New Philamplify Report Examines the Walton Family Foundation

Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: May 05, 2015

It’s been a year since NCRP launched Philamplify, and it’s been an incredible learning experience. To date, we’ve released five comprehensive reports evaluating the social justice impact of some of the country’s largest foundations – and each has already acted on one or more of our recommendations. We’re more committed than ever to our key goal of bringing honest feedback to grantmakers, and fostering a culture of openness and inclusion.

I am excited to share the latest Philamplify assessment of the Walton Family Foundation (WFF), which asks, “How Can This Market-Oriented Grantmaker Advance Community-Led Solutions for Greater Equity?”

The foundation was started by Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton, and is still family-run, so it’s no surprise that it takes an unabashedly market-based approach. The new report delves into whether such an approach is necessarily antithetical to social justice, analyzing its effectiveness across key program areas: K-12, freshwater and marine conversation and the home regions of Northwest Arkansas and the Delta.

Read “Walton Family Foundation: How Can This Market-Oriented Grantmaker Advance Community-Led Solutions for Greater Equity?” Now!

Our assessment, written by expert researcher Gita Gulati-Partee, offers concrete, actionable recommendations to boost WFF’s equitable impact. It’s clear that the foundation is committed to underserved communities, funding deeply in the same geographic and program areas over a long period of time. However, it could do more to truly engage these communities and include them in the decision-making process – using its successes in environmental conservation as an inspiration for its other programs.

Watch this Philamplify video, which captures how the foundation’s different approaches to education and the environment continue to affect communities within New Orleans years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the BP oil spill:

Visit philamplify.org to read the Walton Family Foundation assessment, agree or disagree with our recommendations, comment on the report, take our poll and share which foundation you think should be “philamplified” next. As always, philamplify.org users have the option to remain anonymous.

Imagine the impact on our communities when foundations get the feedback they need. You can help break the isolation bubble in philanthropy – be a part of this movement and share your thoughts about the Walton Family Foundation assessment today.

Aaron Dorfman is executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). Follow @NCRP on Twitter and join the #Philamplify conversation.