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The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation announced plans Thursday in Washington, D.C., to launch a $10 million U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, where eligible nonprofit organizations can apply for grants of $100,000 or more.

The idea is to help increase U.S. manufacturing.

According to a release from Wal-Mart, the first year of the initiative will focus on innovation in textiles manufacturing and common manufacturing processes that apply to a broad range of consumer goods, including small motor manufacturing and tooling for injection molding. The groups anticipate that research and academic institutions, think tanks and other non-profit entities focused on innovations in manufacturing will receive the grants.

"Through the Wal-Mart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, we hope to help remove the barriers to revitalizing and growing U.S. manufacturing, creating jobs and building a stronger American economy," said Cindi Marsiglio, vice president of U.S. sourcing and domestic manufacturing for the retail giant. "This is part of Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation's broader commitment to foster new ideas and jobs to promote strong communities and grow America's manufacturing footprint."

The company said this is part of a larger commitment for it to buy an additional $250 billion in products that support American manufacturing. The Boston Consulting Group estimates the initiative will add 1 million U.S. jobs.

Applications are due April 22. Information on grants is available at

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors is committed to helping bring manufacturing jobs back to America's cities, and our partnership with Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation will strengthen our metro economies that drive the national economy," said Tom Cochran, the CEO and executive director of the mayor's group.

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