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Walton Family Foundation to Distribute $500,000 to Nonprofit Organizations Addressing Greatest Needs of Little Rock Students

Special Projects
September 9, 2020
More than 60% of parents/guardians are worried about students falling behind due to COVID-19

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Sept. 9, 2020 – Today, the Walton Family Foundation announced it will distribute $500,000 to Little Rock nonprofit organizations addressing the greatest needs of local students through the Community Support Grant Program. To date, more than $300,000 has been distributed to the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and AR Kids Read to support the launch of tutoring programs.

Media Contact
Luis Gonzalez
Walton Family Foundation
479-321-6844

The foundation will distribute an additional $200,000 to Little Rock-based nonprofit organizations addressing the biggest challenges identified by Little Rock residents. According to the survey of 667 residents, the most helpful programs will prioritize at least one of the following:

  • Helping students improve in specific subject areas, such as reading or math.
  • Offering 1-on-1 tutoring or student group programs.
  • Equipping parents and guardians with the tools and training they need to assist their children with online learning.

“The strongest solutions come from those closest to the challenge,” said Kathy Smith of the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group. “During these uncertain times, we must look to, learn from and support those who know Little Rock families and communities best.”

The deadline for nonprofits interested in applying for grants is October, 7. Information about the Community Support Grant Program is available at http://waltonfamilyfoundation.org/littlerock.

“COVID-19 is presenting unprecedented challenges for Little Rock students, educators and parents as they navigate these new learning environments,” said Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. “Now more than ever, we must work together to support organizations willing to step in and support their communities.”

In the coming weeks, CALS will launch the Count UP Tutoring Program through its Children’s Library and Learning Center. Students will be able to connect with tutors in real-time to solve unique challenges, or participate in intensive, ongoing, 1-on-1 tutoring with expert volunteers. For more information, visit http://cals.org/tutoring.

“We know that overall math achievement for students in Little Rock is below where parents and educators would like for it to be,” said CALS Executive Director Nate Coulter. “Through Count UP, hundreds of Little Rock students will for the first time have access to quality math tutoring at no cost to them or their families. We are proud that our Children's Library will be a meaningful learning center, helping our children and youth realize more of their potential.”

With these resources, AR Kids Read will dramatically expand virtual tutoring to reach more Little Rock students. Since 2011, thousands of Little Rock students have received customized, hands-on tutoring with the ultimate goal of building lifelong readers through AR Kids Read. Little Rock families interested in tutoring services this fall can learn more at https://arkidsread.org/register-a-student/.

“Little Rock families are asking for tutoring and literacy resources,” said AR Kids Read Executive Director Dr. Dionne Jackson. “This grant will allow us to significantly enhance our capacity to serve our students and families at a time when they need us most.”

Over the last two decades, the Walton Family Foundation has invested in education initiatives to support more than 10,000 Little Rock students. This includes supporting the launch of 16 schools and the training and development of more than 500 leaders and educators serving students across the city. The foundation also contributed resources to expand high-quality pre-K, establish school-community partnerships at eight middle schools, increase access to online learning and support educator development and retention.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2019, the foundation awarded more than $525 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.