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View Diary: Mega-rich Walmart heirs give almost none of their own money to Walton Family Foundation (58 comments)

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  •  Why does this matter? (5+ / 0-)

    Why does it possibly matter that the Walton family doesn't make new contributions to the Walton Family Foundation when it appears that the WFF is a tax shelter? It might be useful to see the total charitable giving by the key Walton heirs, including their own personal foundations, and compare that to Gates and Buffet, but to set up a false comparison of apples and oranges to try to make a point, is a stretch.

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 10:16:36 AM PDT

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    •  Because most, if not all, their giving (32+ / 0-)

      Seems to be via the foundation?

      The team behind the analysis is aware of the limitations of their data, namely that the Waltons may well “make charitable contributions to entities other than the Walton Family Foundation.” However, the group “did not find evidence of major, sustained giving by the Waltons to charitable organizations” other than their foundation.

      A representative of the Walton Family Foundation reviewed the report and provided the following statement to Forbes:

      “Since 1987, the Walton family has contributed more than $5 billion to charitable organizations and causes. Family members living and deceased have provided generously for the foundation. The family has planned for the continued growth of the foundation and intends for grant making to progressively increase over time.”
      Each Walton heir has philanthropic projects of his or her own–Alice, for example, is building a world-class art museum in northwest Arkansas–but the family fortune should be considered as one because most of the money is managed together. The giving is also largely administered together, through the Walton Family Foundation, as well as through close communication among its family members. (At least twice a year, the family meets to talk about how to spend its money.)
      The Wal-Mart Foundation gives a staggering number of gifts, apparently in order to buy goodwill in as many communities as possible, rather than, as Krehely points out, “giving to sustain organizations.” The WMF’s 2003 IRS 990 form is 2,239 pages long, far longer than that of the Ford Foundation, which has billions more in assets. That’s because most WMF gifts are tiny: thousands or even hundreds of dollars to churches and Lions clubs and Boys and Girls clubs, $500 to the YMCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and to the Tulip Trace (Indiana) Girl Scouts Council and so on. Communities where Wal-Mart faced a particular battle over opening a new store–Inglewood, California, or New York City–enjoyed especially generous largesse.

      That second article also talks about how they have deviated from Sam Walton's philosophy by giving more than he did to charity, and to political campaigns and causes.

      As Sam Walton explained in his 1992 autobiography, Made in America, he didn’t believe in giving “any undeserving stranger a free ride.” Nor did he believe in being generous with company profits. “We feel very strongly,” he wrote, “that Wal-Mart really is not, and should not be, in the charity business.” Money that Wal-Mart donated to charity, he reasoned, would only come out of the pockets of “either our shareholders or our customers.”

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 12:26:16 PM PDT

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    •  And let us not forget where they DID spend... (4+ / 0-)

      a chunk of Walton dollars:

      Namely, helping to fund a multi-million dollar PR campaign attacking inheritance taxes by arguing that "family farms" were disappearing because the elders could not afford to pass along their farms to their children.

      (A) the number of situations in which this was a reality was about big enough to park out on the back 40 and
      (B) the real benefit was that the campaign, if successful, would save the nation's very wealthiest families...the .1% of the 1%, literally BILLIONS in inheritance taxes.

      Were they successful?

      Of course they were.  Click for the gory details.

      Of course all of this is "free speech," but as I have repeatedly asked, if it is free, why does it cost so damned much, and why is it only the rich who can pay for it?

      Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

      by dweb8231 on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 06:13:57 AM PDT

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