Ben Walton Walmart Heir Denver Broncos Sale Update
A week after that of Walmart heir Rob Walton May 9 meeting with the Denver Broncos, the NFL franchise for which he is one of the five finalists, the news has fallen that his son Ben and daughter-in-law Lucy Ana had purchased four lots totaling eight acres in Cherry Hills for $22 million. It’s the second most expensive residential real estate acquisition ever in metro Denver, behind only the $25 million that new Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara shelled out for a mansion in the same community last month.
This development immediately spurred speculation that Rob Walton would hand over supervision of the team to Ben and Lucy Ana once he won the bid for the Broncos; he is the current favorite. After all, his net worth of around $70 billion dwarfs that of still-wealthy but not-so-wealthy competitors such as Josh Harris and Todd Boehly.
Whether that deal is done, Ben and Lucy Ana, along with Ben’s brother Sam, who also lives in Colorado, are fascinating characters who challenge the stereotype of the Walton family as right-wing plutocrats so incredibly wealthy that they barely notice the struggles. small people (like the underpaid employees of Walmart). Indeed, all three are philanthropists with a particular focus on a very Colorado-esque wellness brand.
Ben and Lucy Ana’s flagship operation is based in Denver ZOMALAB, whose website describes its approach as follows: “We believe that philanthropy and market-based investments have important but distinct roles in advancing systems change in our focus areas.” Its principles are listed as North Star Focus (“We seek catalytic opportunities to achieve a long-term goal [20-30 year] vision”), Collaboration (“We strive to engage and build partnerships with and among active stakeholder communities, including experts, policy makers, funders and community members from all walks of life” ), Exploration (“What is most important to us is moving towards solutions — which is rarely a uniformly linear process”), and Accountability (“We are committed to operating at all times with the highest standards standards of honesty, fairness, responsibility and respect”).
Ben Walton’s biography describes him as “a father, architectural designer, investor, philanthropist, and the co-founder of ZOMALAB” who is “deeply engaged in the communities where he and his wife, Lucy Ana, grew up and now raise their families. children: Colorado and Chile. .”
A University of Colorado graduate who also studied at Georgetown University, Ben is said to have “played a leading role in bringing City Year to Denver, spearheading the launch of the Workforce Accelerators and sustainability from TechStars and created the very first ZOMALAB SyncUp Colorado Workforce Design Challenge“, which recently offered prizes from a $5 million pool to winners such as Grow Our Own: Partnership for Equity in Health Careers, led by the Colorado Community Health Networkand the Colorado Health Careers Collaborative, affiliated with Arapahoe Community College and the Denver Community College. He also founded Constellation Philanthropy, a Denver fundraising collaboration.
Lucy Ana’s biography notes that in addition to co-founding ZOMALAB, she is a “mother, child psychologist, philanthropist [and] investor.” Motivated “by her own experience of perinatal mental health and faced with a system that is not designed to provide comprehensive care”, over the past decade she has “focused on parental support from the conception of five years” in her work as a psychologist. To this end, she created the Fundación Viento Sur in Chile in 2014. Today, she is president of the board of directors of this organization, as well as a member of the board of administration of Socialab, another Chilean company; she previously volunteered as a therapist at the Denver Children’s Advocacy Center, where she cared for “Spanish-speaking children who suffered abuse”.
BusinessDen reports that Ben and Lucy have a house in the Hilltop neighborhood. In addition, a 2019 coin in adventure diary about a plan to turn abandoned mines into bike paths reveals that Ben and his brother Sam “have homes in Aspen and own 221 acres in Coal Basin, about four miles west of Redstone. Their property is the last remaining private land of approximately 5,800 acres formerly owned by Mid-Continent Resources, the last coal company to operate in the valley.”
Sam, named after the late patriarch of the Walton family, maintains a lower public profile than Ben and Lucy Ana. Photos of him are sparse and his main operation, the Catena Foundation of Carbondale, doesn’t even have a website. But it’s a great non-profit organization, as pointed out Inside Philanthropy last August. The publication notes that Catena was founded in 2016 “with an initial injection of one million Walmart shares – worth almost $72 million at the time”, and has grown significantly since then. . The foundation’s executive director, Clare Bastable, said Catena awarded about $33.5 million in grants in 2020.
Bastable says Inside Philanthropy that “the foundation’s mission is grounded in restoring human and ecological systems. Some of our priorities include addressing climate change and promoting the deployment of clean energy, empowering youth through access to biking programs and trails and civic engagement” and working closely with “Indigenous communities on all of our priorities.” For example, Catena awarded a grant of $148,000 to fund “four programs to train bicycle technicians in classrooms in several Diné communities, while “another grant provided five schools and communities, including several within of the Navajo Nation, with thirty mountain bikes each”.
Catena has also partnered with three other funders, including the ZOMALAB-affiliated Zoma Foundation, “to launch a $3 million COVID-19 relief and response loan fund for businesses and nonprofits. lucrative rural Colorado,” and was listed as a contributor to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund co-managed by the office of Governor Jared Polis. The foundation also reportedly paid $252,000 to cover the salary of a state climate adviser.
None of these efforts or the purchase of Cherry Hills suggest that Ben, Lucy Ana or Sam will want to watch the Broncos closely while dad Rob, 77, watches from afar. But they demonstrate that the Waltons have serious ties to Colorado that defy all expectations.