Although he’s a relatively recent addition to Rappahannock County, Harris Hollow resident Bill Walton has already had a positive impact on the community. And as one of the newest members of the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation’s (NPCF) board of directors, that impact is likely to increase in the future.
Walton has been involved in building businesses for four decades. During his 14 years as CEO and chairman at Allied Capital, the NYSE private equity investment firm that merged with Ares Capital in 2010, Allied grew from $600 million to $12 billion in managed assets.
Walton serves on the board of directors of the Castleton Festival and Media Research Center and the Trustees’ Council of the National Gallery of Art, and is president of the Washington Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company. He has also served as a managing director for Butler Capital Corporation and founded two education service providers.
Walton is currently chairman of Rappahannock Ventures LLC, a private equity firm, and Rush River Entertainment, a feature film production company that has produced or executive-produced three feature films over the last two years, including the soon-to-be-released “Max Rose” starring Jerry Lewis.
“I’ve learned over the years that the people closest to problems are those best served for solving them,” Walton said, which is what he said first drew him to the fire department, and now to the community foundation, which serves Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison and Rappahannock counties. “It’s a local organization serving local needs, and I’m a proponent of finding solutions at the local level.”
Walton said the NPCF is still in “growth mode,” but has thus far “done a great job. It’s increased its assets three- or four- or five-fold over the past three years. Cole [Johnson, NPCF’s executive director] is a great leader and inspires a lot of confidence.”
Walton, who said he’ll be helping with grantmaking and investment policy, credited Johnson and the NPCF with getting familiar with the organizations it supports. “When you put yourself in the position of being a donor, which I’ve been doing for 20 years, often it’s hard to know which organizations are really making a difference. One of the things NPCF can do so well is drill down, put in the due diligence, and determine what are the best organizations in the region to be supporting.”
In Rappahannock, Walton and his wife, Sarah, an artist, have been involved in and contributed to the Castleton Festival, the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC), the Child Care and Learning Center and Headwaters Foundation.
Walton’s goal is to raise awareness of the community foundation and its potential for helping nonprofits, especially in Rappahannock. “I like that the community foundation serves a wide variety of groups,” he said. “I look forward to gathering contributions to serve these organizations.”
Established in 2001, the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that strives to build philanthropic capital to enhance and preserve the quality of life in the area and to strengthen the region’s nonprofit organizations.
NPCF’s board members are Michael T. Leake, Robert C. Dart, M.D., Hilary Scheer Gerhardt and Marshall DeF. Doeller of Warrenton; Jeffrey C. Early and Carlton M. Yowell of Madison; M. Andrew Gayheart, Trice Gravatte, M.D., and Elizabeth “Liz” M. Yates of Culpeper; Eugene Triplett of Brandy Station; Walton and Sharon Genebach Luke of Rappahannock, and John McCarthy, Rappahannock County’s administrator, who serves as NPCF’s chair.