Today, Walmart announced $2 million in grants to organizations working to expand internship opportunities for diverse youth populations, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI). The grants build on previous Walmart funding to the two nonprofits, bringing the company’s total investment to more than $6 million over the last several years. The funding will help provide career pathways on Capitol Hill for students and young professionals through education and hands-on experience in the nation’s capital.
“At Walmart, our commitment to diversity and inclusion spreads beyond our stores and out into the communities where our associates and customers live,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of programs at Walmart. “Through relationships with organizations like CHCI and CBCF that reflect the diversity of American society, we can open the door to help more young people build a career in public service and expand the pipeline of talent on Capitol Hill and beyond by providing our future leaders with the tools needed for success.”
At a time when people of color currently make up less than 20 percent of U.S. lawmakers (Pew Research Center), these grants come at a critical moment. Although diverse populations represent approximately 36 percent of the population, only 7.1 percent are senior staffers in the Senate, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
The CBCF will receive a three-year, $1 million grant to help prepare college students and young professionals for careers in public policy and advocacy. The funding will provide exposure to the development and implementation of national policies – from Capitol Hill to federal field offices – as well as support intern housing, monthly stipends, professional development and leadership training.
A three-year, $1 million grant to the CHCI will provide Latino undergraduates with paid summer or spring Congressional internships. Through Walmart’s support, students will gain valuable work experience, benefit from a strong leadership development curriculum, participate in a community service project and interact with professionals and industry leaders in Washington, D.C.
“The CBCF is committed to increasing diversity on Capitol Hill and in the public sector by creating a new generation of informed and engaged citizens and leaders,” said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Chair, CBCF Board of Directors. “Internships are a critical component toward building a career in public policy. Through Walmart’s continued support and dedicated partnership, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has successfully increased the number of scholars who have access to the intern-to-staffer pipeline.”
“Walmart has led the way as the Founding Partner for CHCI’s Congressional Internship Program by significantly investing in our nation’s future leaders, “said Rep. Joaquín Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. We value Walmart’s support of CHCI’s 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.”