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January 07, 2016

Walton Foundation Pledges $1 Billion to Back Charter Schools

The charitable fund headed by the heirs of Walmart mogul Sam Walton announced plans Thursday to spent $1 billion over the next five years to build new charter schools and boost existing ones, the Associated Press reports. The outlay would match what the Walton Family Foundation has allocated in the past 20 years for charter schools, which receive public funding but are privately run, often by nonprofits.

The Waltons are among the biggest private supporters of education reform and a driving force in the charter movement, seeding thousands of such schools in about two dozen states, many of them in low-income communities. Marc Sternberg, who directs the foundation's education philanthropy, said the new money will be steered into areas where the organization already has ties. Some will also fund research tracking charters' successes and failures.

Read a 2011 Chronicle of Philanthropy article on the Waltons' focus on charter schools.