Walmart bucks to benefit Brooklynites

Walmart has finally entered Brooklyn. Not as a superstore – thathas yet to be announced – but as a major donor to the city’s SummerYouth Employment Program.

The announcement of the $4 million donation and $1 millionfundraising pledge by the Walmart Foundation was made on Tuesday,July 5, at the Brownsville Recreation Center, near which the bigbox retailer is rumored to be considering opening a superstore.Mayor Michael Bloomberg presided over the press conference,answering questions on behalf of the retailer and thanking Walmartfor being a good corporate citizen by investing in our youngpeople and the future of our city.

Walmart’s donation will restore 3,400 summer jobs for youth thathad been cut from the annual program in the city’s budget. It isthe largest of 30 private-sector donations, which have been soughtby Bloomberg as a way to cushion the budget blow.

The financial contribution comes at a time when rumors aboundover where Walmart will open its first New York City store. Thedonation, to some, comes across as an effort by Walmart to buygo

This is a case of the hustler Walmart and the hypocriteBloomberg trying to bribe New Yorkers to accept Walmart, saidCouncilmember Charles Barron, of East New York, Brownsville andCanarsie, where one of the most promising sites for Walmartdevelopment is located.

The mayor’s office denies the allegation, spokesperson AndrewBrent stating that the donation has no direct impact on Walmart’sstatus as a potential tenant in the city. Mayor Bloomberg has longsupported the prospect of Walmart moving to the city on the groundsof all business is good business.

Walmart representative Steven Restivo insisted that the donationis simply a continuation of an effort that has gone on for severalyears to support programs in education, sustainability andworkforce development in the city.

We have lots of customers, associates, suppliers and foundationpartners who live and work [here], Restivo said. We think ourstores can be part of the solution when it comes to creating jobsand improving access to healthy affordable food, particularly inunderserved areas.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz took a morecircumspect approach. Young Brooklynites, particularly those inCentral Brooklyn, are ready, willing and able to get the job done -all they need is the opportunity, he said. So kudos toWalmart.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.