(Observer) - Lukas Walton, the grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton, announced today (Sept. 19) he will invest 90 percent of the Walton family’s philanthropic endowment in companies that “prioritize sustainable and equitable solutions,” leading an emerging trend of family offices raising stakes in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing.
Walton, 36, is the founder and CEO of Builders Vision, a Chicago-based family office that manages a total of $4 billion in Walton family assets through three branches: direct investing, asset management and philanthropy. Today’s announcement will only affect the organization’s philanthropy arm, the $1 billion Builders Initiative Foundation, which supports programs related to food, energy and oceans.
“If we are going to make lasting change happen, we need our mission to show up in everything we do—especially in how we invest our resources,” Lukas Walton said in a statement today.
The new strategy will still aim for a 5 percent annual return, which is standard for tax-exempt endowments, said Noelle Laing, the chief investment officer of Builders Initiative.
Most private foundations allocate less than 20 percent of their endowment funds in ESG investments. Builder Vision’s 90 percent commitment sets a new benchmark for the industry. In recent years, a growing number of family offices, including the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and McKnight Foundation, have vowed to align their investments with their social and environmental missions.