Creating opportunities for America's students 

The Walton Family Foundation began supporting K-12 education in the mid 1990s, and we have learned that what initially seemed impossible – transforming the way the United States educates its most disadvantaged students – is achievable. Talented and passionate partners, teachers, school leaders and parents have shown that change, even of this magnitude, is possible.

In 2015, the foundation invested $179.9 million in education nationally, with $20 million of that taking the form of startup grants for 100 new charter schools in 13 cities across the country. The foundation has also worked to build a pipeline of talented principals and teachers, support community engagement and empowerment efforts, foster innovative ideas and research big questions that inform practice in the field.

With our new 2020 K-12 strategic plan, we are making an unprecedented commitment to expanding educational opportunity. We will focus our grantmaking in cities across the country — including Atlanta, Boston, Camden, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. 

We believe that creating high-quality school options and opportunities is important, but we also understand that to achieve long-lasting change, we must do more. That is why the foundation’s five-year strategic plan includes:

We plan to invest $1 billion over five years to create more and better opportunities for America’s children. These grants represent our investment in the future of communities — and in the ideas, approaches and education entrepreneurs who have a passion to serve and prepare the next generation of Americans to succeed in college, in jobs and in life.

K-12 Education Program Highlights

100 charter school


In 2015, we supported 100 new charter school startups with more than $20 million in grants.



The foundation helped to attract and train more than 5,450 teachers, school leaders & education innovators in 2015.

40 -day math


In one year, urban charter students gain a 40-day math advantage and a 28-day reading advantage, according to a CREDO study.

When there is talent to start a school and parents decide to send their children there, it becomes more than just a school. It becomes a place where communities and futures are built.

Marc Sternberg, K-12 Education Program Director

Grantee Stories

Building Synergy between Charter and District Public Schools


Transforming Low-Performing Schools in Memphis


A Q&A with Character Lab's Dr. Angela Duckworth