The Walton Family Foundation has announced that during 2010 it awarded grants totaling more than $157 million in three education-related program areas — a $23 million increase year-over-year.
The foundation's education initiatives — Shaping Public Policy, Creating Quality Schools, and Improving Existing Schools — are designed to empower parents, particularly in low-income communities, by providing information about and increased access to high-quality schools in order to spur competition within public schools and boost performance in school districts across the country. To have the greatest impact, the foundation focused on seven regions with high concentrations of low-income families, including Albany, Denver, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Newark, and Washington, D.C.
"The Walton Family Foundation operates with a sense of urgency regarding the need to raise student achievement, particularly in low-income communities," said Jim Blew, who leads the foundation's K-12 education reform efforts. "The foundation invests to expand the right of all parents to have access to quality schools, regardless of type. When all parents have the ability to choose quality schools for their children, a competitive dynamic emerges that can inspire the broader school system to improve, helping transform public education in our nation."