Money Well Spent


Money Well Spent
Alice Walton

It’s not unusual to hear about the generosity of Arkansans.

According to the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, in recent years Arkansas has ranked seventh among states in charitable giving despite having one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

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Some of this is because Arkansas is home to some of the largest charitable giving foundations in the country and some of the world’s wealthiest people, chiefly the Walton family members.

So maybe we tend to take news of big donations for granted, which is why we want to take a moment and applaud a $10 million donation to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville last week by Alice Walton.

Walton, the Walmart heir who founded and bankrolled the museum and its offshoot, The Momentary, earmarked the money to expand and diversify the museum’s internship program. That includes adding an administrator focused solely on the internship program, which is partnering with two private, historically Black colleges and universities — Spelman College in Atlanta and Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee — to recruit interns from populations underrepresented in arts leadership.

Walton said that while the museum has worked for years to hire and develop leaders from diverse backgrounds, “we recognize there is still work to do.”

“I believe it’s essential for museums to build an inclusive culture, and in order to do so it’s imperative to educate and develop future arts leaders,” she said.

Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are all over the business and nonprofit worlds these days and, like any other topic du jour, they can be serious, sincere efforts aimed at getting real results or another exercise in going through the motions.

Walton’s grant and the initiative it funds are worthy attempts to build a diverse workforce and train new leaders. We look forward to seeing the results.

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