The Walton Family Foundation gave away $375 million last year. It gave away $202 million to educational groups.
The foundation’s money is generated by the vast earnings of Walmart. The foundation was established in 1987 by Sam Walton. At least six of the Walton family members are billionaires, maybe more. As they die off, the foundation will grow larger.
The leader of the education part of the Walton Foundation is Marc Sternberg, who worked for Joel Klein in the Néw York City Department of Education. From 2010 to 2013, Sternberg was in charge of school closures and charter co-locations inside public schools.
The foundation is not only very wealthy, it has an ideology. It is rightwing. It is reactionary. It does not like public schools. It favors privatization and deregulation, which is what you might expect of a powerful corporation that hates government telling it what to do (like paying its employees a living wage). It hates unions. It loves charters and vouchers.
You might ask, how can billionaires sleep at night when they know their employees are surviving on meager earnings? I don’t know. Maybe they don’t think about it. Maybe they say, “Tough. That’s life. Life is unfair. Where’s my Bentley?”
I think you will find it enlightening to see where its money went in the 2014 year.
The biggest chunks went to Teach for America and KIPP.
AMONG THE DOZENS OF GROUPS THAT RECEIVED $80 MILLION TO “SHAPE PUBLIC POLICY” WERE:
50CAN, INC. ($2.5 MILLION);
ASPEN INSTITUTE, INC. ($250,000);
BELLWETHER EDUCATION PARTNERS ($1.1 MILLION);
BLACK ALLIANCE FOR EDUCATIONAL OPTIONS, INC. ($3.4 MILLION);
BROOKINGS INSTITUTION ($237,000);
CALIFORNIA CHARTER SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION ($3.5 MILLION);
EDITORIAL PROJECTS IN EDUCATION, INC (PUBLISHER OF “EDUCATION WEEK”) [$250,000];
EDUCATION REFORM NOW ($2.5 MILLION);
EDUCATION TRUST ($930,000);
EDUCATION WRITERS ASSOCIATION ($250,000);
EDUCATORS FOR EXCELLENCE ($825,000);
FAMILIES FOR EXCELLENT SCHOOLS ($5 MILLION);
FOUNDATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION ($3 MILLION); Jeb Bush’s organization
FRIEDMAN FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL CHOICE ($624,000);
KIPP FOUNDATION ($300,000);
MIND TRUST ($500,000); Indianapolis
NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES ($227,000);
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO ($342,758);
NEW TEACHER PROJECT ($2.5 MILLION);
NEWSCHOOLS VENTURE FUND ($2 MILLION);
PARENT REVOLUTION ($1 MILLION);
STAND FOR CHILDREN ($350,000);
STUDENTSFIRST FOUNDATION AND STUDENTSFIRST INSTITUTE ($4.250 MILLION);
SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS ($1.5 MILLION);
TEACH PLUS ($250,000);
THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY GROUP ($550,000);
THE NEW YORK TIMES ($150,000);
TEACH FOR AMERICA ($2.43 MILLION);
THE THOMAS B. FORDHAM INSTITUTE ($742,050);
UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND ($105,000); UNITED WAY OF LOS ANGELES ($350,000).
KIPP RECEIVED GRANTS TOTALING $9 MILLION, IN ADDITION TO $300,000 FOR “SHAPING PUBLIC POLICY.” TEACH FOR AMERICA RECEIVED $17.5 MILLION, IN ADDITION TO $2.43 MILLION FOR “SHAPING PUBLIC POLICY.”