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Our History

We are a family-led foundation

Sam and Helen Walton moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1950 to open a five and dime store, and their passion for retail later led to the creation of Walmart. In 1987, Walmart celebrated its 25th anniversary, and Sam and Helen established the Walton Family Foundation.

They envisioned the foundation as a bond to strengthen and bring their family together, children and grandchildren across generations, to find lasting solutions to big challenges.

Helen had a favorite saying: “It’s not what you gather in life, but what you scatter in life that tells the kind of life you have lived.” That spirit of giving has guided the foundation in its philanthropy over the past three decades.

Family meetings that used to take place in Sam and Helen’s living room now happen in the offices of the Walton Family Foundation, where a Board of Directors comprised entirely of family members still drives our focused approach to philanthropy.

March 23, 2018
The Walton Family Foundation is led by the descendants of foundation founders Sam and Helen Walton.
We celebrate 30 years as a family foundation by applauding those innovators who think big to solve big problems
March 23, 2018
A long-term vision for quality education, environmental conservation and a thriving home region