Director of University Partnerships


Sam and Helen Walton had an unshakeable belief in the power of people to transform their own lives. As Sam said, there is no limit to what individuals can accomplish if “given the opportunity, the encouragement and the incentive to do their best.” Today that “no limits” philosophy is carried forward by their descendants through the Walton Family Foundation.

During 2017, the foundation plans to invest over $450 million in domestic and international projects that address significant social and environmental issues. The foundation continues to implement and expand grant making to fund a positive difference in many diverse communities – and in the lives of the people who call these communities their home.


This position is predominately focused on the University of Arkansas but includes partnership activity with other universities.

The relationship between the Walton Family Foundation and the University of Arkansas dates back to 1987. Since that time, the foundation has provided transformational philanthropic support to the University including the creation of the Sam M. Walton College of Business, The Honors College, The Graduate School and International Education, and most recently The School of Art. These schools, along with other numerous and far-reaching projects supported campus-wide, have helped the university to its current national prominence and Carnegie research-1 status. The momentum created by this partnership has improved the region and the state and is vital to the ongoing growth of Northwest Arkansas as a national hub for innovation, preservation, education and the arts.

The University of Arkansas is a strategic partner in regional prosperity and innovation. The Walton Family Foundation seeks alignment with the University of Arkansas’ priorities and areas that have the highest potential to move the region forward. The arrival of a new Chancellor and articulation of University-wide priorities, and new aspirations for coordinated regional economic growth, provide further opportunities for the Walton Family Foundation to support the University of Arkansas as an engine for innovation, prosperity and collaboration throughout the region.


Based in Bentonville, Arkansas and reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of University Partnerships, in this new role, will play a value-added liaison role between Walton family members and the University of Arkansas’ Chancellor, and his team. The Director of University Partnerships will be responsible for: capturing programmatic vision from key family members; collaboratively scoping and designing programs that align to vision; guiding and making significant grants; and monitoring progress in areas of interest to family members (the arts, business, economic development, education, and architecture). The Director may also provide support (about 20% of his/her time) to other universities nation-wide in conjunction with Individually Directed gifts from Walton family members.

Specific responsibilities:

Strategic coordination of Walton Family Foundation support:

  • Adjust and continually sharpen the strategy for University of Arkansas-related initiatives funded by the Walton Family Foundation and individual family members, in collaboration with other private and corporate donors in the region.
  • Develop and manage high impact grant initiatives from Walton Family Foundation to the University of Arkansas; support the vision of family members related to specific initiatives, and shape those initiatives to meet both the University of Arkansas’ and Walton Family Foundation’s goals.
  • Oversee progress of initiatives against milestones and evaluate effectiveness.
  • Serve as a key point of contact for, and resource to, foundation staff in all areas, including grantmaking, communications, evaluation, etc. for the University of Arkansas and other universities.

Connecting and amplifying Innovation:

  • Develop strong relationships with the University of Arkansas’ leadership; partner closely in areas where there is alignment of priorities.
  • Act as a thought partner to the University of Arkansas in innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
  • Develop expertise in university collaborations; track trends, and incorporate learnings from other innovation partnerships.
  • Identify additional funding partners to engage in areas where there is overlap.


Characteristics and Attributes:

  • Entrepreneurial and highly motivated.
  • Creative and passionate about facilitating large-scale, innovative programming in collaboration with family members, academic and administrative leaders.
  • Relationship oriented; builds effective connections and networks to achieve results. Treats everyone with respect and knows the value of discretion.
  • Self-directed and a decisive problem solver who can also be flexible.
  • Excellent written and oral communicator.
  • An effective team member who is also able to act independently.
  • Analytical; can evaluate and monitor grantee proposals and processes.
  • Intellectually agile; able to think critically and crystallize emerging issues that are directly relevant to programmatic funding areas.
  • Unquestionable ethics and personal integrity; willing to make a passionate commitment to the goals of the Walton Family Foundation.


  • Advanced degree
  • At least 15 years of professional experience, with strong knowledge of university structures and operational procedures. Can point to tangible examples of public-private partnerships in sponsored research, corporate philanthropy, regional economic development/innovation, etc.
  • Business orientation and/or corporate track record, with deep investment skills gained in venture capital or private equity or a related field

The Walton Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, among other things or status as a qualified individual with a disability.

To apply: Please submit resume and cover letter, in MS Word format to Viewcrest Advisors at apply@viewcrestadvisors.com.