June 3, 2014

Erica Smiley

Erica Smiley

America’s Wealthiest Family Uses Phony Philanthropy to Increase Personal Wealth

140603-WMT_PhonyPhilanthropy_POST

America’s richest family contributes almost none of their personal wealth to the family’s charity, according to a new report by the Walmart 1 Percent.

The Waltons are the wealthiest family in the United States and control a majority of shares in Walmart. Six members of the family are among the 85 wealthiest individuals in the world, a group whose wealth is greater than half of the world’s population.

While other extremely wealthy philanthropists, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, contribute over 25 percent of their net worth to their charitable efforts, members of the Walton family have given less than 0.04 percent to their family foundation. Meanwhile, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, ordinary middle-income Americans contribute six percent of their income to charity.

The report is based on an analysis of 23 years of tax returns from the Walton Family Foundation and outlines just how little members of the Walton family have contributed to their family’s charitable foundation over that period:

Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart’s board of directors, has not made a single contribution to the Foundation.

Alice Walton has not given a single dollar to the Foundation.

Jim Walton made one personal contribution of $3 million to the Walton Family Foundation, more than 15 years ago.

The total contributions of Rob, Jim, Alice, and Christy Walton, and their family holding company to the Walton Family Foundation amount to $58.49 million, equivalent to:

  • 0.04% of their net worth
  • Less than one week’s worth of the Walmart dividends they will receive this year
  • Less than the estimated value of Rob Walton’s collection of vintage sports cars

Instead of contributing their own money, the Walton family relies on charitable lead annuity trusts (CLATs) to fund the foundation. The report suggests that the primary role of the foundation is not to give charitably, but rather to increase the family’s personal wealth through tax avoidance schemes. Using CLATs, a previous report released by Americans for Tax Fairness indicated the family successfully avoids an estimated $3 billion per year in estate taxes:

“CLATs are a type of trust invented by financial planners to take advantage of loopholes in the tax code with the objective of minimizing gift and estate tax liability when family wealth passes between generations. Among financial planners serving wealthy clients it is widely understood that, under the right conditions, a CLAT can be used to completely eliminate – or ‘zero out’ – estate and gift taxes on the inter-generational transfer of wealth.”

Members of OUR Walmart, the organization of current and former employees calling for higher wages and better working conditions at Walmart,  have questioned why they must rely on food stamps when they work at the most profitable company in the country, owned by one of the world’s richest families. The gap between the Walton family and its employees is staggering. Last year, for example, employees at one store in Canton, Ohio, gained national attention after hosting a holiday canned food drive for each other. Without adequate hours and wages, many Walmart associates are forced to rely on taxpayer-funded assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid.

As part of their ongoing effort to stand up to Walmart’s greed, this week members of OUR Walmart will be going on strike in cities across the country to bring attention to the company’s retaliation against employees that have spoken out against income inequality. As documented in our 2013 report, many employees that have spoken out for better working conditions at Walmart have faced retaliation, including being outright fired.

As controllers of the majority of Walmart shares, the Waltons are in a position to provide hourly associates among the company’s 1.4 million employees a much-needed pay increase. Despite their extreme wealth, the Waltons have ignored calls from Walmart employees to provide adequate hours and a minimum annual compensation of $25,000.

While Walmart hourly associates struggle to make ends meet, the company’s board approved significant compensation packages for top executives this year. A Walmart CEO earns 1,034 times the average workers’ salary, the highest CEO-to-worker pay ratio among Fortune 500 companies. Incredibly, Walmart’s new president and CEO, Doug McMillon, recently claimed he’s just another associate, despite being compensated $9.56 million last year. As long as the Waltons continue to ignore the cries of Walmart associates in favor of increasing their own personal wealth, employees at the world’s largest retailer will continue to be forced to take bolder action to make their voices heard.

Read the entire report at Walmart 1 Percent.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

  • Louise

    get the message to the Walton family by boycotting their stores.

    • Lickety

      Any time I have shopped there I’ve been extremely disappointed. So I stopped.

    • Gman2363

      What?

