The two-day #MLK50 Symposium in Memphis this week brought together today's most powerful scholars, historians and thought leaders from across the country. Workshops and panels were organized to analyze the current state of civil and human rights issues and racial and economic equity 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. The Symposium took place April 2-3, 2018, and concluded with a commemorative ceremony on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination at the historic Lorraine Motel.

The theme for the #MLK50 Symposium was based on Dr. King’s final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Despite the current chaotic state of this country, the Walmart Foundation is choosing community and striving to carry on Dr. King's legacy.

During the symposium, the Foundation announced its decision to donate nearly $4 million to 12 organizations specifically committed to strengthening communities through diversity and economic mobility. The Foundation wants to help build more inclusive communities and amplifying organizations and programs that:

  • Encourage civic engagement and leadership among youth and young adults
  • Close the economic, educational and social divides across racial, ethnic and gender lines to build more inclusive, empathetic communities
  • Remove barriers to workplace training and skills gaps that prevent individuals from obtaining full-time employment opportunities

"The Walmart Foundation is committed to helping advance solutions to bridge divides where all people have equal access to tools ad opportunities they need to reach their potential," said Julie Gehrki, vice president of the Walmart Foundation. "By supporting organizations working to build trust and foster cross-sector partnerships, we're helping to build capacity for organizations and practitioners working on the front lines to help strengthen communities"

The 12 nonprofit organizations were selected among more than 160 applicants for this year’s Walmart Foundation Diversity & Inclusion competitive grant competition.

The organizations include:

Coalition for Queens


Funding will support C4Q’s 10-month Access Code curriculum to equip disadvantaged adults with the coding and professional skills necessary to gain well-paid jobs at leading tech companies.

Cabrini Green Legal Aid


CGLA will collaborate with the Chicago Cook County Workforce Partnership to provide legal services and wraparound support to clients in need.

The Arc


To actively support the inclusion and full participation of people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) throughout their lifetimes, the Arc will work with at least 20 organizational chapters around the country to successfully place 630 individuals with I/DD in open jobs.



Funding will help expand adult education and training capacity services, providing education and career laddering for un- and under-employed adults. EMERGE will pilot gender-specific General Education Development (GED) classes for East African women from immigrant and refugee backgrounds and others seeking supportive women-only classes.

Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute


Funding will support Fresh Tracks, an innovative platform for emerging leaders ages 17-25. The program’s 3-5-day training expeditions bring together participants from urban and indigenous communities for cross-cultural leadership experiences that tap into the power of the outdoors to unite and ignite, transforming personal dreams into civic action.



LISC will support place-based initiatives that draw residents of underserved, diverse communities impacted by crime, together with each other and with law enforcement for collaborative action to address community challenges.

Tides Center


Funding will support Cities United, the backbone organization to a network of mayors committed to the seemingly aspirational yet critically urgent goal of reducing the homicides of young black men and boys.

Women’s Foundation of Greater Memphis


Funding will help launch a national collaborative to galvanize resources and create cross-sector partnerships to advance equity and outcomes for young women of color.

Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque


Funding will increase CFGD's capacity to develop its equity and inclusion framework and hire equity experts for trainings, speaker series and coaching for business leaders and 20 nonprofits in order to create an informed, equitable and inclusive community where all people are respected, valued and engaged.

National Black Justice Coalition


Funding will support historically black colleges and universities’ (HBCU) efforts to accelerate community cohesion and inclusion by expanding and deepening LGBTQ cultural competency trainings at HBCUs for faculty and students.

Voto Latino


To help foster a pipeline of civically engaged students who identify as and help to elevate the voices of Latino students (and faculty), the funding will provide resources needed to help implement leadership development trainings and other activities for Voto Latino university chapters.

National Urban League


Funding will support the program Project Lead to strengthen the organization's infrastructure and improve overall execution by providing training and development opportunities for its professional staff from across the nation.