Our Staff

Buddy D. Philpot, Executive Director
Buddy D. Philpot is the foundation’s executive director overseeing all foundation operations, grant making, research and evaluation, and communications. Prior to joining the foundation, Buddy spent more than 20 years in community banking, joining the Walton family owned Arvest Bank Group in 1987. He served for more than 10 years as president and CEO of the Springdale, Arkansas, Arvest bank. He joined the Walton Family Foundation as executive director in 2001. Buddy holds banking degrees from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.

Marc Sternberg, K-12 Education Program Director 
Marc Sternberg leads the foundation’s initiatives to improve K-12 education for all of our nation’s children by empowering parents with quality options. Before joining the foundation, Marc served as the senior deputy chancellor at the New York City Department of Education, where he directed the citywide portfolio planning efforts including new school development and placement, the school phase-out process, and the enrollment process for students Pre-K-12. He also served as senior advisor to the chancellor and the mayor’s office on K-12 policy and strategy.

Prior to his service as deputy chancellor, Marc served as founder and principal of the Bronx Lab School, an unscreened high school that quadrupled the graduation rate of Evander Childs High School, the school Bronx Lab replaced in 2004. After earning a B.A. from Princeton University in 1995, Marc served as a Teach For America corps member in the South Bronx. He then earned a joint MBA and Masters in Education from Harvard University. 

Barry D. Gold, Environment Program Director
Barry Gold leads the foundation’s freshwater and marine initiatives to find lasting solutions that benefit the environment and strengthen local economies. Before joining the foundation, Barry served as director of Marine Conservation at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, where he led efforts to keep the world’s oceans healthy through approaches that take both environmental and community needs into account. This included work to shift fisheries management to an incentive-based system to help end overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks and sustain fishing communities, as well as efforts to advance comprehensive approaches to ocean planning.

Prior to joining Moore, Barry managed the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s work on ecosystem-based management and linking science to policy. Before Packard, he was chief of the Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center where he led an effort to restore the Colorado River ecosystem throughout the Grand Canyon. Barry has held senior positions with the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served as board president for the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, the leading affinity group for environmental foundations, and was vice-chair of the California Ocean Science Trust Board. Barry received a B.S. from the University of Miami, an M.S. from the University of Connecticut, an M.A. from George Washington University and a D.Sc. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Karen Minkel, Home Region Program Director
Karen Minkel is responsible for work with grantees focused on quality of life initiatives in Northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. Karen was previously a senior research officer in the Evaluation Unit at the foundation and provided analysis and evaluation of the Home Region Program’s grants and strategies. Before coming to the Walton Family Foundation, Karen worked for the City of Fayetteville as director of strategic planning and internal consulting, administering and evaluating myriad programs, policies and processes. She has also worked in public sector consulting in London and served as a Teach For America corps member in Harlem. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.

Naccaman Williams, Ed.D., Special Interest Team Director
Naccaman Williams is director of the foundation’s Special Interest team, which includes grants directed by individual members of the Walton family. A former junior and senior high school mathematics teacher, Naccaman has served in several higher education roles, including director of the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida, and assistant dean and director of minority education services in the College of Education at the University of Arkansas. He served seven years on the Arkansas State Board of Education, including two years as chairman. He also served a four-year term on the Southern Regional Education Board. Naccaman holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Ouachita Baptist University and a doctorate in education administration from the University of Arkansas.

Marc Holley, Ph.D., Evaluation Unit Director
Marc Holley is responsible for ensuring that the foundation staff and board of directors are provided with accurate, timely research and analysis to support strategic decision-making. He was previously a researcher at the University of Arkansas in the Office for Education Policy. In addition to publishing peer-reviewed research, conducting program evaluations, and authoring a book on teacher quality, he has worked with the What Works Clearinghouse. He was also a teacher, school administrator, and Peace Corps volunteer. Marc holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Arkansas, a M.Ed. from the University of Georgia, and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Bob Smith, Accounting & Operations Director
Bob Smith provides accounting and finance support as well as the operational support required to assist the focus area teams with execution of the foundation’s strategic plans and initiatives. Prior to joining the foundation, Bob served as CFO and director of accounting of the automotive division of a family-owned company and worked in both the Little Rock and St. Louis offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is a CPA and holds a B.S.B.A. from Missouri State University.

Daphne Moore, Communications Director
Daphne Davis Moore oversees all internal and external communications for the foundation, including institutional foundation communications as well as working with the K-12 Education and Environment Program teams to support and advance foundation grant-making strategies. Prior to joining the foundation, Daphne spent 13 years working in the corporate affairs division of Walmart, holding positions in public affairs, government relations and corporate communications. Before Walmart, she spent five years as a newspaper reporter. Daphne holds a B.A. in English and mass communications from Ouachita Baptist University.