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James Walton Sr. at an event, smiling and conversing.
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A Family Legacy

The Walton family’s drive for a cure spans decades and generations.

The Walton family has been giving to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) for three generations, and while the story of how they originally got involved is lost to time, the reason for their continued support is clear: finding a cure for psoriatic disease is imperative.

The Walton family is part of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mellon family, who have a long history of philanthropy. The Mellon family is a patron of Carnegie Mellon University as well as several other universities, and founded the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which is the largest supporter of the arts and humanities in the U.S. [1]

A few weeks ago, I talked with James Walton Jr. about his father, James Walton Sr., who recently passed away. Walton Sr., a Pittsburgh native, was a senior corporate executive and a leader in the local philanthropic world. His maternal grandfather, William L. Mellon, was a founder of Gulf Oil and nephew to Andrew W. Mellon. [2]

Walton Jr. remembers his grandmother’s lesson first. “She taught it to my father and my father taught it to us, that it’s important to support organizations that are making a difference,” he says. “We’ve been given a lot, but it’s important to us to give back.”

While Walton Sr. had psoriasis for much of his life, it was Walton Jr. that first showed signs of it, during his college years. They soon discovered that there was a family history of psoriatic disease. While the family had mainly focused on local nonprofit efforts to that point, it was an easy decision to support NPF. “There’s room for things like this, especially when it directly affects a family member, or in this case, more than one family member,” says Walton Jr.

Walton Jr. and his father didn’t talk much about their personal experiences with psoriasis, but they talked regularly about their support for NPF, and over time they determined that their main priority was to promote research into psoriatic disease. “In the end there needs to be a cure. That’s what I hope for and that’s what my father was hoping for too,” says Walton Jr. “He was a great man, and he did a lot for a lot of people, including myself.”

More Ways to Give

Whether you volunteer your time, become a member of NPF, or leave a planned gift, your efforts get us closer to a life free from psoriatic disease.

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