With Walton financial support, statewide fund started for Arkansas LGBTQ community

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,009 views 

A new statewide fund will support organizations working to improve the quality of life for LGBTQ Arkansans.

According to a news release Thursday (June 10), the $1 million fund is launching with philanthropic support from the Alice L. Walton Foundation and from Tom Walton and his wife Olivia through the Walton Family Foundation.

Tom Walton is the grandson of Helen and Sam Walton, founders of the Walton Family Foundation and Walmart Inc.

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,” Adrienne Collins from Central Arkansas Pride said in a statement. “We are committed to showing up every day to ensure Arkansas’ LGBTQ community has the support needed to thrive.”

The 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 Walmart heiress and philanthropist Alice Walton, Sam and Helen Walton’s daughter. “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,’” Olivia and Tom Walton said in a statement. “It is also a time for action by recognizing LGBTQ Arkansans face growing challenges that need community-driven solutions.”

According to the release, the grant selection committee will include leadership and representation from the LGBTQ community. More information about the fund is available at this link.

“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.