retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Walmart said yesterday that it has hired Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a former senior executive with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to head its corporate foundation.

As the New York Times reports, “Wal-Mart’s philanthropy is closely watched in the corporate and nonprofit worlds, as well as by the company’s critics, who dismiss it as an exercise in reputational laundering.” Burwell is seen as giving the company some level of credibility because of her background with the Gates foundation.

“I feel like this is an exciting time in corporate philanthropy,” said Ms. Burwell, who announced in April that she would be stepping down as president of the Gates Foundation’s global development program. “This offered me the ability to work on problems and challenges at a scale and through the alignment of business and philanthropic interests.”
KC's View: