Because Sam Walton and Winthrop Rockefeller called Arkansas home, this state has some substantial grantmaking foundations. The Walton Family Foundation, in fact, was the 29th largest charitable foundation in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Foundation Center, and the 17th largest in giving. (Not all their charity stays in Arkansas, of course.) Rockefeller's estate created the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust, which in turn established the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, which in turn established the Arkansas Community Foundation.
Nonprofits in Arkansas received at least $180 million from the 15 foundations listed below. The largest single gift was made by the Walton Charitable Trust Foundation, which gave $31 million to the Arkansas Community Foundation. The Windgate Foundation's largest Arkansas grants were $13 million to the Degen Foundation at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith and $10 million to the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith for the school's visual arts building.
Not all grantmaking foundations accept grant requests; many invite nonprofits to apply for grants. Here's information on Arkansas's top grantmakers: their assets and giving (in rounded up numbers), the causes they fund, and whether they accept applications for grants or choose the nonprofits or schools they wish to support.
The Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation, headquartered in Walmart Inc.'s birthplace of Bentonville, makes grants in three major areas: K-12 education, including public charter school startups; environmental causes; and "home region" gifts, which go largely to the Delta and Northwest Arkansas.
For 2015, the family foundation reported assets of $2.6 billion and grant awards totaling $373 million. Of those grants, $35 million went to "home region" projects, the lion's share to Northwest Arkansas concerns; $180 million in grants to educational institutions, $20 million of which went to charter school startup grants; $80 million to environmental concerns, and $80 million to "special projects."
The foundation makes hundreds of grants, from gifts as little as $1,000 for the Arkansas Governor's Mansion Association to $14.5 million to the Environmental Defense Fund and $14.1 million to the Charter Fund Inc. The foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals except those from public charter school developers. (For more information, go to waltonfamilyfoundation.org.)
"Home region" grants of $1 million or more included $7 million to the Walton Arts Center; $6 million to Camp War Eagle; $5.3 million to the Children's Museum of Northwest Arkansas; $4 million to the Walmart Associates in Critical Need Fund; $3.6 million to the Community Development Corp. of Bentonville Bella Vista; $3 million to Arkansas Children's Hospital Northwest to create the Amelia Faulk Labyrinth and Nature Trail; $3 million to the University of Arkansas Foundation; $2.7 million to the University of Arkansas Foundation Inc.;
$1.9 million to the Bentonville Bella Vista Trailblazers Association Inc.; $1.8 million to the Northwest Arkansas Council Foundation; $1.5 million to Teach for America; $1.3 million to Theatre Squared Inc.; $1.3 million to the city of Rogers; $1.2 million to the Bentonville Child Care and Development Center; $1.1 million to the Peel Compton Foundation in Bentonville; $1 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation; $1 million to the city of Fort Smith; $1 million to the Arkansas Public School Resource Center; and $1 million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.
The Walton Charitable Support Foundation
This Walton foundation supports the University of the Ozarks, the Arkansas Community Foundation, Harding University, John Brown University and the University of Arkansas Foundation. It does not accept unsolicited requests.
The foundation reported $680 million in net assets and $39 million in grants in 2015. Its giving over $1 million included $31 million to the Arkansas Community Foundation, $2.8 million to the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville; $2.6 million to John Brown University in Siloam Springs; and $2 million to Harding University in Searcy.
The Arkansas Community Foundation
The ACF primarily manages funds for donors wishing to make charitable gifts without having to establish and run a foundation. Most grants are donor-directed. The ACF also awards grants directly from its own foundation. Nonprofits may apply for grants directly to the foundation for its Giving Tree grants, which support a broad range of causes; Arkansas Black Hall of Fame grants, which serve African-American and other minority communities; Arkansas Delta Endowment for Building Community grants; and Bridge Fund grants for education and the promotion of the study of Arkansas history. The ACF is also a supporter of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. It also has 27 affiliates across Arkansas.
For 2015, the ACF had net assets of $245.4 million and oversaw grants totaling $15 million. It also makes loans: Communities Unlimited Inc., which works to develop rural areas, received a $1 million loan from the ACF, which it will repay, with interest, by 2025.
The Windgate Charitable Foundation Inc.
Windgate, in Siloam Springs, makes grants to institutions that teach art and contemporary crafts; to Christian higher education, especially John Brown University; and projects that promote marriage and family.
Submission deadlines are March 1, July 1 and Oct. 1. Requests should be sent to Windgate Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 826, Siloam Springs, AR, 72761-0826. Call 479-524-9829 for more information.
At the end of 2015, according to the foundation's latest 990 tax return, Windgate had net assets of $238 million and its 2015 grants totaled $72.3 million. The form lists grants made in 2015 as well as grants paid so far in 2016 and scheduled for 2017 and 2018.
Windgate rivals the Walton Family Foundation for grants made to Arkansas institutions. Gifts of $1 million or more in 2015 included the $13 million for the Degen Foundation and $10.7 million to the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith already mentioned as well as $5 million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; $4.5 million to John Brown University; $4.1 million to the First United Methodist Church of Fort Smith; $2 million to the art department of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville; $1.6 million to the Thea Foundation; and $1 million to Pulaski Technical College.
Among the gifts of $1 million or more reported as paid or scheduled to be paid to Arkansas entities this year were $13 million to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, part of a $20.3 million gift to build the new UALR visual arts building; $5 million to the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation, a conditional challenge grant for its operating fund; $5 million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (toward a $15 million pledge); and $1 million to John Brown University.
Scheduled for 2017 are $5.6 million to UALR and $4.9 million to Crystal Bridges.
