The year's top philanthropic gesture was historic: The Walton Family Foundation gave $1.2 billion to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, founded by Alice Walton.
The gift, made in 2010 but announced just before the Nov. 11 opening of the museum, was exceptional both in amount and as a gift to the arts, an area of need more neglected than celebrated. The gift will pay for art acquisition, conservation and museum operations.
Spinning off from the museum gift was another $20 million by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Foundation to cover admission costs, to be paid over five years; $10 million by the Willard and Pat Walker Foundation to fund a school visit program, to be paid over 10 years; and $1 million from the Jack and Melba Shewmaker family for educational programs at the museum.
Perhaps as a reflection of an economy inching its way up from the recession of 2009, family foundation assets and giving were up slightly in 2010 over 2009. Grants made by Arkansas's top 14 family foundations (those with assets of $30 million or more) alone, not counting the $1.2 billion Walton gift, totaled more than $111 million in 2010, according to tax documents. (The Foundation Center, reporting on all 290 foundations in Arkansas in 2009, including independent, corporate and community, arrived at a figure of $666 million.)
The Walton Family Foundation donations, other than the one to Crystal Bridges, to Arkansas non-profits totaled about $48 million.
The gift to Crystal Bridges was the bulk of the Walton foundation's total giving of $1.49 billion, quadruple its grant-making the year previous. (Walton grants go to education reform, this year including $25 million to the KIPP Foundation, which operates public charter schools; freshwater and marine conservation projects and social programs.)
In addition to the Walton gift, the Windgate Foundation in Rogers noticeably increased its giving, doubling grant dollars from $10.1 million in 2009 to $20.9 million in 2010. (Windgate, which focuses on education, primarily John Brown University, and the arts, is "spending down" its assets, which means its board does not intend for it to exist in perpetuity.)
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation of Las Vegas, which annually gives to Arkansas nonprofits, donated $40 million in 2010 to state charities.
Besides the Walton bounty for the arts, education was the recipient of the lion's share of the dollars, followed by medicine and social needs.
Family foundations, their dollars coming from deep pockets, have been generous. But, said Melissa Stiles, president of Arkansas's chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, generous people who give at lower levels — in the hundreds or thousands instead of the hundreds of thousands — are still "feeling the strain of the economy" and being more careful with their philanthropy. So while some organizations are celebrating an increase in giving, "I don't know that the average charity necessarily feels that way," Stiles said. Things may be particularly difficult for nonprofits like food pantries whose mission is duplicated by other charities and who often tap the same well.
"I would say probably 2011 was still a tough year for most nonprofits in Arkansas," Tom Nisbett, who will succeed Stiles Jan. 1, said. Charities who don't enjoy long-standing ties with rich foundations are finding it more difficult to raise money.
Private giving will surely be more important to Arkansas nonprofits as public dollars dry up in response to the federal debt; that situation "changes the shape of the pie" of donor sources, Hunter Goodman of the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence said. Yet, Nisbett added, local nonprofits are "in many ways too dependent on foundation and event giving"; they need to incorporate other strategies, like planned and online giving, to sustain their mission.
What follows is a list of some of the major grants made to Arkansas charities in 2010 (and 2011 whenever available), including announced gifts and those reported on foundation tax returns.
The Walton Family Foundation gave Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, founded by Alice Walton in Bentonville, $1.2 billion in 2010, including $800 million to endow operations, art acquisitions and future capital improvement needs and $403 million for artwork, general operating expenses and construction; and $1.2 million to the Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville) in 2011.
The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation of Fayetteville this year made its first $1 million installment on a pledge of $10 million over 10 years to endow the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program for students and teachers to travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2011 and $1 million to the Walton Arts Center (Fayetteville) for project support in 2010 and 2011.
