May 25, 2010; Source: The Californian | In these trying times you don’t expect to come across stories that trumpet the fact that there’s grant money to be awarded without any takers. Yet, that’s exactly what appears to be going on—or at least until this story appeared in the Californian about problems the Walmart Foundation’s California State Giving Program is having. According to the report, the fund has “gone almost untapped” in parts of the state since it was created in 2008.

To prove that it’s serious about wanting to give grants to local 501(c)3s—as much as $25,000 in individual awards—Walmart officials held a news conference on Monday in Salinas City Hall (Salinas also happens to be where Walmart is opening a new store next month). Acknowledging the grant program has drawn little attention so far, Walmart’s Amelia Neufeld said, “We can only award grant money to organizations that apply. As more folks know about it, we’ll be able to support more activities.” What exactly is going on here?—Bruce Trachtenberg