The Endeavor Foundation
This Springdale foundation, created with proceeds from the sale of two hospitals, has emerged from a year of planning to change its giving focus. Chief Executive Officer Anita Scism said the foundation, which once gave in the general areas of education, health and community-building, is now working to ensure "that all residents of Northwest Arkansas are mentally and physically healthy, safe, and economically and socially stable. The foundation initiates its grantmaking.
For 2015, the foundation reported $146.1 million in net assets and $6.8 million in grants. Among its largest gifts for 2015 were $1.7 million to the Early Childhood Center in Springdale, $516,600 to the Huntsville School District, and $494,070 to the Jones Center for Families Inc.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
The WRF, in Little Rock, created by the Winthrop Rockefeller Trust, makes grants to charities that work to reduce poverty, increase educational opportunities and graduation rates, and improve economic mobility in Arkansas, all part of its Move the Needle plan. It has been instrumental in the creation of several nonprofits that benefit life in Arkansas, including the Arkansas Community Foundation and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Family.
Nonprofits and schools in Arkansas may apply; find instructions at wrfoundation.org.
For 2015, the foundation reported net assets of $134.2 million and grants totaling $3.9 million. Giving in 2015 included grants totaling $435,000 for Arkansas Community Foundation, $377,000 for Arkansas Advocates, $320,000 for the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, $200,000 for Our House and numerous other initiatives.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Trust
The Rockefeller trust supports the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Arkansas's Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and entities that support the archives and study of the former governor of Arkansas. The foundation initiates its grantmaking.
For 2015, the foundation reported net assets of $112.2 million and grants of $5.8 million. Of that total, $5.6 million went to operations for the Rockefeller Institute, which has been approved for a future grant of $4.5 million.
The Ross Foundation
This Arkadelphia foundation, established by Jane and Esther Ross, makes health and education grants primarily in Clark County. Information on how to apply for a grant is on the foundation's website, rossfoundation.us.
For 2015, the foundation reported $90 million in net assets and $617,852 in grants. Its major grant recipient is the Arkadelphia Promise program, which awards college scholarships to graduating high school seniors in Arkadelphia. The program received a grant of $351,684 in 2015.
The Schmieding Foundation
Founded in 1999 in Springdale, the Schmieding Foundation funds the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education and numerous other charities benefiting children and adults in Washington, Benton and Pulaski counties. The foundation takes grant requests; deadlines are March 31 and Sept. 15. For more information, call 479-751-8639.
For 2015, the foundation had net assets of $38 million and paid $2.1 million in grants. Its major gift in 2015 was $800,000 to the Endeavor Foundation. The foundation also made grants of $617, 218 in 2015 and $768,795 in 2016 to the Schmeiding Center.
The Pat and Willard Walker Charitable Foundation
The Walker Foundation was founded in 2004 in Fayetteville and funds charitable, religious, scientific, literary and educational projects. Find application information at walkerfoundation.org.
For 2015, the foundation reported net assets of $35.3 million and made grants totaling $3.5 million. Its major gifts in 2015 included $1.5 million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, $726,000 to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and $402,000 to Arkansas Children's Hospital. The Walton Arts Center announced in October a foundation gift of $2 million to the arts center's capital campaign for its new addition.
The Charles A. Frueauff Foundation
The Frueauff Foundation, named for its founder, a New York lawyer, awards grants in the areas of education, human services and health in several states. Information on how to apply for a grant can be found at frueauff.org.
For 2015, the foundation reported $79 million in net assets and $4.6 million in more than 100 grants under $100,000.
The Murphy Foundation
The Murphy Foundation of El Dorado, founded in 1959, provides scholarships to every college-bound high school senior in El Dorado, as well as gifts to nonprofits working in a variety of areas and schools.
For 2015, the foundation reported $12.6 million in net assets and $2.9 million in grants. Among its larger grants were $1.2 million to the city of El Dorado for festivals and events; its scholarship grants totaled $578,075.
The Horace C. Cabe Foundation
The founder of the Gurdon Lumber Co. established this foundation in 1992. The foundation prefers to fund capital projects with specific needs within a defined time frame. The foundation board of directors initiates grants, but all inquiries are provided to the board; contact the foundation at 903-794-2223.
For 2015, the foundation reported $30.9 million in net assets and $1.5 million in grants. The foundation made numerous grants under $50,000, with the exception of a grant of $175,000 for Wildwood Park for the Arts and two grants totaling $211,000 for the Baptist Health Foundation.
The Tyson Family Foundation Inc.
The late Tyson Foods CEO Don Tyson established the family foundation in 1970. It provides funds to the Jones Trust in Springdale and scholarship grants to colleges and universities. For 2015, the foundation reported net assets of $25.3 million and gifts of $1.5 million to colleges and universities for scholarships and $500,000 to the Jones Trust. In 2016, the Tyson Family Foundation and Tyson Foods gave a combined $15 million to Arkansas Children's Hospital Northwest, where the main tower will be dedicated to the Tyson family.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
This Las Vegas-headquarter foundation, created by the founder of Donrey Media Group to benefit projects in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma, is spending down its corpus and making its final grants. Its 2015 giving in Arkansas included $5 million to the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs for its renovation; a $2.6 million challenge grant to Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids; $1 million to the Arkansas Foodbank; and $1 million to Camp Aldersgate. Its announced gifts in 2016 include $1 million for the Walton Arts Center and $1.5 million for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for an endowed chair in the Reynolds Institute on Aging.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story reported the Walton Foundation assets in the trillions instead of the billions, which would be an error in the order of magnitude by 3. It has been corrected above.