Naccaman Williams, Walton Family Foundation

TITLE: Director, Special Initiatives

FUNDING AREAS: charter schools, arts, community development, health, youth services

CONTACT: nwilliams@wffmail.com, 303-442-3434

IP TAKE: As director of Special Initiatives at the Walton Family Foundation, Williams is by default a big proponent for charter schools; he also makes smaller miscellaneous grants.

PROFILE: Naccaman Williams is the long time Program Director of the Walton Family Foundation's Special Initiatives section. This grantmaking focuses on a variety of issues and includes grants made at the behest of individual members of the Walton family.

To demonstrate the variety of organizations the foundation's special initiatives program supports, here's a quick look at a few recent grants:

 

  • $2 million to Colorado College for financial aid
  • $951,500 to the San Diego Natural History Museum
  • $700,000 to Leland Stanford Junior University
  • $419,000 to Denver Children's Advocacy Center

 

Another grant of recent noteworthy grant under Williams' dominion was $4 million to the Walmart Associates in Critical Need Fund.

Williams also consistently doles out smaller grants between $10,000 and $100,000 for a smattering of museums and performing arts programs in and around the state of Arkansas.

Williams competed his undergraduate and master's degree work at Ouachita Baptist University (in Arkansas) and earned a doctorate in education administration at the University of Arkansas. His dissertation dealt with public school funding policy in Arkansas during the early 1990s. From there, he moved on to a position as director of University of Florida's P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School. P.K. Yonge is a public school operated as a type of "laboratory," if you'll forgive this unpleasant phrasing, by the university.

Whatever Williams saw during the time he spent at Yonge seems to have soured him on the idea of public education. An Arkansas Times article recently called him a "walking ad for charter schools in board meetings." Williams then moved on to his current position at Walton that he has held since December 1996.