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Learning and Leading Together: The Next Five Years

February 8, 2021
The foundation will support innovation, new ideas and — above all — community-led change

Big change can take decades, even generations, to realize. Yet, the world can have a way of jolting us, making it hard to look beyond the moment. These moments also demand that we reflect and accelerate our actions and commitments.

Last year, 2020, tested the resilience, compassion and resourcefulness of a nation. But such a challenge-filled year also allowed us to quiet the commotion of 'normal life' for a moment and listen – really listen – to the voices of local leaders striving for change in their communities. The voices of these leaders, the ones closest to the challenges, will lead to practical solutions that help and improve their neighbors' lives.

Every five years, the Walton Family Foundation takes the time to step back and dive deeper into our ongoing listening and learning, reflect on the lessons learned from the field, and explore how the foundation can better support community-driven change through bold and collaborative work.

This year, 2021, marks the beginning of a new five-year cycle. You can learn more about the 2025 Strategy here.

Now is a moment for clarity, urgency and a renewed commitment to community-driven change.

This process helps us continually strive to understand better what works — and what needs improvement. Over the next five years, the foundation will support innovation and new ideas and — above all — support community-led change. Three unifying objectives are prioritized across program areas sharpening efforts and ensuring our core values show up as we support grantees' work. These include:

  • Championing community-driven change to ensure efforts not only reflect but are guided by the voices and needs of communities;
  • Prioritizing diversity, equity & inclusion and consistently acting on the conviction that when people with different ideas and backgrounds are all at the table, this collective and inclusive effort leads to more sustainable and innovative solutions; and,
  • Developing innovative approaches and building new partnerships that bring people, resources and ideas together – across government, local communities and the private and philanthropic sectors.

The problems of today are more complex and interconnected than ever. No one can solve them alone. Now is a moment for clarity, urgency and a renewed commitment to community-driven change.

We look forward to pursuing this path together.

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