A N N U A L  R E P O R T

The philanthropic vision of Sam and Helen Walton has driven the work of the Walton Family Foundation for nearly three decades. Their legacy is more important than ever as we accelerate our efforts to improve K-12 education for all students in America, to protect our rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and to give back to the region that first gave Sam and Helen Walton opportunity.


In my 15 years with the Walton Family Foundation, we’ve taken steps toward the vision that Sam and Helen Walton inspired – each year moving forward with greater urgency, but measured patience. The urgency to create immediate individual opportunity – for the kindergartener who needs and deserves a good school now, or for the fisherman whose livelihood depends on a healthy fish population today – and the patience to stay involved over decades to ensure broad opportunity for generations to come.

In 2015, our grantmaking totaled nearly $375 million, and we are poised to invest $2 billion over the next five years.

I’ve watched the work of our grantees change lives and communities for the better. Sleepy downtowns have become vibrant hearts of active cities. I’ve witnessed the preservation of entire ecosystems, while the livelihoods of people and communities were protected. And countless children have been given a greater chance to succeed in life because their families had access to high-quality educational options.

All of this was possible because the foundation staff and our board were eager to think — and act — big. I am humbled and proud of the work we’ve accomplished, but I know there is room to do more.

In our K-12 education program, we hold fast to our belief that access to a high-quality education can lead to a lifetime of opportunity and can be a path out of poverty. We know that good schools alone aren’t enough; to truly make a difference, we need to cultivate leaders who embrace quality, communities that press for change and public policies that foster greatness in schools and classrooms.

In our environment program, by creating local economic incentives through the preservation of oceans, rivers and coasts, public and private partners are working together to develop long-term solutions that will benefit communities for generations to come.

The Walton family believes strongly in giving back to its home region, and that’s never been more evident than now. In the Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi, we increased after-school programming, and in Northwest Arkansas, we are supporting a new independent school, and we launched an initiative to elevate architectural and landscape design for public buildings and spaces — all of which will make our corner of the world a better place for residents today and those of tomorrow.

The children and grandchildren of Sam and Helen Walton who lead the foundation today have embraced and built upon their values and vision, and they continue carrying forward their legacy. We have set an ambitious course for the future that’s built upon the strength of our past, and I’m optimistic about what’s ahead.



Buddy D. Philpot
Executive Director

After nearly 30 years of family philanthropy, there are many lessons that apply to the future of the foundation. One of the most profound is the need to act with urgency — to create immediate individual opportunity — and patience — to stay involved to ensure broad opportunities for generations to come.

Carrie Walton Penner, Walton Family Foundation Board Chair

2015 Grant Investments

$374.7 million

in grants awarded in 2015

K-12 Education


Home Region

* All figures are in millions

View Complete Grant Report >

Creating Lasting Change

The Walton Family Foundation's philanthropic vision began nearly 30 years ago with Sam and Helen Walton. Today, their legacy continues to thrive as we work to create lasting change by empowering individuals. Learn more about the investments we've made and our plans for the future: 

K-12 Education

Improving K-12 outcomes to prepare America's students for a lifetime of opportunity 



Restoring the health of oceans and preserving the quality and availability of fresh water


Home Region

Enhancing the quality of life for those who live in Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta region