Today the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) announced that its President, Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton, will retire on August 31, 2006 after nearly a decade of exemplary service to WRF and the citizens of Arkansas who have benefited from the foundation's grantmaking initiatives during her tenure.
"The decision to retire from one of Arkansas ' most admired and respected foundations has not been an easy one," said Dr. Hampton. "Yet, the time now is right for me to pursue my life-long commitments to racial and social justice in other venues. When selected as WRF's third president in September 1996, I felt it was an honor and a privilege to return to Arkansas after a thirty year career that included positions as an elementary school teacher, university academic administrator and faculty member, and corporate foundation manager. I will always cherish the challenging opportunity to continue and extend Governor Rockefeller's philanthropic legacy of seeding efforts of those seeking solutions to the state's most pervasive problems through programmatic and public policy initiatives. It has been exhilarating to continue the work begun by Tom McRae and my childhood friend, Mahlon Martin. I am confident that the WRF Board of Directors will select an exemplary individual to lead the Foundation as it continues to fulfill its mission in the coming years."
J. Michael Jones, Chair of the WRF Board of Directors, said, "Dr. Hampton is a truly special individual whose contributions to WRF and to our state went well beyond the simple performance of her duties as WRF President. She is an icon and will forever be viewed as an integral part of the history of the State of Arkansas . The Board of Directors is honored and proud that she is likewise a part of WRF history. We sincerely thank Dr. Hampton for her nearly ten years of service and wish her well in her retirement."
Since October 1996, Dr. Hampton's strong and visionary leadership enabled WRF to continue to work toward its mission of improving the lives of all Arkansans. During her tenure WRF's Board of Directors approved grant awards of over 40 million dollars in the foundation's three program areas: education, economic development, and economic, racial, and social justice. Dr. Hampton has been honored for remarkable achievements, as WRF President, civic leader and civil rights activist. In 2006 she was named one of PowerPlay Magazine's 25 Most Influential African Americans in Arkansas as well as one of the 171 people on Arkansas Business' Power List. In 2005 Dr. Hampton was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), and selected as the 14th Annual James A. Joseph Lecturer for the ABFE Awards Program. Dr. Hampton's extraordinary leadership and unwavering commitment to serving the citizens of Arkansas will be sorely missed.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation whose mission is to improve the lives of all Arkansans. In 1974, the Trustees of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller's estate endowed the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to continue the work of the Rockwin Fund. Governor Rockefeller established the Rockwin Fund in 1954 and, on an annual basis from 1956 until his death in 1973, funded primarily education projects and programs (mostly in Arkansas ). Over the past 32 years, WRF has awarded over $100 million in grants.
With regard to the timing of the Press Release, Mr. Jones added, “Sadly, announcement of Dr. Hampton’s retirement comes on the heels of the passing this weekend of Win Rockefeller, Lt. Governor of the State of Arkansas and the son of Winthrop Rockefeller. The late Lt. Governor was a member of the WRF Board of Directors and a strong advocate of the Foundation’s mission. Dr. Hampton’s retirement had been in the works for several months and, after considerable discussion, she and the Foundation determined that it was best to proceed with announcing her retirement notwithstanding the unfortunate timing. The Foundation’s remaining Board members will endeavor to appoint a successor for Dr. Hampton who, like her, will continue the great work of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller which his son so wholeheartedly supported.”