  • Brian D. Stoliker

    Agreed. This family of oligarchs will understand nothing but a boycott, a nation-wide boycott of their stores. Simple and straight forward.

    • lumax

      Sadly too many people rely on the lower prices at Walmart and would refuse to boycott – it is a self-perpetuating cycle

    • Lickety

      I’m willing to boycott.

  • cabo79

    TERM LIMITS on Congress ONLY hope.

    • c0mad0r

      No, preventing companies AND unions from BUYING Congress is our Only hope.

  • Andy Kane

    What is wrong with the 1%er’s of this country? They contribute to questionable politicians campaign funds so they can get them to pass legislation allowing corporations to be looked at in the same light as ordinary working citizens, so they can funnel more contributions to fight against things like raising the minimum wage, and can do so with a lot more financial clout, and legal representation than the average worker, or even groups of workers. If not so damned sad, I almost laughed out loud at, new president and CEO, Mr. McMillon’s, statement about being just another associate. Really? How many other, “associates”, come anywhere near the $9.56 MILLION, he personally was compensated by the company last year? I agree with the people from the group, “Our Walmart”, and their intentions to strike against these uber rich dirtbags, and it should be a strike on a national scale, just to make sure their attention is focused on the fact that regular working people are just plain pissed off at the disparity of wealth distribution in this country. They paid their puppets in DC to get groups like Citizens United, approved so that more and more corporations can get more and more tax loopholes, while claiming that, “Corporations are people” Think they couldn’t have gotten that more wrong if they wanted to, should be, people are corporations, and that includes those people within the corporations all the way down to the guy who scrubs toilets in the stores. Without those people, there wouldn’t be the mega corporations there are today. I’d just love to see just how well the Walton family, including any family members of legal working age could run even one of their stores, with no other outside employees and at the standard wages they pay current employees as their only income. Now that would surely be a culture shock!

  • JAMES MARTIN

    Walmart….Uh No…..Should read (WALMART MADE IN CHINA)

    ….

  • myownaccount3

    Such good
    Christians! Contrary to popular lies, Jews are among the world’s most
    generous charitable givers, and not in league with these b@st*rd world controllers.

  • shsinger

    These people disgust me. If there is such a place as hell, they all definitely belong there.

    • bobsoper

      Yes, and if there isn’t such a place as hell, an especially nasty one ought to be created just for the likes of these parasites.

  • Frederic H Young

    Another reason why the tax code has to be redesigned. Until that happens, nothing will be done to improve their lot.

  • AmazingGrace

    I’ve never shopped at a WalMart for a myriad of reasons and this story just underscores what good sense I truly have….seriously, these people represent the very worst of America……

    • bobsoper

      Try getting by without Walmart if you live in a place like Kauai, or one of several other locations where all the locally owned stores have been driven out by Walmart’s ruthless anticompetitive behavior.
      Of course, there’s Amazon but they’re not a whole lot better.

  • Lickety

    People need to stop shopping at this company. When will people wake up and realize that by purchasing at WalMart they are contributing to the issues faced by underpaid employees.

  • Lickety

    Every single employee from every single store EVERYWHERE, not just in the US need to agree to a one-day strike. If nothing happens, then make it TWO days. They can get assistance from unions who know how to make things happen.

  • Steve Pinto

    Don’t shop at Walmart. They have a lousy selection and I can never find what I want.

  • P M Ravindran

    Please read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki. It is not the likes of Rob Walton who should be blamed primarily. They just exploit the existing situation. It is the people in government who have to be blamed. It is not that they do not know what is the problem and therefore the obvious solution. Ask yourself: then why are they perpetrating this crime?

  • Manuel Ortiz

    I have never stepped into a Walmart – and I never will.

  • Dream Achiever

    I’ve never stepped foot into a Walmart store and never plan to…

  • Gman2363

    How much does the Walton family contribute to oh, I don’t know OTHER CHARITIES? I Missed that here. So, would the story be ANY different if they didn’t contribute $58 million last year? Just curious. 🙂

    • Gman2363

      And so without those facts asked for above, and based on the story above, we want to boycott their stores? Are you freaking kidding me??

