Quick facts

Family: Sam Rawlings Walton is the oldest child of Rob Walton and grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Married to Tillie Klearman Walton. No children.

Age: 46 (born February 1968)[1]

Residence: Aspen, CO[2]

Wealth

Unknown. However, his father Rob Walton has an estimated net worth of $39.3 billion (as of January, 2015).

Sam Walton is a car aficionado, and is said to have raced vintage cars at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races as recently as 2004, along with his father.[3]

Educational and professional background

Education

Walton graduated from Prescott College in Arizona. He is said to have given a $500,000 donation in support of a new campus building.[4]

Professional life

Walton is a hydrologist; the Environmental Defense Fund, where he is a trustee, lists him as a “Boatman, Philanthropist, and Entrepreneur.”

He is the president of Restoration Works, LLC, an environmental advocacy outfit; the organization does not maintain a web presence.

Political contributions

Sam Walton gave $30,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in the 2008 federal election cycle. He donated $300,000 to Priorities USA, a super PAC supporting President Obama, in 2012.   In 2012 and 2014, Walton gave a total of $125,000 to Women Vote, a pro-choice PAC.   In 2014, Walton gave $200,000 to NextGen Climate Action Committee, a PAC with ties to California billionaire Tom Steyer.

Community connections

Environmental Defense Fund: Sam Walton sits on the board of trustees for Environmental Defense (EDF).

In September 2011 EDF and Walmart were embroiled in controversy when North Carolina Watermen United, a group of roughly 200 commercial, recreational , longliner and charter fishermen, decided to boycott Walmart stores after  the Walton Family Foundation contributed $36,341,561 to EDF and other nonprofits helping the Obama Administration to promote “catch share” fishing, a program that allocates to fishermen a certain share of fish and eliminates their financial incentive to catch more than their share. Critics of the practice argue that catch share fishing promotes efficiency but not conservation, and favors large fisheries with a great deal of stored capital over small operations. In an EDF document highlighting the organization’s agenda on ocean fishing, Sam R. Walton was quoted as saying: “We’re completely sold on EDF’s bold vision for using catch shares to bring oceans back to health while making sure that fishermen can still earn a decent good living.”

EDF’s president, Fred Krupp, has a track record of helping corporations develop sustainable practices. His critics, however, suggest that he is more concerned with courting corporate donations and helping companies to greenwash their operations.  In 2007 he worked with then-Walmart CEO H. Lee Scott on the company’s green campaign, and, despite his claims that he would not accept foundation money,  has received millions of dollars (via EDF) from the Walton Family Foundation.  In 2006 Krupp opened an EDF office across the street from Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville , and took Lee Scott on a “global warming field trip,” visiting farms in Kansas and climatologists in New Hampshire. Walton is said to have recused himself from talks on the Walmart work.

National Geographic: Walton is on the Council of Advisors for National Geographic.  In 2008 he participated in an arctic expedition along with National Geographic staff, high profile environmentalists and scientists, business leaders, journalists, and politicians like Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. EDF’s Fred Krupp also attended the expedition. The trip’s purpose, ostensibly, was to investigate and discuss the effects of climate change.

 


[1] Nexis public records search

[2] Nexis public records search

[3] Andy Serwer, “The Waltons / Inside America’s Richest Family”, CNN Money, 15 Nov 2004

[4] Uncommon Education: The History and Philosophy of Prescott College, 1950s Through 2006, by Samuel Nyal Henry, p. 355.