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Foundation Announces New Walton Fellow

October 11, 2017
Ross DeVol to Focus on Economic Vitality of Nation’s Heartland

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (Oct.11, 2017) – The Walton Family Foundation today announced Ross DeVol, former chief research officer at the Milken Institute, will join the Walton Fellows Program. The program enlists subject-matter experts to conduct research and develop best practices that support the foundation’s philanthropic efforts.

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Luis Gonzalez

DeVol will study national economic trends that have transformative impact in the heartland of the nation.

“The gap in economic performance between the two coasts and the central corridor of the country continues to widen,” said Jim Walton of the Walton Family Foundation. “Ross will help identify the tools needed for a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in the American heartland where innovators can implement ideas that change lives and create jobs.”

During his one-year tenure at the foundation, DeVol will assess opportunities for regional innovation ecosystems that foster job creation, wage gains and economic growth for Middle America residents. He will also work with universities and colleges, the business community and philantrophy to analyze resources that support the startup community and identify workforce and talent gaps.

“I have spent much of my career researching the changing dynamics of the factors determining regional economic vitality and designing policy recommendations to assist locations,” said DeVol. “It is an exciting opportunity the Walton Family Foundation has provided to focus my efforts on the American heartland from Northwest Arkansas.”

DeVol is former chief research officer for the Milken Institute, an economic think tank headquartered in California. There, he was responsible for overseeing research on international, national and comparative regional growth performance; access to capital and its role in economic growth and job creation; and health-related topics. He previously served as senior vice president of Wharton Econometrics, a predecessor firm of IHS Global Insight Inc., director of economic planning at CSX, economist at Chase Econometrics and economic analyst at Union Pacific. He is an appointee to California Treasurer John Chiang's Council of Economic Advisors, as well as former appointee California State Controller's Council of Economic Advisors and past president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association for Business Economics. He has been ranked among the “Superstars of Think Tank Scholars” by International Economy magazine. A graduate of Ohio University, DeVol holds a master’s degree in economics.

About the Walton Fellows Program
The Walton Fellows Program is term-limited, with up to one year in residence. Fellows are responsible for internal and external thought leadership and will conduct research and/or build/improve processes on behalf of the programs of the foundation. This program does not accept unsolicited applications.

About the Walton Family Foundation
For three decades, the Walton Family Foundation has continued the philanthropic vision begun by Sam and Helen Walton. Their legacy is more important than ever as the foundation accelerates efforts to improve K-12 education for all students in America, to protect rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and to give back to the region that first gave Sam and Helen Walton opportunity. In 2016, the Walton Family Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $454 million. Learn more at