Today, the Walton Family Foundation announced the addition of two senior
fellows who will undertake research on key topics to help improve
economic performance across America’s Heartland states by advocating
fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and
inclusive growth, and improve health statuses. Richard Florida and Joel
Kotkin, both renowned researchers in their respective fields, will join
the Foundation for a one-year term as senior fellows. Florida will focus
his research efforts on entrepreneurship while Kotkin will focus on
millennials in the Heartland.
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Richard Florida was named by the Walton Family Foundation as a Senior Fellow, where he will focus his research on the Heartland Economy and entrepreneurship. Photo Credit: Zanetti Photography
“We are proud to welcome both Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin to our
growing team, as we expand our work to improve economic performance
across the Heartland at this very critical time,” said Ross DeVol, who
is leading research efforts on the Heartland economy.
Later this year, these economic research efforts will shift to a new
organization, Heartland Forward, a think and do tank whose mission is to
improve economic performance in the center of the United States by
advocating fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based
and inclusive growth and improved health statuses. Heartland Forward
will pursue its mission through independent, data-driven research,
action-oriented convenings, such as its flagship convening, “Heartland
Summit,” and impactful policy recommendations.
“Entrepreneurship is a key component to economic growth in every
community, and I look forward to researching and sharing key learnings
and best practices on how best to integrate entrepreneurship across
Heartland communities and strengthening its economic status,” Florida
said. For more information on Richard Florida and his work, click
“As a new generation of citizens, the millennial generation, come of
age, we must ensure that their talents are being utilized in every
community, not just in the big cities along the coasts,” Kotkin added.
“Millennials will play a key role in the Heartland’s economy for years
to come – it’s up to us to figure out if it is within our communities or
from a distance.” For more information on Joel Kotkin and his work, click
About the Walton Fellows Program
As part of the Walton Fellows Program fellows are responsible for
internal and external thought leadership and conduct research and build
or improve processes on behalf of the programs of the foundation. This
program does not accept unsolicited applications.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation.
The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton,
lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and
communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education,
protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and
investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the
Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than
$595 million in grants in support of these initiatives.
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