New Home Region Program Seeks to Create More Vibrant, Inclusive Community
Q&A with Emma Pengelly, Home Region Program Deputy Director
Tell us about your new five-year strategy.
Walton Family Foundation's new strategic plan is a reflection of our mission – tackling tough social and environmental problems with urgency and a long-term approach to 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.
For the Home Region Program, that means honoring the Walton family’s commitment to Northwest Arkansas and Arkansas-Mississippi Delta by helping create opportunity and enhancing quality of life for all.
Who will be impacted by the Home Region Program?
In Northwest Arkansas, the region is coming together to create one of the most vibrant and inclusive communities in the nation. That means creating opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators. It means engaging teachers, parents, and students to strengthen our schools. And it means ensuring that residents in every neighborhood have access to housing they can afford, diverse mobility options, and vibrant cultural spaces. In the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta, we’re working with local organizations to ensure all residents have equitable opportunities to access resources to learn, build wealth, and lead their communities.
What does Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion mean to you?
Diversity, equity and inclusion is about finding better solutions to our biggest problems—not just doing the right thing. Taking a DEI lens in philanthropy means operating with empathy and working with communities to respond to the challenges that they are facing every day. It takes on many forms—bringing in diverse voices, listening to those most affected by the issues the region faces and finding ways to bring people together around addressing structural barriers to opportunity.
What changes do you hope to see happen first?
We’re working toward long-term change that unlocks opportunity for every resident across the Home Region Program geographies.
If you could only accomplish one goal from your five-year strategy, what would it be and why?
By championing inclusivity, we can lay the ground for bold, community-driven transformation.