The Walmart Foundation is the charitable arm of Walmart. While the Walton Family Foundation is run directly and funded by members of the family of Walmart founder Sam Walton, the Walmart Foundation is controlled and funded by the corporation.
The Foundation disbursed over $120 million in 2018, 90% of which was distributed by thousands of Walmart stores across the world.  According to the Foundation Center, in 2003, the Walmart Foundation was the 51st-largest foundation in America based on total assets, and the second-largest based on total disbursements; as of 2019 Forbes did not list it among the 100 largest charities. 
The Foundation donates to organizations across three focuses: creating opportunities for low-income and minority individuals, environmentalism, and economically supporting local communities. Due to the organization’s decentralized structure, in which store managers are given great autonomy to choose grantees, the Foundation gives money to a wide variety of groups including many churches and small-scale local charities, with an average grant size of only $1,000 in the early 2000s.  The Foundation’s biggest grants, which reach into the millions of dollars, often go to organizations focused on environmentalism, advocacy for minority groups, and other left-of-center causes.
Though the Foundation initially prohibited donations to non-American organizations, it has taken on more of an international focus over time, with grantees in 13 countries.  However, in response to increased manufacturing competition from China and other foreign exporters, in 2014, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation spent $10 billion to support U.S.-based manufacturing, and pledged to spend another $250 billion over the following decade. 
In March 2020, the Foundation pledged $25 million to support front-line organizations working against the COVID-19 pandemic. 
In 1962, Sam Walton opened Walmart Discount City in Rogers, Arkansas. In 1969, after launching dozens of branches, Walton incorporated the store as Wal-Mart Inc. The following year, the company reformed as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and went public. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Wal-Mart expanded into a regional and then national retail powerhouse with a business model of aggressively cutting prices through bulk orders from suppliers. 
Though altruistically minded, Walton resisted directing Walmart toward philanthropic activity. In his 1993 posthumously published autobiography, Walton explicitly stated, “We feel very strongly that Wal-Mart really is not, and should not be, in the charity business.” Walton believed that Walmart’s positive contribution to society was based on raising living standards for Americans (especially with lower incomes) by running an efficient company that provided essential products at low prices. He was also concerned about draining value from shareholders and customers through charitable giving. 
Nevertheless, in 1982, Walton founded the Wal-Mart Foundation as the charitable arm of Walmart. In the late 1980s, Walmart donated around 0.5% of its pre-tax earnings to charity, between one-third and one-eighth the rate of its closest competitors.  After Sam Walton’s death in 1992, Walmart dramatically increased its charitable donations at the behest of Walton’s family. From 1999 to 2005, the Foundation almost tripled its annual expenditure. 
The Walmart Foundation disburses 90% of its grants through thousands of its stores across 13 countries: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, China, and Japan. Though all grants require approval from the Foundation’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas (seat of Walmart headquarters), each store manager has “de facto authority” to give out up to $25,000 per year within the region of the store, as long as the recipients are connected to the expected customer base. Managers rely upon suppliers, employees, and customers to make local connections and find suitable recipients. 
As a result of this decentralized structure, the Walmart Foundation gives far more small-scale grants than large grants, and gives more money to local churches and sectarian organizations than other comparably sized corporate foundations. In the late 2000s, the Foundation gave about 150,000 grants of no more than $1,000 each year, with some grants as low as $100.  This strategy has helped the Walmart corporation build closer ties to local communities for the sake of goodwill and customer satisfaction. 
Racial Equality Initiative
On June 5, 2020, Walmart CEO Doug McMillion released a statement pledging to increase employee racial diversity in Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, and especially to increase its number of black employees (despite 21.5% of the company’s workforce being black).  He also announced that Walmart and the Foundation would create a new “center on racial equality” which would spend $100 million over the next five years to “address systematic racism in society head-on and accelerate change.” 
The following week, McMillion released a second statement detailing Walmart and the Foundation’s internal corporate diversity initiative. The company plans to prioritize minority-owned suppliers, increase healthcare access for minorities, increase grants to historically black colleges, “evolve” its hiring practices regarding applicants with criminal records, and launch the Center on Racial Equality to fund research and advocacy concerning systematic racism in the United States. 
Between 1998 and 2003, the Walmart Foundation donated to numerous right-of-center think tanks, especially those supportive of charter schools. The Foundation gave $350,000 to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, $300,000 to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, $185,000 to the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, $155,000 to the Goldwater Institute, $125,000 to the Hudson Institute, $70,000 to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, $25,000 to the Heritage Foundation, and $15,000 to the Cato Institute. 
Since 2017, the Foundation’s only right-leaning recipient of a large grant was the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington DC, which received $250,000. In 2019, the Foundation gave an additional $350,000. 
Though the Walmart Foundation donated to numerous right-of-center organizations in the early 2000s, its ideologically aligned recipients of large grants in the later 2010s have been almost exclusively left-progressive. 
The Foundation donates to numerous left-of-center environmentalist groups. In 2017, the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $417,144 to Global Green USA. In 2018, the Foundation gave $250,252 to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. In 2019, it gave $858,562 to the Meridian Institute, a consulting firm for left-of-center nonprofits. 
The Foundation donates to many left-of-center Hispanic-interest and liberal expansionist immigration advocacy groups. From 2017 through 2019, the Foundation gave three grants totaling $2,811,722 to the National Immigration Forum. In 2017, the Foundation gave $1,232,127 to the Institute for Latino Progress and $250,000 to the Hispanic Foundation. In 2019, the Foundation also gave $1 million to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. 
The Foundation donates to many left-of-center black advocacy groups. In 2017 and 2019, the Foundation gave $1 million to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a left-of-center educational center. In 2018 and 2019, the Foundation gave $500,000 to the National Urban League, a nation-wide left-of-center civil rights advocate. In 2019, the Foundation also gave $256,000 to the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights advocacy group focused on black LGBT individuals. 
In 2018, the Foundation gave $1.5 million to the National League of Cities Institute, a nonprofit that represents the interests of cities in state and federal governments and often aligns itself with left-of-center causes. 
Also in 2018, the Foundation gave $750,000 to Pew Charitable Trusts, a charity which tends towards left-of-center causes.