The Walton Family Foundation has announced that it awarded grants totaling more than $432 million in 2012, primarily in support of education reform, environmental conservation, and quality-of-life initiatives in Arkansas and Mississippi.
The largest share of grant dollars, some $158 million, was awarded for systemic K-12 education reform, including nearly $61 million to build capacity for policy advocacy in support of charter schools and scholarship programs; $73 million to establish new high-quality schools of choice; $23.5 million to improve existing schools; and $652,000 for research and evaluation. The foundation also awarded grants totaling $92 million for freshwater ($29 million) and marine ($39 million) conservation initiatives and nearly $24 million in support of other environmental initiatives, including a long-term commitment to the restoration of the Gulf of Mexico region. In addition, the foundation invested nearly $30 million in "home region" grants, including support for education reform efforts in Arkansas ($9.3 million) and quality-of-life initiatives in northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region.
Other foundation commitments included nearly $110 million to the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, $2 million to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and more than $40 million in special interest grants and grants under $10,000.
"We work to continue the philanthropic vision set by Sam and Helen Walton," said Walton Family Foundation executive director Buddy D. Philpot. "Our investments are made across diverse areas of focus, but with a singular mission — to expand opportunity for individuals and communities so that they can live better in today's world."