  • Marti Settle

    So What! I’m sure they pay plenty of taxes and the egregious death tax should be banished. There should be NO tax on inheritance of family wealth. Why the hell would people work their butts off to accumulate wealth only to give it back to this lousy government as a death tax! I salute Sam Walton and his family. They have completely changed the order of business in America. They consistently have the lowest prices on essential goods for America and pay their employees a fair wage. Not everyone is entitled to $15.00 an hour because they have no initiative or true job skills. And, I appreciate that they hire retirees to greet WalMart shoppers when they walk in.

    • JohnQFugly

      To me, the fake charity is the kicker. It’s a tax scam at its base level. I don’t care how much taxes they pay or don’t pay, but don’t pretend to be charitable if you’re not.

  • Drabo

    I WILL Be A Much Better “TRILLIONAIRE” Earth &
    Beyond Citizen …And I WILL Spread The Wealth Around Judiciously! I’ll Be
    Starting My Journey To This Trillionaire Status with the Following …as I’m a
    Very Ambitious Entrepreneur who Is looking for a/some partner(s) to help me
    Create & Bring to Fruition my Ideas to Create Jobs for Others etc.

    I Have The Worldwide Rights to a New Product and that
    Product WILL Revolutionize its Industry …and (Make MILLIONS)!

    The Product That I’m Trying to get off the ground is in the
    Bathroom Equipment Industry – It’s The “RollFast M2” Toilet Tissue
    Dispenser That Will SAVE Business Operators MONEY and Make Everyone’s Bathroom
    Visits More Pleasant WORLD WIDE.

    Also, This Product IS Not~ just a mere Toilet Tissue
    Dispenser… (Because of Its Large Capacity and Ease of Use), this Product WILL
    Actually AID In the Saving of Lives In Many Developing Countries (Who Suffer
    From Cholera Outbreaks, E-coli & Fecal Bacteria Infections, Etc.) In
    Concert with Other Providers of (Portable) Restroom Facilities & Services.

    It Also Could & Will Create Jobs As Well!

    You Can See More about the Product at http://www.RollFast.info.

    By the way, The “RollFast M2” IS Already Patent Pending!

    The Patent Application Number is: 2013902275, and the filing
    date is 21 June 2013.

    You can confirm this by
    clicking this link: http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/

    ols/auspat/applicationDetails.do?applicationNo=2013902275.

    I will give a Great R.O.I. …so Contact Me A.S.A.P.!
    (This IS Legit …and I’ll Show You The Proof, Contracts, Etc.)

    And Finally… I have Plans to Introduce an Upgraded
    – NEW Convertible Cored & Coreless Toilet Tissue Dispensing Model (With
    Something EXTRA That I Can’t Mention here), for a Re-sale/Up-sale to previous
    Customers & Clients.

    Cheers, Drabo. B-}

  • Kim Smith

    THIS IS WHY I DO NOT SHOP THERE. WE HAVE TWO WALMARTS WITHIN TEN MILES OF MY HOME AND I WILL DRIVE 40 PLUS MILES TO MACY’S TO SHOP FOR CLOTHES. WE ALSO SHOP FOR FOOD AT A LOCAL GROCERY INSTEAD OF A CHAIN GROCERY. IF WE ALL REALIZED THAT WE ALLOW THEM TO TREAT US THIS WAY. IF WE DID NOT SHOP THERE AND LET THEM KNOW WHY, THEY WOULD HAVE TO CHANGE.OUR GRANDPARENTS WOULD NEVER HAVE PUT UP WITH THE BS OF THESE COMPANIES. BUSINESSES USED TO FEAR THE CONSUMER EVER TURNING ON THEM BUT NOW THEY KNOW THAT PEOPLE JUST DON’T STAND TOGETHER. STOP SHOPPING AT WALMART AND SUPPORT ANOTHER BUSINESS. WALMART SUCKS ANYWAY, THERE STUFF IS ALL CHEAP CRAP

  • mar sha

    greedy pigs they are he’s going to be .pissed off when he is in hell

Get Updates

Join our online team and make a big impact for working people.

Sign Up