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Family Legacy: The Walton Family Foundation

It's not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.
Favorite saying of Helen Walton

The Walton Family Foundation

One of Sam and Helen Walton’s lifelong goals was to increase opportunity and improve the lives of others. This guiding principle drives the philanthropic mission of the Walton Family Foundation.

After graduating high school in 2010, Kyeshia Ward went to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. A 2014 college graduate, Kyeshia now teaches chemistry at KIPP Delta Collegiate High School.


The scenic Razorback Regional Greenway connects the cities of Northwest Arkansas. Hikers, runners, and cyclists can travel from city to city without turning on an engine.


Conservation efforts ensure the Colorado River remains clean and beautiful so that fish and wildlife have a healthy environment and local communities have a sustainable water source. These efforts also guarantee that people can enjoy all the river offers now and into the future.


Philanthropic Organizations

By working with grantees and collaborating with other philanthropic organizations, the foundation is dedicated to making a positive difference with clear goals in three focus areas:

  • K-12 Education Improving K-12 outcomes for all students, especially those of limited means, by ensuring access to high-quality educational choices that prepare them for a lifetime of opportunity.
  • Our Home Region Creating and sustaining long-term economic development for residents and businesses in Northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi.
  • The Environment Achieving lasting conservation outcomes in ocean and river systems that benefit both people and wildlife by aligning economic and conservation interests.

S. Robson “Rob” Walton

Chairman of the Board – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Retired)
October 28, 1944.

Rob Walton attended Wooster College and earned a degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas and a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law. He joined Walmart in 1969 as an outside lawyer and General Counsel, moved to Bentonville in 1978 to work full time for the company and became Chairman of the Board following Sam’s passing in 1992. Prior to becoming chairman, he held a variety of positions with Walmart, including senior vice president, corporate secretary, general counsel, and vice chairman. Before joining Walmart, Rob was a partner with the law firm of Conner & Winters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is currently involved with a number of nonprofit and educational organizations, including Conservation International, where he serves as chairman of the executive committee, and the College of Wooster, where he is an Emeritus Life Trustee. In 2015, Rob Walton retired as Chairman of the Board for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; Greg Penner was chosen as his successor.

Did you know?  Rob started out mopping floors and carrying freight up the back stairs in Walton’s 5&10. He is actively engaged in competitive cycling, and is an advocate of increasing cycling opportunities in communities nationwide.


John Thomas Walton

October 8, 1946 – June 27, 2005

John Walton enrolled at Wooster College before leaving to enlist in the Army. A Green Beret medic who served in Vietnam, John was awarded the Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his unit while under intense enemy fire. After the Army, he pursued a variety of business interests, including work as a crop duster in the 1970s and as a boat builder in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1992, John joined the Walmart Board of Directors and served as an engaged member as part of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee.

Helen and Sam Walton’s second child, John was a guiding figure in the family’s charitable initiatives, especially in the campaign to bring high-quality education to every American child. John died on June 27, 2005, when his experimental plane went down near Jackson, Wyoming. He was 58. He’ll always be fondly remembered for his leadership, his tireless energy, and his passion to make a real difference in children’s lives.

Did you know?  John was an avid pilot who loved to fly a variety of aircraft. He was also a very strong proponent of increasing educational opportunity for all.

Jim Carr Walton

Chairman – Arvest Bank Group, Inc.; Board member – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
June 7, 1948

Jim Walton joined Walmart as a real estate manager in 1971 after earning a marketing degree from the University of Arkansas. In 1975, Jim left Walmart to become President of Walton Enterprises, a diversified family business with interests in retailing, agriculture, and charitable programs, particularly in the area of education. Today, Jim is the chairman of Bentonville, Arkansas-based Arvest Bank Group, a group of community-focused banks serving customers in four states that has been recognized nationally for its industry-leading customer service. Highly engaged with the Northwest Arkansas community, Jim is active with the Northwest Arkansas Council. He is a member of the Walton Family Foundation Board of Directors, and he has served on the Arkansas Scenic Rivers Commission and the Arkansas Council on Economic Education.

Did you know?  Jim began his career carting boxes for Walton’s 5&10. He enjoys canoeing, camping, and other outdoor activities and was an avid student of Dr. Neil Compton, the man widely credited with saving the Buffalo River.


Alice Louise Walton

Founder – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
October 7, 1949

Alice Walton graduated from Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas, with a B.A. in Economics and Finance. She began her career in finance as an equity analyst and money manager for First Commerce Corporation and later served as Vice Chairman and head of all investment-related activities at the Arvest Bank Group. As the first chairperson and driving force behind the Northwest Arkansas Council, she helped guide the community development organization in the creation of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. In 2001, she was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.

Did you know?  Alice was well known for selling candy and popcorn at Walton’s 5&10 in the 1950s and inherited a life-long love for art and painting from her mother Helen, the “first lady of Walmart.” This lead to Alice’s founding of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a world-renowned and innovative museum.

Learn more about the Walton Family Foundation, its history and its role in our community.