Meet Lukas Walton, the fiercely private heir to the Walmart empire who has donated millions from his fortune to find solutions to environmental problems

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Lukas Walton discussing the Walton Family Foundation’s work. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube


Lukas Walton is the grandson of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club.

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Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, wearing an original Walmart name tag. Associated Press

Source: Forbes,The New York Times


Lukas’ father, John T. Walton, was Sam’s second-oldest son. In 2005, John died while piloting an ultra-light, homemade aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff.

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John T. Walton funded education programs. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube

Source: The New York Times, Business Insider, Bloomberg


Lukas grew up in National City in San Diego, a town with a median income of $US30,000, according to a 2000 census.

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Beach in San Diego. Sebastien Burel/Shutterstock

Source: Intelligencer


When he was only 3 years old, Lukas was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer that spread to his lungs.

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The Walton family. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube

Source: Intelligencer


Within 5 months he had recovered, which his mother, Christy, attributed to a plant-based diet with produce sourced from her own garden.

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Christy Walton, Lukas’ mother, was formerly the richest woman in the world. AP

Source: Intelligencer


Following John’s premature death, Christy and Lukas moved to Jackson, Wyoming, where Lukas lives to this day.

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Getty Images

Source: Intelligencer, Forbes


John left about one-sixth of his fortune to his wife, Christy, one-third to his only son, Lukas, and the remaining half to charitable trusts.

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John (right) with his mother (centre), Helen, and brother, Rob (left). April L. Brown/Associated Press

Source: Bloomberg, Forbes


Lukas also inherited his father’s 20% interest in Walton Enterprises, the family holding company that, together with a different family trust, owns a 50.2% stake in Walmart.

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Lukas Walton. Wealth-X; Scott Olson/Getty; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider, Bloomberg


Forbes listed Lukas as the 28th richest American in 2019 but gave him a self-made score of one (out of 10), indicating that he inherited his fortune but is not actively increasing it.

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Lukas Walton inherited his billions from the Walmart empire his family built. Edgard Garrido/Reuters

Source: Forbes, Forbes


Lukas attended Colorado College where he created his own major focusing on environmentally sustainable business and later studied energy efficiency and hydrological/geothermal energy in Iceland.

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Colorado College campus. Wikimedia Commons

Source: Forbes,Intelligencer, Walton Family Foundation


Rob Walton, the eldest son of Sam Walton, believes that his family’s ‘environmental focus really grew out of a family connection to the land.’

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Three of Sam Walton’s children, Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton, at an annual shareholders meeting for Walmart. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Source: Walton Family Foundation


Sam and his wife, Helen, are said to have instilled a love for the environment in their children and grandchildren, with yearly outings to places like the Buffalo National River, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon.

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Sam and Helen Walton. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube

Source: Walton Family Foundation


In recent years Lukas has applied his studies and passion for sustainable business to investments and projects undertaken by the Walton Family Foundation, an organisation aimed at finding solutions to social and environmental problems.

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The Walton Family Foundation focus in three areas: K-12 education, environment, and home region. Facebook/Walton Family Foundation

Source: Walton Family Foundation


Lukas serves as the Environment Program Committee Chair and is also a Board Member for the organisation. He is reported to have donated at least $US149 million of his own fortune to the foundation.

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The Walton Family Foundation supports oceans, rivers, and those who directly depend on them. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube

Source: Walton Family Foundation, Forbes


Forbes reports that between 2014 and 2018 the Walton Family Foundation donated almost $US1 billion to K-12 education programs and $US441 million to environmental projects.

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The Walton Family Foundation was founded in 1987 and has been active ever since. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube

Source: Forbes, Walton Family Foundation


On the foundation’s work, Lukas recalled that ‘one of the first grants that we did back in the day was help to develop a sustainable fisheries label. That to me, was a shooting star, was a golden emblem of what would be a successful marketplace development.’

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The Walton Family Foundation has focused their efforts on the places that support humans. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube

Source: Walton Family Foundation


Besides his work for the Walton Family Foundation, Lukas keeps a low public profile. He has no known social media sites and other personal details are largely absent online.

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Lukas Walton discussing the foundation’s work. Walton Family Foundation/YouTube

Source: Business Insider