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Walton Family Foundation Expands Economic Research Efforts to Focus on Entrepreneurship and Millennials

April 3, 2019
Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin To Serve As Senior Fellows

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Today, the Walton Family Foundation announced the addition of two senior fellows who will undertake research on key topics to help improve economic performance across America’s Heartland states by advocating fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth, and improve health statuses. Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin, both renowned researchers in their respective fields, will join the foundation for a one-year term as senior fellows. Florida will focus his research efforts on entrepreneurship while Kotkin will focus on millennials in the Heartland.

“We are proud to welcome both Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin to our growing team, as we expand our work to improve economic performance across the Heartland at this very critical time,” said Ross DeVol, who is leading research efforts on the Heartland economy.

Later this year, these economic research efforts will shift to a new organization, Heartland Forward, a think and do tank whose mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health status. Heartland Forward will pursue its mission through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented convenings, such as its flagship convening, “Heartland Summit,” and impactful policy recommendations.

“Entrepreneurship is a key component to economic growth in every community, and I look forward to researching and sharing key learnings and best practices on how best to integrate entrepreneurship across Heartland communities and strengthening its economic status,” Florida said. For more information on Richard Florida and his work, click here.

“As a new generation of citizens, the millennial generation, come of age, we must ensure that their talents are being utilized in every community, not just in the big cities along the coasts,” Kotkin added. “Millennials will play a key role in the Heartland’s economy for years to come – it’s up to us to figure out if it is within our communities or from a distance.” For more information on Joel Kotkin and his work, click here.

About the Walton Fellows Program
As part of the Walton Fellows Program, fellows are responsible for internal and external thought leadership and conduct research and build or improve processes on behalf of the programs of the foundation. This program does not accept unsolicited applications.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, 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 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives.

Media Contact:
Talley Sergent, Markham Group
(304) 617-4422