Who is Lukas Walton?
Lukas Walton, an American billionaire, is the grandson of Sam Walton, the founder of the global retail giant ‘Walmart.’ He works as the director of the ‘Walton Family Foundation’ that supports education and protects rivers and oceans. The family-led foundation also works toward community development and health care. In 2015, the philanthropic foundation donated more than $370 million for various causes. The foundation also donated $8 million to ‘StudentsFirst’ in 2013, $20 million to the ‘Jones Trust’ in 2012, $25 million to ‘KIPP Foundation’ in 2011, $49.5 million to ‘Teach for America Chicago’ in 2011, and $200 million to the ‘University of Arkansas’ in 2011. Walton’s family has donated more than $2 billion to the foundation since 2007. He has also been part of an American venture capital firm named ‘True North Venture Partners.’ Apart from being a philanthropist, Lukas is also an active investor. He has invested in ‘Walmart,’ ‘First Solar,’ and ‘Arvest Bank.’ Currently, he is a partner at a private equity firm named ‘Cuna del Mar’ that invests in aquaculture. He was ranked 83 on the ‘Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2018.
Childhood & Early Life
Lukas Tyler Walton was born in 1986, to John T Walton and his wife, Christy. He is the grandson of ‘Walmart’ founder Sam Walton.
His grandfather joined ‘J.C. Penney,’ an American departmental store chain. After working there as a management trainee for 2 years, he quit to serve the ‘US Army.’
After his discharge, Sam opened his first ‘Ben Franklin’ store in Arkansas. With time, he opened several ‘Ben Franklin’ stores across the US. Eventually, Sam founded ‘Walmart’ in 1962. The company soon became the biggest multinational corporation in the US.
There was a time when Sam Walton was the richest man in America. He also founded ‘Sam’s Club,’ an American chain of retail warehouse clubs. ‘Walmart’ later emerged as the world’s largest corporation by revenue and the biggest private employer in the world.
When Lukas was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer that spread to his lungs. However, he miraculously recovered from the disease within 6 months.
His mother later claimed that she had put him on a strict plant-based diet for those months and that had worked like magic. Although he belonged to one of the richest American families, Lukas grew up in the modest town of National City in California.
His mother wanted to let his son to have an experience of living in a typical American household. Following his father’s death, his family moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Their National City home was then transferred to a non-profit organization. His father worked for ‘Walmart’ for a while but decided to fly crop-dusters over cotton fields in various states.
John also served in the army as a pilot and later co-founded an aerial application company named ‘Satloc.’ He then founded a company named ‘Corsair Marine,’ which built trimaran sailboats.
John died in a plane crash on June 27, 2005. He was piloting the ‘CGS Hawk Arrow’ home-built ultralight aircraft when the crash took place.
After John’s death, Lukas’s mother inherited his fortune of $ 18.2 billion that made her the richest woman in the world. However, in 2015, this information was revealed to be false.
A few court documents revealed by ‘Bloomberg’ stated that Lukas was the only heir to the bulk fortune left by his father. His mother was less wealthy than she was presumed earlier.
Lukas attended ‘Journeys School’ before joining ‘Colorado College’ to earn a degree in environmentally sustainable business.
He graduated in 2010. He also studied energy efficiency and hydrological/geothermal energy in Reykjavik, Iceland.
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After graduation, Lukas started working for a venture capital company named ‘True North Venture Partners.’ The firm was founded by Michael J Ahearn, who later became its managing partner.
Michael is also a former partner and president of ‘JWMA,’ the investment firm he had started with John T Walton, Lukas’s father. Lukas also owns stakes in companies such as ‘First Solar’ and ‘Arvest Bank,’ apart from ‘Walmart.’
He is also the chairperson of the ‘Environment Program Committee’ of the ‘Walton Family Foundation.’
The foundation came into existence in 1987. It was established by Sam and Helen Walton, out of their philanthropic interest. The company mainly focuses on K-12 education reform, freshwater and marine conservation, and quality of life initiatives in the Arkansas region.
It has its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, with offices in Washington; Jersey City, New Jersey; and Denver, Colorado. The foundation provided $535 million in grants toward its projects.
His philanthropic interests have led to donations of more than 2 billion since 2007. As the chairperson of his committee, Lukas aims to bring in unique ways in the industry that can help the foundation achieve its environmental goals.
As an investor, he believes in improving the quality of life in the world, without compromising with the health of the planet. The foundation has donated $17 million to ‘John Brown University’ from 1998 to 2006, $9 million to ‘College of Wooster’ from 2003 to 2005, and $8 million to ‘Alliance for School Choice’ from 2005 to 2010
The foundation has also donated $4 million to the ‘University of California San Diego Foundation’ from 2003 to 2007 and $15 million to the ‘University of the Ozarks’ from 1998 to 2006. From 2004 to 2012, it donated $53 million to the ‘Environmental Defense Fund.’
From 2009 to 2013, the foundation donated $50 million to the ‘Children's Scholarship Fund,’ and from 2011 to 2013, it donated $90 million to ‘Marine Conservation.’ The Walton family also established the ‘Sam M. Walton College of Business’ at the ‘University of Arkansas’ and the ‘Walton Arts Center’ in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The foundation works extensively for the privatization of the US public school system. Most recently, it offered $2.5 million to the ‘TRUE Northwest Arkansas’ initiative to improve the quality of life in the Arkansas region.
Awards & Achievements
Lukas was ranked 83 on the ‘Forbes’ list of billionaires of 2018. The ‘Bloomberg Billionaires Index’ ranked him 57 among the ‘World’s 500 Richest People.’
He has also been ranked 32 on the ‘Forbes 400’ list, which is a list of the wealthiest people in America.
Lukas has always kept a low profile in the media, and very little is known about his personal life. He is reportedly single.
He has a net worth of $11 billion. According to recent reports, following the death of his father, he had inherited twice the amount his mother had inherited.