Walton foundation donates $1.3M to Arkansas education groups

BENTONVILLE - The Walton Family Foundation on Tuesday donated $1.3 million in grants to Arkansas public school organizations.

The money goes to the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science and Arkansas Tech University's Center for Executive Leadership Leader-to-Leader program.

"The economic well-being of our state depends upon the ability to create an environment where every child in Arkansas has access to a high-quality, publicly funded education," said Kathy Smith, senior program officer for the foundation's Arkansas Education Reform initiative. "We believe in preparing students for success with a quality education. When you do, academic expectations grow, graduation rates rise and the standard of living improves. Arkansas has made significant gains in education and we will continue to invest in programs that help raise the academic bar."

Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science will receive $875,000 to continue growing the number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes available to low income and minority populations. This two-year grant will help the group increase enrollment in AP Math, Science, and English courses with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of qualifying scores on these exams. Previous foundation support for AAIMS is more than $2.9 million.

Arkansas Tech University Center for Executive Leadership's Leader-to-Leader (L2L) program will receive more than $450,000 to continue work in developing strong district and school leaders for Arkansas public schools. The program promotes creative thinking and problem solving by Arkansas' school administrators. With this investment, the foundation has now supported the program with more than $2.5 million in grants since 2007.