Walton Family Foundation

Cultivating capacity and community in
the Delta Region


  • Community-centered research
  • Workshops with cross-sector experts
  • Actionable strategic recommendations
  • Customized insights reports and toolkits
  • Unique events with impact leaders

The need

Throughout 2021 and early 2022, the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) and NationSwell partnered to work towards driving economic revitalization and reinvestment in the Mississippi-Arkansas Delta Region. The Home Region team at WFF looked to NationSwell to provide strategic support and connections that would strengthen their coalition and capacity building initiatives in the Delta – providing essential insights and connections to national experts on coalition building and rural economic asset building. 

The action

Our team took a community-centered approach — seeking to truly understand what people in the Delta region need from philanthropy, and learn from others who have taken a people-first, place based approach to partnership with communities. Through stakeholder interviews, curated convenings, and desk research, our teams worked with 60+ local residents, rural and federal officials, and national experts to surface key models and insights that, when leveraged, will strengthen Walton Family Foundation’s coalition and capacity building initiatives in the Delta to drive further investments and partnerships to the region. 

3 key work streams

As a part of this work, NationSwell embarked on three key workstreams: 

  • Landscape research on coalition building and economic asset building
  • 3 curated convenings that engaged over 50+ participants from the nonprofit, private, and public sectors on the topics of Building Action Oriented Coalitions, The Power of Place: Engaging Community to Drive Inclusive Growth, and Seizing the Moment: Hyper-Local Revitalization
  • 20 catalyst conversations with prominent leaders from across the United States working in coalition and capacity building along with economic asset building in rural and suburban regions

The culmination of these work streams resulted in a 90+ page insights report that highlights the key learnings, takeaways and actionable recommendations for the Foundation to implement in service of its wider 2025 strategy. The insights report includes a recap and insights from the three convenings and 20 catalyst conversations, an overview on the Delta Region today, key insights on place-based coalition building, practical principles to consider for building coalitions, several case studies highlighting successful organizational models and networks, and actionable recommendations for the Foundation team to integrate into its strategic roadmap.

The impact

60+ people

 We engaged more than 60 people in research process from local residents to civic leaders, funders, and coalition building experts.

22 recommendations

Our work generated 22 actionable recommendations drawn from a synthesis of research, convenings, and conversations tying to the greatest needs faced in the Delta Region.

3 convenings

Our campaign included the design of 3 convenings that sparked connections and important discussion around coalition building, the power of place, and the role of economic asset building in rural communities.





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