Meet Walmart heir Lukas Walton, one of the richest millennials in the world: with a US$20 billion net worth at 36, he’s focusing on philanthropy over the retail empire his grandad Sam Walton founded

Lukas Walton inherited a third of his father’s fortune and 4 per cent of Walmart, but he’s giving back in a big way. Photo: @ETFsStockPicker/ Twitter

With a combined net worth of US$247 billion, the Walton family is the wealthiest in the US. The company’s founder, Sam Walton, was well-known for having built their massive fortune – but he’s not the only member of the clan worth knowing about.

Lukas Walton is 36 years old and more interested in philanthropy than retail. Photo: @sanmonbunshi1/Twitter
Chicago-based billionaire Lukas Walton, 36, is one of Sam’s grandchildren – and one of the richest millennials in the world. However, life wasn’t always easy for the San Diego-born heir.

So who is Lukas Walton, what is his role in the Walmart empire, and how much has he inherited?

He is one of Walmart’s heir

Walmart is the largest retailer in the US and the founder’s family is now worth US$247 billion. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Born in 1986, Lukas Walton is the only child of Christy Walton and John T. Walton – the second-eldest son of Sam Walton, who established the Walmart empire.

According to Business Insider, the young heir attended Colorado College and majored in environmental science and economics. Forbes estimated his wealth to be US$20.5 billion and named him among the top 10 youngest American billionaires in 2022.

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His dad tragically died in a plane crash

National Park rangers examine the debris from the ultralight aircraft crash that killed John Walton in 2005. Photo: Getty Images
Lukas lost his dad, John, at a relatively young age. The 58-year-old Vietnam veteran tragically passed away in 2005 when he reportedly crashed his home-made ultralight aircraft in Wyoming. At the time, Forbes ranked him 11th on its list of the world’s richest people.

Per Bloomberg, the young Lukas was the biggest beneficiary of his dad’s will. John left about one-sixth of his fortune to his wife, Christy, one-third to his only son, Lukas, and the rest to charitable trusts, Business Insider reported. As a result, Lukas inherited a 4 per cent stake in Walmart.

He battled cancer as a child

Christy Walton, Lukas Walton’s mum and widow of John Walton, says she fed her son fresh produce from her garden when he had cancer as a young boy. Photo: @MauroSuddenPain/ Twitter

His father’s sudden death wasn’t the only major difficulty Lukas had suffered in his young life. At the age of three, the California native was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer that spread to his lungs, per Business Insider. Incredibly, he recovered from the disease within five months. His mum, Christy, attributed the disappearance of the tumour to an all-natural diet with produce sourced from her own garden.

According to the Walton Family Foundation’s website, Lukas’ passion for protecting the environment and pursuing more sustainable solutions started soon after his cancer diagnosis.

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He has put millions into philanthropic projects

Walmart heir Lukas Walton’s Builders Vision investment platform aims to reshape the food system, among other things. Photo: @zaibatsu/Twitter

Unlike senior members of the Walmart clan, Lukas doesn’t spend much of his time helping to run the empire. Instead he takes after his late father, John, who paid more attention to philanthropic efforts.

Lukas helms Builders Vision, an investment platform focusing on sustainable food and agriculture, healthy oceans, renewable energy and helping communities thrive. He has also served as chair of the environmental committee and the Walton conservation coalition at the Walton Family Foundation, donating at least US$149 million in 2020, according to Forbes.

He likes to spend time in the outdoors

A photograph of Walmart founder Sam Walton (third from left) and his family from the Walmart museum. Photo: @BillionaireAddr/Twitter

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This young billionaire keeps a low public profile and enjoys camping, hiking and backpacking with his family in the mountains of Colorado and the west. According to the Walton Family Foundation website, his grandparents Sam and Helen instilled in their children and grandchildren a respect for nature and the environment. The Walton clan took annual trips in the great outdoors, canoeing together down the Buffalo National River, hunting quail and visiting Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

According to Lukas’ profile on the website, he has travelled and lived across the globe, including in Thailand and Mexico for a spell. He even studied energy efficiency and hydrological and geothermal energy in Reykjavik, Iceland.

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  • Walmart founder Sam Walton is Lukas’ grandfather – the company remains the world’s largest employer and his descendants now have a net worth of US$247 billion in total
  • Lukas suffered tragedy when his dad John Walton died in a plane crash in 2005, inheriting most of his fortune, and has channelled his energy into charitable causes just like his father