Roosevelt library CEO: Funding on track despite backpedal

April 26, 2022 GMT

MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — The planned Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in western North Dakota won’t get all the money initially promised from a Walmart heir but officials say they surpassed its $100 million private fundraising goal anyway.

Rob and Melani Walton had pledged $50 million to the project near Medora but wound up committing to $15 million instead, as first reported by KFGO radio.

Melani Walton, a Williston native, had been a member of the library’s board but resigned last month. Rob Walton is the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton.

Both library officials and the Waltons downplayed the downward donation.

“When the history of this remarkable institution is told years from now, Melani and Rob will occupy a significant place in that story,” Library Foundation CEO Ed O’Keefe told The Bismarck Tribune. “We wish them nothing but the best.”


A statement from the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation said the couple “is so pleased to have supported this project from its inception.”

Library organizers set the fund-raising bar at $100 million in order to access an additional $50 million in state money.

O’Keefe declined to say how much money has been raised, citing “the quiet phase of the capital campaign.” He added, “I can assure you it is in excess of $100 million.”

The library is hoping to hold its grand opening on July 4, 2026. Organizers plan later this week to finalize the sale of 90 acres of grassland from the U.S. Forest Service.