By Jennifer Calfas
January 11, 2018

The richest women in America have more in common than just their wealth.

From Jacqueline Mars to Christy Walton, the 10 richest women in America are all descendants or widows of the founders of some of the biggest companies in the country – from Walmart to Apple to Mars candy.

In fact, three of the richest women are from the Walton Family (of Wal-Mart), and another three are from the Cox family (of Cox Enterprises fortune). It’s for that reason that women like Oprah Winfrey, who has a net worth of $2.8 billion, and Marian Ilitch, who co-founded Little Caesars Pizza, are not on this list. (They are, though, among the richest self-made women in America.)

Just as some of the richest people in the world like to donate their billions to charity, the richest women in America have used their tremendous inheritances for good, founding and running philanthropies. That includes Laurene Powell Jobs, who runs an organization dedicated to creating solutions to immigration reform and other social justice issues.

Based on Forbes‘s annual ranking of the richest people in the world, these are the 10 richest women in America:

1. Alice Walton

Alice Walton attends the American Federation of Arts 2017 Gala and Cultural Leadership Awards at The Metropolitan Club on Oct. 26, 2017 in New York City.
Sylvain Gaboury—Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Industry: Retail

Net worth: $38.2 billion

Alice Walton is the heiress of the Wal-Mart fortune left behind her her father and Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the country, and according to Forbes, Walton is worth at least $38.2 billion.

Walton’s family is also among the richest in the world. She and other members of her family run the Walton Family Foundation, which focuses on investing in programs related to K-12 education, environmental conservation and improving the quality of life in Arkansas.

The 68-year-old Texas resident is also known for her horse breeding and art collections, as well as her multi-million dollar Texas ranches. Exhibiting her passion for art, Walton also opened the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, her hometown.

With the recent death of French heiress Liliane Bettencourt, Walton is considered to be one of two richest women in the world. The other is Bettencourt’s daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers.

2. Jacqueline Mars

Jacqueline Mars, center, and her granddaughters, Graysen Airth, left, and Katherine Burgstahler, right, arrive for the formal Artist's Dinner in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. Pool—Getty Images
Pool—Getty Images

Industry: Food

Net worth: $25.5 billion

Similar to Walton, Jacqueline Mars comes from one of America’s richest families and inherited a substantial amount of wealth. As the second richest woman in America, Mars is worth an estimated $25.5 billion — thanks to her Mars Inc. fortune and investments.

Founded in 1911, Mars Inc. is the largest candy maker in the world, with treats like M&Ms, Snickers and Skittles. The company has also expanded to sell pet supplies.

Mars, 78, owns a third of the company, and her two brothers own the other two-thirds. Outside of the company, Mars is a philanthropist. Thanks to her work for the United States Equestrian Team Foundation, she won the foundation’s distinguished trustee award in 2017. Mars lives in Virginia, where the company is based.

3. Laurene Powell Jobs

Andrew Ross Sorkin and Laurene Powell Jobs speak onstage during The New York Times 2017 DealBook Conference at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Nov. 9, 2017 in New York City. Michael Cohen—Getty Images for The New York Times
Michael Cohen—Getty Images for The New York Times

Industry: Tech

Net worth: $19.4 billion

The widow of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, businesswoman Laurene Powell Jobs is worth around $19.4 billion, according to Forbes. Steve Jobs died in 2011 and had a net worth of about $11 billion before his death, according to the Motley Fool.

Considered the third-richest woman in America, Powell Jobs is the founder and president of the Emerson Collective, an organization that works with policymakers to create solutions to issues in education and immigration reform, among other social justice issues. Powell Jobs, 54, has also founded other organizations, including College Track, a group that helps prepare low-income students for college.

Recently, Powell Jobs also bought a majority stake in the magazine The Atlantic for an unknown sum.

4. Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Fidelity Investments, speaks during a presentation at the Securities Industry And Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) annual meting in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Industry: Money management

Net worth: $16 billion

Abigail Johnson is the president and CEO of Fidelity Investments, which her grandfather founded in 1946. One of Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women, Johnson is worth around $16 billion and owns a 24.5 percent stake in Fidelity Investments, according to Forbes.

In 2016, Fidelity had its fourth-straight record year, with $15.9 billion in revenue, according to Fortune. Johnson, 56, was named CEO in in 2014, and took over as chairwoman of the company in 2016.

A Boston resident, this richest woman received her M.B.A. from Harvard University and joined the company as a financial analyst after graduating in 1988.

