(March 26) A $10,200 check from Wal-Mart stores in central Washington will help further the education of those connected to Washington’s tree fruit industry.

The grant went to the Washington Apple Education Foundation’s Farmworker/Ag Worker Education Program, which provides funding for initiatives that educate those employed, or related to employees, in Washington’s tree fruit industry, said Jennifer Witherbee, the Wenatchee, Wash.-based foundation’s executive director.

On March 24, Dan Burks, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s regional market manager, presented the check to foundation chairman Roger Calhoun at a citizenship class that received support from the program in 2007, Witherbee said.

“The program has continued to grow each year,” she said. “At one point (it was) funded solely by the Washington Apple Commission, which when it reorganized, had to cease funding.

“We had to go out and get industry and community support to keep it going, and it’s amazing how many rallied around it,” Witherbee said.

In 2008, the program expects to donate more than $50,000 to the adult education and K-12 specialized education programs and college scholarships it supports, thanks to Wal-Mart’s contribution, as well as donations from others, including:

  • Weyerhaeuser Co. Foundation

  • Oneonta Trading Co.

  • Wells Fargo Bank

  • U.S. Bancorp Foundation

  • Wilbur Ellis Co.

  • Northwest Farm Credit Services

  • AgNW Consulting

  • Key Foundation
Wal-Mart funds farmworker education effort
Dan Burks, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s regional market manager (right), presents a check to Washington Apple Education Foundation chairman Roger Calhoun.