BY MELANIE BUCK –
In August, the Walton Family Foundation announced that Mena native, Buddy Philpot, will step down after 15 years from his position as Executive Director to allow for new leadership to step in while a new long-term strategy is launched. Philpot is the son of Betty Stinnett Philpot and the late Bill Philpot.
The Walton Family Foundation is a three-decade old program that was launched by Sam & Helen Walton, founders of the Walmart enterprise. The foundation is now run by their children and grandchildren and “focuses on awarding grants that drive not just incremental, but transformative, change.”
The Walton family credits Philpot with much of the Foundation’s success. In a statement released by the Foundation they stated, “For 15 years, Buddy Philpot has been an outstanding executive director for our foundation and a leader whom so many throughout the philanthropic world know, trust and respect. As we recently completed the development of long-term strategies to guide our programs, Buddy has decided that now would be an opportune time for a new executive director to take over.”
Philpot does plan to stay on with the foundation in other aspects and also while a new executive director is searched for to ensure the transition works as smoothly as possible. “We are pleased that Buddy will stay involved with our family on an expanding number of projects at Walton Enterprises. Our foundation has set an ambitious course for the future. We look forward to recruiting a new executive director to step into one of the most dynamic foundation leadership positions in America.”
Under the leadership of Philpot, the foundation’s annually awarded grants has grown exponentially, from $40 million per year to nearly $400 million per year. “We’ve expanded from a four-person staff to a team of more than 75 talented individuals. These are among the most respected experts and practitioners in their fields and are helping us operate at the absolute highest standards for philanthropy.”
The Walton Family Foundation supports improvements to education, creating a healthy environment, and giving back to their local region. The family also said they are exceptionally optimistic about what’s ahead for the foundation, “We know Mother and Dad would be proud of the impact of the foundation. They’d be the first to celebrate Buddy and thank him for his contributions. They’d also be excited about our plans for the future and the engagement of the next generation of family members and leaders. Together, we remain committed to the core belief that there are no limits to what people can achieve when they are given, as Dad once said, “the opportunity, the encouragement and the incentive to do their best.”