Cochise Water Project

When Sam and Helen Walton launched their modest retail business (which later became Walmart) in 1962, one of their goals was to increase opportunity and improve the lives of others along the way.

A water filter.This guiding principle has played a major role in the phenomenal growth of their small enterprise into a global retail leader. This principle—to the benefit of deserving people and inspiring projects around the world—also drives the philanthropic mission of the Walton Family Foundation.

The Walton Family Foundation’s Freshwater Initiative aims to ensure healthy and resilient communities of both wildlife and humans in targeted river systems. Cochise County’s San Pedro River is one of these rivers.

The Walton Family Foundation is funding organizations in Cochise County for a variety of Freshwater Initiative projects, but could not find a nonprofit that could reduce outdoor water consumption or capture storm water for reuse while expanding the water conservation culture shift necessary to ensure the projects’ success.

Working with community members involved in the conservation and preservation of the San Pedro River, the Walton Family Foundation in 2011 awarded an $800,000 grant to the Cochise Community Foundation, an ACF Affiliate, to serve as the fiscal sponsor to form a new nonprofit, the Cochise Water Project.

This two-year grant provides funds to establish the new tax-exempt organization, covers project costs for the first two years and supports the public campaign, Be Water Smart!, involving the city of Sierra Vista, business and civic groups, including Fort Huachuca, the area’s major employer.

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