As the co-founder of the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, Melani is committed to supporting philanthropic impact on a local, national, and global scale. Through her studies in art history and background as a K-12 educator, real estate agent, human performance trainer, multi-sport clinician and coach, she brings a diverse set of skills to helping people solve problems and improve lives. Melani is passionate about supporting research and innovation in education, arts and humanities, brain health and consciousness studies, human performance and well-being, and conservation and sustainability.
Her commitment to these causes is reflected in her board and committee service with a number of organizations including the Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Symphony, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Aspen Brain Institute, the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service at Arizona State University (ASU), Conservation International, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona Women’s Board, The Nature Conservancy, Dickinson State University, National Park Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, and others.
Melani’s leadership also is evident in her co-creation of the Walton Optimal Neurological Discovery Education and Research (W.O.N.D.E.R.) Center at Arizona Science Center and support of related W.O.N.D.E.R. programs with Phoenix Theatre’s Partners that Heal, Phoenix Symphony’s B-Sharp Music Wellness and the Harp Foundation; as well as her involvement and support of ASU’s Women and Philanthropy and Arizona Foundation for Women.
Through their foundation, Melani and her husband Rob work with grantees all over the planet to collaborate on strategies and implement on-the-ground work. They have supported development of the Rob and Melani Walton Urban Farm at St. Vincent de Paul, the Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife, and the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service at ASU; and support African Parks Foundation in their conservation work. In honor of the couple’s efforts in conservation, The Nature Conservancy has dedicated the Rob and Melani Walton Nature Preserve in Northwest Arkansas.
Melani is a member of ASU’s Women & Philanthropy, Charter 100, Arizona Women’s Forum, Arizona Women’s Board, and National Association of Professional Women. She has been honored with awards recognizing her leadership, accomplishments, and commitment to helping others by Childhelp, Inc., ASU Foundation, Dickinson State University, Liberty Wildlife, Trends Magazine and Phoenix Theatre, among others.
Melani graduated from Dickinson State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, double majoring in K-12 Education and Art History, with a double minor in K-12 Physical Education and Coaching/Recreation. She was a three-time Academic and Athletic All-American in basketball and track & field.