Five Universities Awarded Walmart Foundation Grants

Five universities were awarded U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grants totaling $2.84 million for their work focused on textile manufacturing from the Walmart Foundation. The five recipients are: Clemson, S.C.-based Clemson University for its energy and effluent reduction through innovative polyester fabric dyeing; Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., for its environmentally conscious dyeing of fabrics using continuous digital printing an drying of biopigment inks; Austin, Texas-based University of Texas at Austin for its on-loom fabric defect inspection system using contact image sensors; Raleigh, N.C.-based North Carolina State University for its non-stop tying-in process for improving weaving efficiency; and Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cornell University for its recycled post-consumer textile waste and raw material substitute for new textiles.

The grant recipients were chosen for their potential to address the following two key challenges faced by domestic manufacturers: reducing the cost of textile manufacturing in the United States by dealing with production obstacles; and improving common manufacturing processes with broad application to many consumer products.

The awards were announced at the 84th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington. The recent awards are the second round of funding, and the goal is to award $10 million in grants over the course of five years.

“Through these grants we hope to help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing U.S. apparel manufacturing, while creating more sustainable production processes,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president, the Walmart Foundation, and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “The U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund is part of the Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s broader commitment to foster new economic growth and opportunity and create stronger communities.”

In 2013, Walmart committed to purchase an additional $250 billion in products that support U.S. jobs by 2013. Support for the Innovation Fund is part of Walmart’s broader commitment to support U.S. textile manufacturing.

January/February 2016