The goal: To raise a minimum of $100 million in 10 years through a powerful, cohesive movement.
Walt believes in the transformational influence that organizations can have on their employees, customers, suppliers and communities. As such, he serves on the boards of four unique companies. All are leaders in their respective industries. They are Host Hotels & Resorts, Iron Mountain, Global Food Exchange and Ventas, Inc.
Host Hotels & Resorts is a lodging real estate company with a portfolio of high quality hotels in urban, airport and resort locations worldwide. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, the company owns hotels valued in excess of $15 billion in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. Host Hotels & Resorts is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company.
Given its size, the company has a prominent role in its industry. In Walt’s position as the Lead Independent Director, he is charged with leading discussions among independent directors on important corporate matters, liaising with the CEO on issues that arise from those meetings and chairing the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board.
Iron Mountain is headquartered in Boston and is in the S&P 500. The company provides storage and information management services to over 150,000 companies and organizations globally, ensuring their records are safely stored and protected.
Iron Mountain is the leader in its industry. In 2014, it became a Real Estate Investment Trust given its significant use of real estate in the execution of its business. Walt joined the board in order to help raise the company’s profile and prominence as a REIT, as well as provide leadership in the areas of financial control and corporate governance.
Global Food Exchange is a company whose aim is to improve disaster relief in crisis situations worldwide. It brings together needed capital with advanced food storage technology to areas of the world where people need it most. Global Food Exchange connects institutions and investors with relief agencies, local farmers and manufacturers in order to provide efficient and effective critical relief solutions.
Walt was drawn to the company because of its mission of serving those in need and also because the company is leading the effort in solving many of the world’s thorniest problems through free market solutions. As one of the company’s original board members, Walt was asked to help lead the direction of the company as it grows its international presence. Walt has also written the forward to the book Radical Response, Free Market Solutions to Global Crisis, which was published in 2014 by Thom Garlock and Richard Lackey, GFE’s CEO.
Ventas is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that holds a diverse portfolio of nearly 1,300 seniors housing communities and healthcare properties in the U.S., Canada, and U.K., including medical office buildings, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities. Headquartered in Chicago, it is a Fortune 1000 and S&P 500 company. Through its Lillibridge subsidiary, Ventas provides management, leasing, marketing, facility development and advisory services to highly rated hospitals and health systems throughout the United States.
Ventas operates at the intersection of two powerful and dynamic industries—healthcare and real estate—-and within $1 trillion healthcare real estate market. Walt joined the board in June of 2016 and serves on its audit and compliance committee.
Non-profit Leadership Through Education
Walt believes lives are changed through a quality education. He is particularly passionate about education that builds character and the development of future leaders. His involvement includes serving on the board of trustees of his alma mater, Penn State University, and serving on the boards of inner city youth organizations, Colorado UpLift/Elevate USA and ACE Scholarships.
Walt’s alma mater, Penn State, is one of the largest universities in the United States, with enrollment of students at the main campus totaling 45,000 and university wide enrollment in excess of 100,000, including branch campuses and its online world campus. The university’s mission consists of teaching, research and public service and is known for its high-quality academic programs, Division I Big 10 athletic programs and for hosting THON, the largest student-run philanthropy event in the country.
Walt graduated from Penn State in 1979 and has been deeply involved in a number of leadership initiatives since graduation, including the Real Estate Advisory Board and as a guest lecturer. In 2010, Walt was named an Alumni Fellow by the Penn State Alumni Association. He was asked to join the Penn State Board of Trustees in 2014 in light of his financial background, the fact that he led and turned around a major public company and his reputation of integrity and transparency.
Walt believes that through education and mentorship we can better the lives of children in our inner cities. Colorado UpLift is a non-profit organization dedicated to building long term, life-changing relationships with urban youth. The organization provides full-time teachers and mentors that begin building relationships with children in elementary school, continuing to mentor students from grade to grade until they graduate from high school. The organization’s focus is mentoring children on 13 character qualities and life skills, providing them with a loving relationship and proper character tools to excel in life and impact society in a positive way. Colorado UpLift has also expanded the concept to a number of additional states through an affiliated organization called Elevate USA.
Walt became involved with Colorado UpLift because he believes we can better the lives of children through education and leadership — and leadership starts with character. For most kids, character isn’t taught in schools; it’s learned at home. However, many inner city kids do not have that same experience. Through education and relationships, we can build future leaders and lay the groundwork for change needed in our inner cities.
ACE is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to children in grades K-12 to attend the private school of their choice. Since 2000, the organization has provided over 15,000 scholarships worth more than $25 million. ACE focuses their efforts on low-income children with the perspective that through education of our inner city youth, we can provide them with more abundant opportunities and begin to reverse the cycle of poverty in their families and neighborhoods. ACE’s vision is that every child should have equal access to a quality education. Today they do not.
Walt became involved with ACE because he strongly believes that we must work harder at bettering the lives of children in our inner cities, and that we can accomplish this through education and leadership. ACE has changed the lives of thousands of children and continues to make a profound difference in its communities.
PIVOT (a 501c3) was founded to harnesses the power of doers and dollars to help Colorado’s NextGen succeed. PIVOT empowers nonprofits to collaborate for impact, allowing our community to provide the full spectrum of what it takes to help children thrive. It works with high-impact organizations to fund alignment, accelerate smart giving, and improve efficiency.