Walton Family Foundation

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The Walton Family Foundation was established as the culmination of the philanthropic interests of the family of Sam M. and Helen R. Walton, owners of Wal-Mart. According to its website, the Foundation's three focus areas are: K-12 education reform, freshwater and marine conservation, and quality of life initiatives in the Arkansas region.[1] Much of the focus of the foundation is on the privatization of the U.S. public school system.


According to its 2012 IRS Form 990 filing, the Walton Family Foundation had $581.4 million in revenue, $441.2 million in expenses, and year end assets with a fair market value of $1.999 billion.[2]

Notable 2012 Grants[3]

Ties to Conservative Advocacy Organizations

In 2006, the New York Times reported that the Walton Family Foundation had given over $2.5 million to "prominent conservative research groups" over six years.[4] These groups, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Manhattan Institute then defended the company in the press and in congressional testimony.

School Privatization Efforts

Support for Washington, DC Charter Schools

According to an April 2014 New York Times article, the Walton Family Foundation has invested $80 million in education initiatives in Washington, DC, despite not opening a store there until 2013.[5] This includes $1.2 million since 2002 to the four DC Prep charter schools in the city, money to the local charter school board, vouchers for private schools, and support to an advocacy group for charter schools. The Foundation also hired Lori Drummer Armistead as an education program officer, who is the former director of public affairs and the director of the education task force at the American Legislative Exchange Council.[6]

Funding Milwaukee Charter Schools

On January 8, 2013, the Walton Family Foundation announced it had provided $1.4 million to four new charter schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In its press release, the Foundation stated it has spent $6.2 million toward launching 36 new charter schools in Milwaukee since 2001. The Walton Family Foundation is the largest private investor in new charter schools across the country.[7]

Recipients included North Point Lighthouse Charter School (4200 W. Douglas Ave.), Bruce-Guadalupe Community School (1028 and 920 S. 9th St.), Carmen High School of Science and Technology's new north side campus (5496 N. 72nd St.), and Rocketship Milwaukee, opening its first charter school at 2933 W. Cleveland Ave. in the fall of 2013.

Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, the Walton Family Foundation has donated over $84.3 million to charter schools and organizations that support them, such as Green Dot Schools, ICEF schools, and the Los Angeles Parent Union. They have also contributed $1 million to candidates or political action committees which support school privatization efforts.[8]

Support for the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Walton Family Foundation was a "Chairman" level sponsor of 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference, which in 2010, equated to $50,000.[9]

About ALEC
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Board of Directors


  1. Walton Family Foundation, "About," organization website, accessed May 6, 2014.
  2. GuideStar, "IRS Form 990," organization website, accessed May 6, 2014.
  3. GuideStar, "IRS Form 990," organization website, accessed May 6, 2014.
  4. Michael Barbaro and Stephanie Strom, "Wal-Mart Finds an Ally in Conservatives," New York Times, September 8, 2006.
  5. Motoko Rich, "A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools," New York Times, April 25, 2014.
  6. Walton Family Foundation, "Education Reform Staff," organization website, accessed May 6, 2014.
  7. Erin Richards, "Walton Foundation gives millions to new Milwaukee charter schools" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 8, 2013
  8. Peter Dreier, "Why Are Walmart Billionaires Bankrolling Phony School 'Reform' In LA?," Huffington Post, February 28, 2013.
  9. [American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Sponsors, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 11, 2011]