10 Things You Didn’t Know About Alice Walton

When we think about the richest families in the world, the name Walton inevitably crops up. As the heiress to the massive fortune of Walmart, Alice Walton has become a familiar name in the world of billionaires. However, how much do we truly know about this famed philanthropist and art patron? Here are ten things you might not know about Alice Walton.

1. Alice Walton was not directly involved in the Walmart business

Alice Walton may be the heiress to the Walmart throne, but she did not involve herself directly in the running of the business. Unlike her brothers, she preferred to stay out of the retail space, instead focusing her attention on curating art and engaging in philanthropy. It’s a deviation from the expected path that perhaps demonstrates her innate inclination towards art and goodwill.

However, this is not to say that Alice Walton never engaged in business. She founded an investment bank, Llama Company in 1988, and even served as its President. Though it foundered and closed in the 90s, it demonstrates a facet of Alice Walton that’s seldom in the spotlight: her entrepreneurial spirit.

2. She survived a life-threatening accident

In 1983, Walton faced a horrific car accident which left her leg shattered. The accident occurred when Walton, then 34, lost control of her car while speeding. This near-death experience resulted in Walton being withdrawn from the public eye for several years as she recovered.

Through intensive therapy and numerous surgeries, she managed to get back on her feet. Ever resilient, this episode in her life remains a testament to her remarkable endurance and strength of character, something less spoken about amidst the dazzle of her billionaire status.

3. Alice Walton is the second richest woman in the world

As of 2021, according to Forbes, Alice Walton is the second richest woman in the world, with a net worth surpassing $60 billion. Her wealth has primarily come from the ever-profitable Walmart, which was founded by her father Sam Walton in 1962.

Though her fortune fluctuates in line with Walmart’s share prices, Alice Walton’s wealth continues to mark her as one of the wealthiest individuals globally, only behind Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of cosmetics giant L’Oréal.

4. She has a passion for horses

Alice Walton’s affection for horses is well-documented. She started riding when she was only five years old. Walton’s passion for horses did not fade with age, and she owns a 1,435-acre ranch called Rocking W Ranch in Millsap, Texas, where she breeds cutting horses.

This love for equine companions goes hand-in-hand with her interest in art. Walton has funded multiple statues and exhibits featuring horses, prominently featuring them in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, another passion project of hers.

5. Walton created an art museum

One of the most significant contributions Alice Walton has made to society is arguably the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The museum, established in 2011 in Bentonville, Arkansas, has more than 3,500 pieces of art, which span over five centuries.

Notably, the museum has works from renowned artists, such as Norman Rockwell, Thomas Eakins, and Georgia O’Keeffe, to name a few. Walton’s venture stands out as a generous effort to make art accessible to the public. Entry to the museum is free, supported by a significant endowment provided by Walton herself.

6. She has faced multiple Driving Under Influence (DUI) charges

While it may come as surprising, Walton has had several run-ins with the law due to her erratic driving. She was first charged with a DUI in 1989 and again in 1998. However, these charges did not result in any significant penalties.

After a third drunk-driving case in 2011, in which Walton’s car hit a gas meter, she was again able to avoid prosecution. Despite these episodes, Walton has not faced any severe legal ramifications due to her actions.

7. Walton has made significant philanthropic contributions

Alice Walton is not just about collecting and curating art. She has also made significant contributions in the realm of philanthropy. Through the Walton Family Foundation, established by her parents, she has contributed to areas such as environmental conservation, education, and health.

Prominently, she donated $2 billion to the foundation in 2021. Walton’s philanthropic efforts extend further to contributions towards political campaigns, notably endorsing and funding female candidates to political office.

8. She is a private individual

Alice Walton is surprisingly private, given her high-profile status. She performs many of her philanthropic activities discreetly and prefers to keep her personal life away from the public eye. Nevertheless, she has frequently been spotted attending equestrian events, which demonstrate her enduring love for horses.

Her reticence to public exposure can be traced back to her near-fatal car accident in 1983, which caused her to retreat from public view. Today, despite her massive fortune and influential status, she seldom appears in tabloids or red carpet events.

9. She prefers Arkansas over New York

Contrary to what one would expect from a billionaire, Walton prefers the quiet life in Bentonville, Arkansas over the glamour of cities like New York or Los Angeles. Her love for her home state is evident in her initiatives to promote art and culture within Arkansas, including the Crystal Bridges Museum.

Walton believes that this alternative route allows her to experience the serene and calm environment, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Clearly, she defies the typical billionaire stereotype and opts instead for a life closer to nature.

10. She championed the Art Bridges initiative

Alice Walton had a vision to make American art accessible to everyone. To turn this vision into reality, she championed the Art Bridges initiative that aims to share artwork from American museums with institutions across the country.

The initiative intends to create a network where art can be shared extensively, inspiring a wider audience and connecting more people with art. For Alice Walton, the power and impact of art can indeed truly be magnificent when everyone can access and appreciate it.

In conclusion, Alice Walton is much more than her enormous fortune. From her ventures in art patronage to her philanthropic efforts, her story serves as an inspiration and testament to the power of resilience and the profound impact of generosity.

Alice Walton Profile on Forbes
Crystal Bridges Museum Official Website
Art Bridges Official Website