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Yesterday, Walmart announced $2 million in grants to organizations working to expand internship opportunities for diverse youth populations, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc. and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Building on previous Walmart funding to the two nonprofits, the grants will help provide career pathways on Capitol Hill for students and young professionals through education and hands-on experience in the nation’s capital.

“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,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of programs at Walmart.

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 grant of the same amount will allow CHCI to train Latino undergraduates in paid summer or spring Congressional internships. Interns 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.”

“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.

Recently, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation granted nearly $4 million to organizations helping to promote access, equity and inclusion among diverse populations. The funding was part of the Foundation’s Diversity & Inclusion competitive grant competition, which provides support to initiatives with measurable impact on and demonstrated reach into diverse communities including African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, women and girls, the LGBTQ community and individuals with disabilities.

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