Walton Family Foundation Gives $1.8M to Brightwater

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The Walton Family Foundation gave a $1.8 million grant to Brightwater, the culinary school at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

The grant will allow Brightwater develop new programs, start an apprenticeship program and create two classrooms to help students socially distance while studying during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new programs will focus on entrepreneurship, bar and beverage management and whole health and wellness.

“This grant makes it possible for Brightwater to continue its mission of providing world class training and learning for individuals, students and professionals at any point on their journey into the world of food, and shape the change of our industry through focusing on the instruction of food systems, responsibility, sustainability, culture and the craft of food,” Brightwater Executive Director Marshall Shafkowitz said. “Students are also able to learn and engage in a safe environment without feeling like their academic experience has been compromised.”

The classroom funding will also allow Brightwater to do more virtual teaching and record lectures and presentations. The apprenticeship program has been approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Brightwater is a unique program in the culinary industry that offers accessible workforce training opportunities in a world-class facility,” said Karen Minkel, the foundation’s Home Region director. “The school’s well-rounded programs will prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs who will help strengthen the local hospitality industry.”