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Walton Family Foundation Names Environment Leaders to Key Roles

April 1, 2021

Washington, D.C., April 1, 2021 - The Walton Family Foundation today announced three new roles on the Environment Program’s leadership team. The program focuses on protecting rivers, oceans, and the communities that rely on them. Under the new structure, Pipa Elias will serve as the program’s deputy director; Heather D’Agnes will serve as senior program officer and Ocean initiative lead, and Kristin Tracz will serve as senior program officer and Mississippi River initiative lead.

“As we launch our next five-year strategy, the breadth and depth of experience these leaders bring will be crucial to the next phase of work for the Environment Program,” said Moira Mcdonald, the program’s director. “It has never been more important to protect water resources in the face of climate change to support solutions where nature and people can thrive together.”

Pipa comes to the Walton Family Foundation from The Nature Conservancy, where she was Director of Agriculture for North America. Skilled at applying scientific research to advance policy and conservation solutions, Pipa leverages collaborations to help producers meet the growing demand for food while protecting critical lands and waters. Pipa received her master’s degree in forestry from Virginia Tech and her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Notre Dame.

Heather has been with the Walton Family Foundation since 2017. She joined after 12 years with the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she deployed U.S. development assistance in partnership with governments across Africa and Asia to protect terrestrial and marine biodiversity, mitigate climate change through clean energy and land-based emissions reduction, adapt to climate impacts, and increase access to clean water and safe sanitation. Heather has a master’s degree in marine affairs and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Washington.

Kristin has been with the Walton Family Foundation since 2014. Before joining the foundation, she was a program officer for the Blue Moon Fund and an energy policy specialist for the Mountain Association, a community development financial institution in eastern Kentucky. Kristin has a master’s degree in environmental management from the Yale School of the Environment and a bachelor’s degree in political and social thought from the University of Virginia.

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 and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.