Bel-Aire Elementary School Principal April Norris announced Tuesday morning that the school was the recipient of a $1,500 community grant from Walmart to benefit “educational enrichment” for the Bel-Aire Bees.
The grant is just one piece of the corporation’s global Community Grant Program, which seeks to “support the needs of [local] communities by providing grants to local organizations.” The grant program is part of the larger Walmart Foundation, which seeks to “give people access to a better life,” according to its website.
This was the first time Norris had applied for the recurring grant, but she said she would definitely be continuing to apply to see if she couldn’t continue to benefit all her students.
According to Norris, the money will be used to support both math and science educational tools for her teachers.
“We’re going to do some enrichment activities [with the money,” Norris said. “We’re looking at an outdoor classroom to do those things in.”
Norris said she applied for the grant for two reasons: because the opportunity presented itself and it would benefit her students and teachers.
“The opportunity was there and also schools can always use money to better the activities our students have,” she said.
Specifically, she said, the money will go toward more hands-on learning activities for her math and science students.
“Science and coding — the kids really enjoy doing that, and those programs are expensive,” she said.
Increasing the number of science and coding programs her students can use in schools was of paramount importance to her, as many young students aren’t exposed to in-depth science lessons with they are in kindergarten or first grade.
Many STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons aren’t taught to those students, she said, and she would like to change that.
“STEM activities, I’d like to make sure that I get K through 2 involved (because) a lot of times they don’t really get engrossed in that until 3 through 5,” she said.
“I want to get that action; that interest set up with them,” she said.
On hand to present the check were Mark Kelly, the general manager of the Tullahoma Walmart, and Tonya Treuhaft, the personnel manager for the local store.
Both Kelly and Treuhaft were said they were happy to present the money to Bel-Aire. Kelly specifically said the grant was just one way he tries to spread the available funds around in order to benefit the community.
Schools aren’t the only recipients of the grants, he said, listing Toys for Tots, churches, schools and other charitable organizations as recipient examples.
“We couldn’t operate without the community,” he said, “and the schools are a big thing [in Tullahoma].”
The Walmart Foundation
The Walmart Foundation “meets the needs of the underserved by directing charitable giving” toward its focus areas, which are opportunity, sustainability and community, according to its website.
In the 2016 fiscal alone, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated more than $1.4 billion in cash and in kind donations, according to its website. Associates of the company also contributed more than 1.25 million hours of their time outside of work to volunteer causes.
The Community Grant Program specifically gives out grant awards in between $250 and $5,000 to a variety of organizations.
All organizations that apply must meet certain eligibility requirements, according to its website.
In order to be eligible for a grant, an organization must be either a registered 501(c)(3) or listed under section (19) of the Internal Revenue Code, listed on the IRS Master File and conduct activities within the United States; a recognized government entity, including state, county or city agency; a K-12 public or private school, charter school, community/junior college, state/private college or university; or a church or other faith-based organization with a proposed project that benefits the community at large.
There are eight different funding areas under which organizations may apply for grants: hunger relief and healthy eating, health and human service, quality of life, education, community and economic development, diversity and inclusion, public safety and environmental sustainability.
For more information on the Walmart Foundation, visit ww.giving.walmart.com.
Erin McCullough may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.