efficiency.
The Web site also shows how each visitor plays an important role in curbing energy use and CO2 emissions by displaying a running tally of the cumulative savings of everyone who has taken the "Drive $marter Challenge" pledge.
The Alliance has calculated that the average U.S. household will spend $3,400 on fuel costs in 2008, according to Wal-Mart.
In line with its commitment to make education a top priority in 2008, the Wal-Mart Foundation is making a $5 million grant to YouthBuild USA. YouthBuild USA provides low-income youth who left high school without a diploma the opportunity to resume their education, earning a GED or diploma while simultaneously developing marketable job skills.
The retailer said its grant to the nonprofit organization will allow 2,000 students to enroll in nearly 60 YouthBuild programs across the country, including Philadelphia, Portland, New Orleans, Austin, and St. Louis. Through these programs, YouthBuild students will build at least 100 units of affordable housing for low-income families in Wal-Mart communities nationwide.