Walter Family Foundation: Grants for Greater Chicago

OVERVIEW: The Walter Family Foundation primarily supports grantmaking related to education and youth, the arts, animals, and community organizations.

IP TAKE:  The foundation lacks transparency, which limits information available on its grantmaking priorities and activities.

PROFILE: The Walter Family Foundation was established in 2013. It was founded by billionaire investor Mark Walter and his wife Kimbra. Walter is CEO of investment firm Guggenheim Partners. The foundation lacks transparency and does not maintain a website, restricting further information on its priority areas and grantmaking strategies. It appears a website is in development, however. According to tax filings, the Walter Family Foundation primarily supports grantmaking related to education and youth, the arts, animals, and community organizations.

The Walters have supported Northwestern University for years and Walter’s first gift was $100 in 1986. The couple gave $40 million to the school in 2014. Northwestern University School of Law is home to the Walter Family Foundation Scholarship Fund. Kimbra is on the board of OneGoal, “a coalition of teachers, students, school leaders and education advocates working to close the college degree divide,” which the couple has given millions. The Walters own a 17,000-acre animal refuge in Florida, preserves in Africa, and are backers of the Lincoln Park Zoo, where Kimbra is a trustee. Additionally, Kimbra is a vice chair of the board of Goodman Theatre, which received a 7-figure gift from the couple recently.

Grants range from $200 to around $3.2 million. In a recent fiscal year, the foundation gave away around $10.2 million. Past grantees include Get IN Chicago, which takes a “public health approach to youth violence reduction”; University of Chicago; Lyric Opera; The Field Museum where Walter is on the board; and St. Teresa of Avila.

The Walter Family Foundation keeps a low profile and does not accept unsolicited proposals.

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CONTACT:

Walter Family Foundation
227 West Monroe Street, 4800
Chicago, IL 60606