Celebrating 30 Years of Family Philanthropy


Celebrating 30 Years of Family Philanthropy

Author Carrie Walton Penner
Carrie Walton Penner

Board Chair

No one ever solved big problems by thinking small. Creating lasting change in society requires leaders driven by a spirit of innovation, a curiosity to explore what is possible and an urgent willingness to be bold where others are cautious.

It’s how we seed success – it’s how opportunity takes root.

My grandparents, Sam and Helen Walton, knew the power of opportunity. Together they shared a deep commitment to both family and community – and wanted to ensure their children and grandchildren maintained those values.

Three decades ago, my grandparents knew that doing good work together was good for their family and envisioned the role of philanthropy in uniting generations of family members to create lasting change for people and communities.

Today, as the foundation turns 30 years old, the value my grandparents placed on giving back continues to guide our family as we carry out their philanthropic vision. It's a vision rooted in a desire to live in a world where people can accomplish anything with opportunity and encouragement.

My Uncle John, for example, believed every child, no matter their circumstances, can succeed if they have real access to a high-quality education. He helped plant the seeds of a movement dedicated to developing an education system that allows people driven by innovation to be bold for our kids.

We know great ideas can come from anywhere – and we are always searching for new leaders and ideas to support as we invest in a better future.

We celebrate 30 years as a family foundation by applauding those innovators who think big to solve big problems.

Today, we're launching a blog series – Seeds of Opportunity – that recognizes some of the partners we’ve supported over the years to create dynamic new approaches in education for children and families, protect our environment and improve the quality of life in our home region through culture, recreation and the arts. Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important to celebrate organizations that have fought for inclusion, bridge-building, access to opportunity and have an unrelenting drive to make a difference in our society.

These are visionaries who – through creativity, imagination and urgency – are advancing opportunity for people and communities at home and around the world. They are closest to the challenges facing people and places at risk – and closest to the solutions. We're proud to have shared in their journey – and that they've shared in ours.

View Seeds of Opportunity >

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