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Dear Colleagues,

As Rob and Melani Walton worked with Arizona State University President Michael Crow and the leadership of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability over several years, they developed an ambitious shared vision: harness the knowledge within the University to deliver solutions for the complex challenges of sustainability. Based on that vision, the Waltons invested $27.5 million in a set of synergistic programs designed to:

  • SOLVE global sustainability problems by creating a service that assembles custom teams of experts who transform research into action for global and local clients;

  • EDUCATE future leaders in real-world sustainability strategies through professional degree programs, rigorous international study courses and a solutions-focused fellowship program;

  • ENGAGE and inform the public, locally and globally, to build awareness around sustainability issues, celebrate innovative solutions to our challenges and encourage behavior change.

Over the last ten years, ASU has taken a leadership position in the world’s transition to a more sustainable future. To meet the urgent challenges of sustainability today, new organizational structures must emerge.

Since 2012, the Walton Initiatives have built a mission-driven social enterprise that has a mix of earned income, philanthropy and institutional support. Unlike traditional academic research, the Walton Initiatives fall within the emergent fields of impact investing, social enterprise, public-private partnerships, impact assessment and B corps. Rather than hypothesize, we actually operate a lean startup to advance sustainability practice. We experiment in real-time, rapidly adapting our models and documenting our results.

Such an ambitious, entrepreneurial enterprise requires a dynamic team. We have assembled a distinguished group of committed academic leaders, business professionals and international specialists to advance this effort. In concert with our clients, students, fellows and partners, we focus the immense knowledge assets of ASU on the social, environmental and economic challenges of sustainability. These teams actualize the charter and the design principles of ASU as a New American University, in particular entrepreneurship, social embeddedness, use-inspired research and global engagement.

We hope you will join us, pose challenges, offer your insights and follow our progress as we embark upon an ambitious, urgent endeavor.

Patricia Reiter, Executive Director Patricia Reiter
Executive Director,
Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives