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Walmart Inc. announced a plan Tuesday morning to give more than $22 million in grants to improve Northwest Arkansas organizations that advocate and promote the arts, recreation and health.

The gifts include about $17 million to keep artistic and recreational venues growing in the region, and more than $5 million in healthcare-related improvements, a company spokesman said.

Recipients of the $17 million sum include the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers and TheatreSquared in Fayetteville. The company said these funds will be geared toward sponsorship, expansion and construction costs, or in the case of Crystal Bridges, continued free admission.

“Walmart is proud to give back locally in the community where we operate,” Dan Bartlett, executive vice president of Walmart’s corporate affairs, said in a statement. “Our success is intertwined with the success of the region.”

Through these grants, Walmart is renewing its sponsorship with the Arkansas Music Pavilion, owned by the Walton Arts Center, for a total of 30 years; supporting a new art space in Bentonville called the Momentary; and investing in TheatreSquared’s plans to build a 30,000 square-foot complex with two theaters, apartments, offices and a cafe.

In addition to the arts grants, the retailer’s philanthropy arm, the Walmart Foundation, announced more than $5 million in grants for recipients Mercy Health Foundation and Northwest Arkansas Community College for healthcare-related infrastructure costs.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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