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Walton Family Foundation, Inc.


Last Updated: 2016-05-09

At A Glance

Walton Family Foundation, Inc.

P.O. Box 2030

Bentonville, AR United States 72712-2030

Telephone: (479) 464-1570


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Business
  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $2,757,142,372

Total giving: $360,527,538





Additional Contact Information

Application address for environment projects: The Walton Family Foundation, Attn.: Letter of Inquiry, 919 18th St., N.W., Ste. 650, Washington, DC 20006


Established in 1987 in AR - Founded by the late Sam M. and Helen R. Walton. Sam Walton was the founder of the retail chains Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

Purpose and Activities

Giving is focused in three areas: 1) Systemic reform of primary education (K-12); 2) The environment, specifically marine and freshwater conservation; and 3) The foundation’s home region of Northwest Arkansas and the delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Arkansas Education Reform

In the state of Arkansas, the foundation is engaged in efforts to increase academic performance of the state’s students by investing in programs that improve accountability, transparency, choice and incentives in our public schools. Its investment strategies include working with grantees to: a) promote and support academically and financially successful independent and open-enrollment public charter schools, and encourage the closure of those that are not; b) invest in organizations that can leverage continued policy support and advancement of educational accountability and choice policy, primarily Act 35, Omnibus, and Open-Enrollment Public Charter School/School Choice Policy; and c) assist traditional school districts in complying with the mandates of Arkansas’ accountability policy, primarily Act 35 and Omnibus.

Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi

The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life in the impoverished Delta region by implementing economic development and community-based strategies that lead to sustainable progress in these defined geographic areas, and by enhancing educational opportunities for children and adults. The foundation works work with two intermediary organizations that implement and monitor the projects. The work in the Delta region is focused on the following strategies: a) improving education in independent public charter schools, state and geographically targeted advocacy organizations, and traditional school districts; b) economic development; c) community development; and d) leadership development and civic engagement.

Education Reform

The foundation is committed to improving K-12 student achievement in the United States at every level – in traditional public schools, charter public schools and private schools. Its core strategy is to infuse competitive pressure into America’s K-12 education system by increasing the quantity and quality of school choices available to parents, especially in low-income communities. When all families are empowered to choose from among several quality school options, all schools will be fully motivated to provide the best possible education. Better school performance leads, in turn, to higher student achievement, lower dropout rates and greater numbers of students entering and completing college. Through three distinct initiatives, the foundation invests its efforts to shift decision-making power over where a child attends school to his or her family by: a) shaping public policy; b) Creating quality schools; and c) Improving existing schools.


The environmental giving focuses on achieving lasting conservation in some of the world’s most important ocean and river systems. Desired outcomes are intended to benefit both people and wildlife by aligning economic and conservation interests. Accordingly, the foundation invests in projects that create new economic incentives for sustainability and biodiversity protection, and in projects utilizing other conservation tools where needed. The environmental giving is in two initiatives: Freshwater Conservation in the Mississippi and Colorado River Basins and Marine Conservation, which supports conservation in some of the world’s most ecologically rich areas, as well as initiatives that create economic incentives for conservation. Both initiatives pursue conservation in a manner that protects and conserves natural resources while also recognizing the role these waters play in the livelihoods of those who live nearby.

Northwest Arkansas

The goal is to enhance the quality of life for residents of northwest Arkansas, primarily in Washington and Benton counties, by supporting community, economic and educational initiatives that will have a direct impact on the regional industries’ ability to attract and retain a quality workforce. The foundation focuses its investments on five primary quality-of-life drivers in the region, including: a) efforts to improve education by investing in independent public charter schools, state and geographically targeted advocacy organizations, traditional school districts and preschool programs; b) economic development and infrastructure; c) fine arts, culture and natural amenities; d) diversity outreach; and e) environmental programs.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made PRIs in the form of loans to educational organizations for construction, to economic development organizations, and for building, renovation, and expansion of various entities.

Public Charter Startup Grant Program

The program supports the creation of public charters by providing grants to school developers as they launch new schools. Grantees are school developers who primarily serve low-income children in our target geographies, and can demonstrate the capacity to dramatically raise student achievement. There are three potential funding avenues: Phase I - Pre-Authorization: $30,000 Maximum – A proposal may be submitted up to 15 months before filing a charter petition. This grant is awarded to schools that have a formal business plan and financials (among other requirements) and who are very likely to open and receive a charter; Phase II - Post-Authorization: $220,000 Maximum – A proposal may be submitted once the school is approved by its authorizer and during the first year of the school’s first year of operation; and Phase III - Combination Startup: $250,000 Maximum – A proposal may be submitted once the school is approved by its authorizer and during the school’s first year of operation. Only public charter schools drawing a majority of their students from select districts may apply for the funds. For more information see foundation web site or e-mail:

Fields of Interest

  • Child educational development
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Natural resources
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $2,757,142,372 (market value)

Gifts received: $495,676,062

Expenditures: $388,491,933

Total giving: $360,527,538

Qualifying distributions: $394,300,471

Giving activities include:

$360,527,538 for 1251 grants (high: $26,260,383; low: $500)

$14,562,640 for loans/program-related investments