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Wal-Mart Foundation Donates $12.5 Million to King Memorial

The leadership of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. announced today that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., through the Wal-Mart Foundation has provided a $12.5 million letter of credit which will expedite the beginning of physical construction of the memorial. 

The Wal-Mart Foundation’s latest effort is in addition to the $1 million donation it made in 2005. 

The generous support provided by Wal-Mart allows the Memorial Foundation to obtain a construction permit from the National Park Service (NPS) to begin construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. 

Both the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts announced final approval of the Memorial design in September 2008.  The Memorial Foundation submitted an application for a construction permit along with the final design documents to the NPS in early October 2008.  The letter of credit allows the Memorial Foundation to submit the final financial documents to the NPS to obtain a construction permit.      

“The Wal-Mart Foundation has played a vital role in the development of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial by first making a $1 million donation in 2005 and now providing a $12.5 million letter of credit,” said Harry E. Johnson, President and CEO of the Memorial Foundation. 

“Wal-Mart’s partnership demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to the community and to the causes important to its associates and customers.  The company’s continued support helps to uphold the ideals of hope, democracy, justice and love for which Dr. King stood.”

The Memorial Foundation continues its aggressive program to reach its total fundraising goal of $120 million.  To date, the Memorial Foundation has raised $100 million.  The Wal-Mart Foundation’s letter of credit will help the Memorial Foundation as it seeks to raise additional funds needed to complete the overall construction of Dr. King’s memorial.

“Dr. King stood for what is best about this country – courage, resolve and a commitment to making life better for all people,” said Wal-Mart President and CEO Lee Scott. 

“This memorial helps us recall the impact of his life and words, but it is also more than that. Above all, it reminds us of Dr. King’s belief that each of us has the potential to be more than we are – and challenges us to rise to that promise.”

“On the dawn of a new and historic period in America, I am delighted by Wal-Mart’s unprecedented and unparalleled commitment to ensure the building of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

“There are very few more significant national projects than the MLK Memorial.  Like Dr. King’s life and legacy, this Memorial will continue to serve as a beacon of hope and as a reminder of the greatness of this country.”

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