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Walton Family Foundation Names Longtime Entrepreneur as Director of University Partnerships

August 23, 2018

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Louise Epstein, an Austin native with a broad entrepreneurial background, has joined the Walton Family Foundation to serve as director of university partnerships. In this new position, Epstein will play a fundamental liaison role between the foundation and partners in higher education – with a strong emphasis on collaborations with the University of Arkansas. She brings a robust set of skills to help the University of Arkansas commercialize its research and become an institute of innovation. Before joining the foundation, Epstein was the managing director of the Innovation Center in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

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“We’re enthusiastic about the role Louise will play as a thought partner who will shape initiatives that meet shared goals with the University of Arkansas and other universities nationwide,” said Walton Family Foundation Executive Director Kyle Peterson.

The relationship between the Walton Family Foundation and the University of Arkansas has been a longtime collaboration. The momentum created by this partnership has contributed to Northwest Arkansas’ vitality and ongoing growth as a hub for innovation, green space preservation, education and the arts.

Epstein will be responsible for scoping and designing programs at higher education institutions that capture the foundation’s programmatic vision, as well as developing and managing high-impact grantmaking. Specifically, with the University of Arkansas, Epstein will continually adjust and sharpen the strategy for initiatives funded by the Walton Family Foundation.

“I look forward to building on the strong programs and initiatives of the University of Arkansas to create a hub for innovation, prosperity, economic development and collaboration throughout the two-county region,” Epstein said.

Epstein is a fellow at UT’s IC2 Institute, a think tank that focuses on technological innovation by catalyzing regional economic development through active and directional collaboration. Previously, she was entrepreneur-in-residence at the McCombs School of Business in the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship where she mentored students. Epstein was the founder of Charge-Off Clearinghouse, a distressed debt company that valued, purchased and sold $1 billion of charged-off credit cards. In addition, she was one of the first women investment bankers in Texas and was elected to the Austin City Council.

She received her master’s in business administration from UT where she also graduated from the Plan II Honors Program with a bachelor’s degree in history.

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 2017, the foundation awarded more than $535 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.