5. Blair Parry-Okeden

Blair Parry-Okeden, one of the richest women in America. Courtesy of UH Foundation
Courtesy of UH Foundation

Industry: Media

Net worth: $12 billion

A Cox Enterprises heiress, Blair Parry-Okeden is worth around $12 billion, according to Forbes. Her mother, Barbara Cox Anthony, was the daughter of the company’s founder and died in 2007. As a result, Parry-Okeden inherited a 25 percent stake in the company.

Cox Enterprises is an Atlanta-based communications and automotive services conglomerate that Parry-Okeden’s grandfather, James M. Cox. founded in 1898. The fifth richest woman in America, Parry-Okeden owns the company with two other members of her family.

Despite being from the United States, Parry-Okeden now lives in Australia with her husband.

6. Katharine Rayner

Anne NItze and Katharine Rayner attend The Morgan Library & Museum's Evening Benefit at The Morgan Library & Museum on Nov. 14, 2016 in New York City. Krista Kennell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Krista Kennell—Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

Industry: Media

Net worth: $8 billion

Katharine Rayner, one of the richest women in America, is also one of the heiresses to the Cox Enterprises fortune. With an $8 billion net worth, Rayner is also the granddaughter of James M. Cox.

She inherited a portion of her mother’s 49-percent stake in Cox Enterprises with her siblings, Margaretta Taylor, who is also on this list, and James Cox Chambers. They each have a 17 percent stake in the company.

The 72-year-old’s East Hampton home and garden has been featured in Vogue. The heiress is also a philanthropist and trustee of the New York Public Library. In 2017, she gave $15 million to the library’s research collections.

7. Margaretta Taylor

Margaretta Johnson Taylor attends Top Dog Humanitarian Awards Gala on November 15, 1989 at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. Ron Galella—WireImage/Getty Images
Ron Galella—WireImage/Getty Images

Industry: Media

Net worth: $8 billion

Like her sister Rayner, Margaretta Taylor has a net worth of around $8 billion thanks to her inherited 17-percent stake in Cox Enterprises from her mother.

Taylor, 73, and her siblings inherited their wealth from their mother back in 2015.

Cox Enterprises owns the third-biggest cable operator in the U.S.

8. Pauline MacMillan Keniath

Industry: Food

Net worth: $7.4 billion

Pauline MacMillan Keniath is an heiress of the founder of Cargill, the biggest food company in the world. Cargill supplies a wide variety of brands, including animal food giants like Nutrena and Purina. With a net worth of around $7.4 billion, she is the eighth-richest woman in America. She is 83 years old.

Cargill Inc., the Minnesota-based food company that operates in 70 different countries with 155,000 employees, was founded by her great-grandfather W.W. Cargill in 1856. The Cargill family owns about 90 percent of the company, and Keinath owns a 12 percent stake herself. According to Forbes, she “is believed to be the largest shareholder” of the company.

9. Christy Walton

Producer Christy Walton attends the 28th Annual Imagen Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 16, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez—Getty Images
Alberto E. Rodriguez—Getty Images

Industry: Retail

Net worth: $7 billion

Christy Walton is also of Wal-Mart fortune as the widow of John T. Walton, one of Sam Walton’s sons. Worth around $7 billion, Christy Walton inherited her fortune when her husband died in a plane crash in 2005.

Like her sister-in-law Alice, Christy Walton is involved in other projects outside of Wal-Mart. She is on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which her husband co-founded. The organization is dedicated to helping low-income students “escape poverty through educational opportunity.”

According to Forbes, Christy Walton’s son, Lukas Walton, also inherited a portion of his father’s wealth — and is one of the five youngest billionaires in America.

10. Ann Walton Kroenke

Ann and Josh Kroenke chat before game 7 of the first round of the NBA playoffs Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. John Leyba—Denver Post via Getty Images
John Leyba—Denver Post via Getty Images

Industry: Retail

Net worth: $6.6 billion

Another Walton billionaire, Ann Walton Kroenke inherited her wealth from her father, James “Bud” Walton. He co-founded Wal-Mart with his brother, Sam Walton.

When her father died in 1995, Kroenke inherited a portion of his stake in Walmart. The 69-year-old richest woman is also a registered nurse and is married to real estate billionaire Stan Kroenke, who is worth around $8 billion, according to Forbes. He owns a number of professional sports teams, including the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Nuggets.

The couple reportedly met on a skiing trip in Aspen, where they eventually made “the most expensive residential purchase of 2011” in the area, according to Aspen Journalism.


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