Alice Walton is an American businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and an heiress to the Walmart fortune. Her father, Sam Walton was the founder of Walmart. Not only did she receive it as an inheritance, but has successfully taken Walmart to new heights by remaining one of the top retail stores in the U.S. Walton was ranked by Forbes as the wealthiest woman and the 18th richest person in the world with a net worth of 45 billion as of April 2019.
Early life & education
Alice Louise was born on the 7th of October 1949 to Sam and Helen Walton in Newport, Arkansas. She grew up as the only girl-child with her three brothers Robson Walton, Jim Walton and John Walton (late). She attended Bentonville High School in 1996 and later enrolled at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas where she graduated with a B.A. in economics and finance.
After graduation, Walton first worked at the Walmart store before getting a job at First Commerce Corporation, as an equity analyst and money manager. She later moved to Arvest Bank Group, still operated by the Walton family where she headed investment activities. She also worked as a broker for EF Hutton.
By 1988, Walton had left working for other firms to establish her own company, Llama, an investment bank which she headed as the CEO, president, and executive chairman. The bank was a subsidiary of Walton Enterprises. It had its headquarters at Fayetteville, Arkansas. The company focused more on real estate finance and sales and trading, corporate finance, public and structured finance. The Llama company which started as a successful company later closed down in 1998 as a result of economic uncertainty and legal issues. The company fully went defunct and eventually shut down after Walton resigned from being the chief executive.
Walton took up other roles and civil responsibilities including being the first person to chair the Northwest Arkansas Council and playing a major role in the development of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. The airport development had a $109 budget, and Walton single-handedly provided $15 million of the budget and pledged $79.5 million from the Llama company which eventually experienced a financial downturn.
A good part of Walton’s fortunes stems from her stake at Walmart, though, unlike her brothers, she has never played an active role in Walmart. Rather, she spends her time collecting expensive arts and breeding horses.
At the age of 10, Walton had collected her first piece of art, an imitation of Blue Nude by Picasso at $2. Though financially smart, she had always had a keen interest in arts as she and her mother would often paint with watercolors on their camping trips. Her love for arts motivated her into spearheading the development of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art through the Walton Family Foundation. The museum which was opened in November 2011, was supposed to be the location for a national art institution, learning, and community building.
She has a private collection of arts from renowned artists some of which are Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol. She later had this to say about her passion for art collection, “collecting has been such a joy, and such an important part of my life in terms of seeing art, and loving it.” Following her passion for arts, Walton established Crystal Bridges, a private museum worth $50 million where she could house all her collections. So far she has spent at least $500 million of art collections especially a piece from Georgia O’Keefe which was worth $44.4 million officially making it to be the most expensive work of art done by a woman.
Walton has shown non-stop support for her political counterparts, though she herself isn’t into politics. In 2016, Walton supported the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee set up to generate funds for Hillary and the rest of the running Democrats, she supported the fund with $353,400 million. In past times, she had also donated $2.6 million to the Progress for America group during the 2004 elections. In 2012, she supported the Restore Our Future with $200,000. The group was associated with Mitt Romney, a presidential aspirant in the 2004 elections.
As mentioned above, her father, Sam Walton was the founder of Walmart and she inherited her fortunes from her family line. Walmart’s market cap is $ 337.50 Billion as of December 5, 2019 and Alice Walton is worth $ 52.8 Billion USD.