Quick facts

Family: Widow of John Walton; one son, Lukas

Age: 58 (born 1955)

Residence: Jackson, WY/La Jolla, CA

Wealth

Estimated net worth: $36.7 billion (through her late husband’s estate; as of March 2014).

Richest woman in the world, per Forbes magazine.

Her husband, John, the son of Sam Walton, died suddenly in 2005. Through John’s estate, Christy Walton:

  • Shares 50.8% ownership of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. with John’s siblings, Alice, Jim, and Rob.
  • Shares 96% ownership of the family’s Arvest Bank (Jim Walton, CEO) with Rob and Jim Walton[1]; As of March 2013, the bank’s assets totaled approximately $14.3 billion.
  • Holds 30% ownership in solar energy company First Solar—an investment worth $1 billion.[2]

Educational and professional background

Education unknown.

Walton has described herself on political donations as a “homemaker” and “philanthropist.”

Political giving

Federal election giving

Since 2000, Walton has given $303,100 in donations to candidates for federal office, more than 85 percent of which went to Republicans or Republican political action committees (PACs). She has also supported the Walmart PAC.

Examples of state-level election giving

  • Wisconsin: As the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reported in September 2011, Christy Walton was the third-largest individual contributor to winning state legislative candidates in the 2010 elections that put Republicans in control of the state government. Six of the top ten individual donors were members of the Walton family. Under the first budget passed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-majority legislature, funding for public schools was cut by $800 million over two years, while funding for programs that funnel public money to private schools increased by $17 million over two years.
  • California: In 2005, the day after then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill—opposed by Walmart but often referred to as “the Walmart bill”—that would have required the state to disclose the names of companies with 25 or more workers and whose employees received publicly-funded state health benefits, Christy Walton gave $250,000 to Schwarzenegger’s California Recovery Team campaign account.[3]

Community connections

  • Walton financed the development of the film Bless Me, Ultima, a film adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya’s novel of the same name. She is listed as executive producer on the film.
  • Co-chair, Children’s Scholarship Fund, which funds private school educations for low-income children. John Walton co-founded CSF in 1998 with the late Republican financier Ted Forstmann.
  • Emeritus Director, Teton Science Schools; Christy’s son Lukas graduated from Teton Science Schools’ Journeys School in 2005.
  • Walton is listed as one of the “Connoisseurs” of the Mingei International Museum, a folk art museum in San Diego. Connoisseurs comprise a short list of museum patrons who are “dedicated to building the Museum’s collections.” Walton has been a sponsor of multiple exhibitions at the museum, and donated a “prize-winning Kyrgyz yurt” that she had purchased and brought to the U.S. from Kyrgyzstan in 2007.

 

 


[1] Wal-Mart primer from former company spokesman,” Northwestern Financial Review, Vol. 194, No. 5, 3/1/2009-3/14/2009

[2] FSLR Historical Prices; calculation based on 8/15/13 share price of $37.63.

[3] Dan Morain, “Initiative Fundraising in High Gear”, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct 2005.