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By the Numbers: Milestones and Lessons Learned

December 9, 2020
  • Helping Children Reach Their Full Potential
  • Helping Children Reach Their Full Potential
  • Educators for the Next Generation
  • More Resources for Students, Schools
  • Protecting Water for Future Generations
  • Protecting Water in the Mississippi River Basin
  • The Future Depends on Water in the West
  • The Vibrancy of Northwest Arkansas
  • The Potential of the Delta
  • Growing Innovation in the Heartland
  • Increasing Vibrancy Through Arts & Culture
    Helping Children Reach Their Full Potential

    Over the last five years, millions of students in cities across America, including Denver, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., benefited from citywide gains as a result of Walton Family Foundation grantmaking. Direct support to more than 700 schools helped over 350,000 students across the nation and will touch millions more. Additionally, leaders trained in foundation-funded programs added significantly more days of learning for students in their schools.

    Educators for the Next Generation

    Of the many things we’ve learned over the years, this truth stands out: A great education begins with a great teacher. And we’ve also learned that all students benefit when taught by diverse educators. The foundation has supported 15,000 teachers, principals and education leaders over the last five years, and we will continue to build on our support for teachers and education leaders of color.

    More Resources for Students, Schools

    The Building Equity Initiative tackled one of the biggest systemic barriers to serving more students in high-quality charter schools — securing facilities. Through innovative financing mechanisms, the Building Equity Initiative has redirected financial resources originally earmarked for facilities back to teachers and students in support of student learning.

    Protecting Water for Future Generations

    Securing significant milestones for the environment and scaling sustainable agriculture and fishing practices have been the focus of our Environment Program. These milestones include a landmark bi-national water-sharing agreement, helping ensure the Colorado River can provide water to 40 million western U.S. residents, and the largest funded restoration effort ever to better protect the homes and business of the 2.3 million Gulf Coast residents.

    Today, 18 million more trees are growing in the Mississippi River basin – and 50,000 farmers are better caring for the river and their crops. Meanwhile, a hungry planet benefits from more retailers demanding sustainably caught seafood and more fishers adopting sustainable practices, including 800,000 fishers in Chile, Peru, Mexico and Indonesia.

    Protecting Water in the Mississippi River Basin

    One of the key challenges of our time is making sure we have enough healthy water for nature and communities to thrive together. Over the past five years, the Walton Family Foundation has worked with grantees, governments, major industries and communities to reach important achievements to protect water and help ensure a more healthy environment for generations to come.

    The Mississippi River provides drinking water for 20 million Americans in 50 American cities while supporting agriculture that feeds a hungry world.

    The Future Depends on Water in the West

    Protecting the quality and quantity of the water in our nation’s rivers is vital to ensuring safe and plentiful drinking water for communities and irrigation for thriving agriculture. The Colorado River is a crucial, bi-national water resource, but right now, the demand for its water is exceeding supply.

    We can make sure there is enough water for nature and people if we manage resources responsibly. In 2019, the Walton Family Foundation secured the largest water conservation plan of all time: the seven Colorado River basin states, the U.S. federal government and Mexico committed to cutting their water use by up to 15%.

    The Vibrancy of Northwest Arkansas

    In our home region, foundation-led efforts included supporting the construction of more than 200 miles of new trails in Northwest Arkansas, preserving more than 3,100 acres of green space and restoring more than 37,000 feet of riverbank, so residents can enjoy the benefits of a pristine environment. We've supported 15 Design Excellence projects to beautify the region's urban landscape, helped 10 nationally ranked K-12 schools provide high-quality education to students and funded vibrant cultural amenities that attract more than 1 million visitors annually.

    The Potential of the Delta

    In the Delta, the foundation invested in educational and economic opportunities that led to success stories like a 100% college acceptance rate for the 2018 class of Helena-West Helena High School, for the first time in the school’s history. Foundation grants also helped create 100 new jobs for Delta residents.

    Growing Innovation in the Heartland

    Our efforts to support a culture of entrepreneurship are helping attract entrepreneurial talent and startups to the region, stimulating innovation in local industries and ensuring small businesses have the resources needed to thrive.

    Over the past two years, we have been working with grantees like the University of Arkansas and the Northwest Arkansas Council to create an ecosystem where current and aspiring entrepreneurs are supported in their journey to transform ideas into businesses and scaling them into promising growth enterprises.

    Increasing Vibrancy Through Arts & Culture

    Arts and culture are critical to a thriving community, and over the past five years, the foundation has been working to establish the region as a worldwide leader. In Northwest Arkansas, the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $131.2 million industry — one that supports 4,647 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $14.3 million in local and state government revenue.

    The arts provide inspiration and joy to residents, beautify public spaces, and strengthen the social fabric of our communities. Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are also businesses. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from other local businesses, and attract tourists. Event-related spending by arts audiences generates valuable revenue for local merchants such as restaurants, retail stores, parking garages and hotels.

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