At 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning in 1970, Christy Ruth Walton, then Tallant, was arrested at a residence in the north end of Palm Springs by police who were conducting a dawn raid on a property being used by a suspected burglary gang. Police reported they had discovered a small quantity of drugs and alleged stolen goods in the house. Tallant was arrested and charged with three counts of breaching health and safety laws. All charges were dropped against her and another defendant after the Supreme Court of California ruled the police had conducted an illegal raid by enacting the search warrant an hour too early. The police "apparently had been issued just an ordinary 'daytime' warrant that was only valid when served between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m."
Profiled by Condé Nast Portfolio magazine in The Giving Index, she is ranked as the highest female philanthropist according to the amount she gives as a percentage of her wealth. At a then estimated $16.3 billion net worth, she contributed a total of $3.5 billion cumulatively between 2002 and 2006.
In June 2005, it was incorrectly reported that she inherited her husband's fortune of US$18.2 billion following his death in a plane crash. As of 2015, Walton was incorrectly assumed to be the richest woman in the world. Forbes incorrectly reported that she was the richest woman in the world for eight years running, and still held the title in March 2015. As of March 2014, she and her family (not including her two brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law) had an estimated net worth of $36.7 billion, the bulk of which comes from her shares in Walmart, but also from First Solar, in which her husband invested. In 2015, an analysis of court documents by Bloomberg revealed that Christy Walton was in fact US$27.2 billion less wealthy than previously thought, as the bulk of her husband's wealth was left to her son, Lukas Walton, and that her real net worth is about US$5 billion.
Non-profit organizations in which Walton is actively serving include the national association of trustees and staff, corporate giving officers, and individual donors of The Philanthropy Roundtable. The San Diego Natural History Museum, where she is a board member, as well as the San Diego Zoological Society and the Mingei International Museum are also institutions to which she makes donations. In 2006, Walton donated her own old Victorian home which was built in 1896 for former National City, California postmaster Oliver Noyes and is of historical significance, to the International Community Foundation - Center for Cross-Border Philanthropy. Since her donation, she has endowed $4 million towards the edifice's preservation.
Additionally, she supports her family's own charitable foundation, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, which prioritizes education and benefits institutions of higher education such as the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and several other colleges, community trusts, universities and foundations. In 2007, her family's foundation donated as much as $1.6 billion.
Variety reported on March 2, 2009, that Christy Walton had set up a production company called Tenaja Productions to Finance a film adaptation of Bless Me, Ultima, a popular Chicano coming of age novel. Filming wrapped in Santa Fe, New Mexico in late 2010. The film premiered at the Plaza Theatre in El Paso, Texas on September 17, 2012, and received a general release in February 2013.