Walton heirs are directing a bit of their wealth to serving LGBTQ people in Arkansas.
Better would be a declaration that Walton/Walmart money would never again go to a legislator who voted for the raft of anti-LGBTQ legislation adopted over the years by the Arkansas General Assembly, including a tidal wave in the recently concluded session. The same for the Arkansas Republicans in Congress, every one of them an opponent of civil rights protection for LGBTQ people. Also the governor, who generally supported the anti-LGBTQ agenda, with a lonely exception of a quickly overridden veto of anti-trans legislation he made no effort to stop on the floor.
You might say supporting this hateful tribe of lawmakers with campaign contributions is an “abomination,” to borrow a word used by one leading anti-LGBT crusader to describe human being Arkansans as she fought for legislation to dehumanize transgender children and deny them medical care.
Here’s the news release:
A new statewide fund will support organizations working to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ Arkansans. The initiative is launching with philanthropic support from the Alice L. Walton Foundation and from Olivia and Tom Walton through the Walton Family Foundation. Organizations offering legal, health, education and advocacy services, along with other high-demand needs will be eligible for grants. Arkansas Community Foundation will oversee the fund with support from a grant selection committee.
“There are many organizations eager to stand up for a more inclusive, accepting environment for all who live in and visit our state,” said Adrienne Collins from Central Arkansas Pride. “We are committed to showing up every day to ensure Arkansas’ LGBTQ community has the support needed to thrive.”
The $1 million fund will distribute grants of $25,000 and above for Arkansas-based organizations that provide critical services to the LGBTQ community. National entities with a local presence, established in-state partnerships and strong community relationships will also qualify.
“Organizations from across our state are leading the efforts needed to build a sense of community,” said Alice Walton. “Let’s support this important work that ensures everyone in Arkansas can live their lives with equity and dignity.”
“Our state is in a moment of reflection where each of us must send a message of acceptance to the LGBTQ community that says – ‘you belong here,’” said Olivia and Tom Walton. “It is also a time for action by recognizing LGBTQ Arkansans face growing challenges that need community-driven solutions.”
The grant selection committee will include leadership and representation from the LGBTQ community. Organizations interested in learning more about the fund can visit arcf.org/lgbtq.
“This fund will allow LGBTQ-serving nonprofits in our state to expand their impact on communities and help Arkansans pull together to build a more welcoming and supportive environment for us all,” said Heather Larkin, president of Arkansas Community Foundation.
In addition to the startup funding, the program has the capacity to expand with additional community support. Organizations interested in contributing can visit arcf.org/lgbtq.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Alice L. Walton Foundation
The Alice L. Walton Foundation is a philanthropic organization committed to increasing access to the arts, improving education, enhancing health, and advancing economic opportunity for all.
Through this work, the foundation strives to deliver meaningful and lasting change to individuals and communities most in need. Learn more at AliceWalton.org.
About the Arkansas Community Foundation
Arkansas Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization with over a half billion dollars in assets, fosters smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Foundation supports existing charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create initiatives that address unmet needs. Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $314 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state. Contributions to Arkansas Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 29 affiliates are fully tax deductible.