Report: Walmart's Billionaire Waltons Give Almost None Of Own Cash To Foundation
The Walton family is America's richest, worth some $140 billion between them and longtime fixtures of the Forbes 400 list thanks to their approximate 50% ownership of Walmart, the world's largest retailer.
Their Walton Family Foundation, established by the late Sam and Helen Walton in 1988, is considered a heavyweight in the world of nonprofits with just under $2 billion in assets.
In 2013 alone, the Foundation invested $325 million across three key areas: education reform, the environment and the family's home region of northwest Arkansas. One of the Foundation's major recipients has been Alice Walton's stunning Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, funded to the tune of $1.2 billion.
However, almost none of this largesse is the result of donations from the Waltons themselves, according to a report released on Tuesday by Walmart 1 Percent, a project of union-backedMaking Change at Walmart.
Says the study, which can be viewed in full here:
The central finding of this report is simple: Our analysis of 23 years’ worth of the Walton Family Foundation’s tax returns shows that Rob, Jim, Alice and Christy Walton—the second generation Walmart heirs—have contributed almost none of their personal fortune to the foundation which bears their family name.
- Rob and Alice Walton made zero individual contributions to the Foundation during the 23 years we examined;
- Jim Walton made a single personal contribution of $3 million to the Walton Family Foundation, more than 15 years ago;
- Rob, Jim, and Alice Walton and the family holding company they control (Walton Enterprises) have been responsible for only .13% of all contributions to the Walton Family Foundation ($6.4 million);
The combined lifetime contributions of the second generation Walmart heirs and their family holding company to the Walton Family Foundation come to $58.49 million, or:
■■ About .04% of the Waltons’ net worth of $139.9 billion (current figure is put at $191 bn).
The report goes on to detail how the Foundation has been funded over the years, namely by tax-avoiding trusts established with assets provided by the late Sam, Helen and John Walton or their estates. The study found that 99% of the Foundation's contributions since 2008 have been channeled through 21 Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts. These CLATs, as they're known, are specifically designed to help ultra-wealthy families avoid estate and gift taxes.
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