The Windgate Foundation of Rogers gave a total of $1.1 million to the Fort Smith Art Center (now the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum) for renovation in 2010 and 2011; a total of $367,500 to the Arkansas Arts Center for educational and professional development programs, ceramic department equipment, FY 2011 operations and wood art, and $259,750 to the Thea Foundation for Thea's Art Closet Programs.
The Jack and Melba Shewmaker family of Bentonvillle will give $1 million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to benefit the museum's educational programs.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gave a total of $1.5 million to the Museum of Discovery, in partial fulfillment of grants authorized in 2006 and 2008.
J.W. and Emily McAllister of Memphis, University of Arkansas alumni, gave $1 million to the UA music program: Half for the purchase and maintenance of Steinway pianos, the rest as a challenge grant to encourage others to give to the program. The couple previously gave more than $500,000 to establish the McAllister Honors College Fellowships in Business and $500,000 to endow the Emily J. McAllister Professorship in Piano.
The Carol and Witt Stephens Foundation gave the Arkansas Symphony $250,000.
The Oliver Charitable Corporation gave the Arkansas Symphony $250,000.
Trustees of the Stephen Harrow Smith Revocable Trust gave the University of Arkansas at Little Rock $1.15 million to establish the Stephen Harrow Smith Endowed Dean of Business and the Stephen Harrow Smith Seminar Room in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gave $806,100 to the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, in partial fulfillment of a $1.8 million grant authorized in 2009.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Trust approved future funding of $4.5 million to the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.
The Walton Family Foundation gave $1.7 million to the Foundation for the Mid-South and $837,681 to the Peel Compton Foundation (Bentonville).
The Murphy Foundation of El Dorado gave two gifts totaling $399,740 in Murphy Oil Corp. common stock to the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation gave $250,000 to the Arkansas Community Foundation.
The Care Foundation gave $225,195 to the Northwest Arkansas Community Foundation (Springdale).
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation authorized a grant of $10 million to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to build the 34,320-square-foot Steven L. Anderson Design Center, named in honor of the foundation's president, who is a university alumnus.
The Walton Family Foundation gave $7.5 million to Southern Bancorp Capital Partners (Arkadelphia) and $5.6 million to Southern Bancorp CDC Corporation to fund investments in education reform; $1.4 million to Teach for America-Delta; $680,283 to the UA Foundation for education reform; $533,682 to the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund; $413,334 to the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science Inc. at UALR; $324,000 to e-Stem Public Charter Schools Inc.; $316,875 to Arkansas Tech (Russellville); $257,158 to the Northwest Evaluation Association, and $250,000 to the Association of American Educators Foundation.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gave $5.8 million to the Baxter County Library Foundation in partial fulfillment of a $9.8 million pledge made in 2008.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Trust gave $4.9 million to the University of Arkansas's Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (Morrilton) for operations and approved future funding at $14.5 million.
The Windgate Foundation of Rogers gave a total of $6.9 million in 2010 and 2011 to John Brown University to endow the Dr. Gary Oliver Endowed Chair, for its Growing Healthy Relationships programs, challenge grants, leadership grants, an art faculty position and a planning grant for the renovation of the art department.
The Murphy Foundation of El Dorado gave $1.5 million in Murphy Oil Corp. common stock to Hendrix College (Conway) for operations.
The Tyson Foundation of Springdale reported $1.4 million to fund college and university scholarships.
In 2010 and 2011, the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation gave $1 million to Hendrix College in scholarship support; $1 million toward a $4 million pledge to the New School (Fayetteville); $592,000 to the University of the Ozarks (Clarksville) to complete a $2.9 million grant for endowment; $500,000 to Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia) to endow scholarships; $1 million toward a $2 million pledge to the School of Nursing at UALR; made a challenge grant of $500,000 to Harding University (Searcy), and gave $500,000 toward a $1 million pledge to the UA Foundation for scholarship support.
The Care Foundation gave $450,000 to the UA Foundation and $349,170 to the Springdale School District.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation approved a grant of $400,000 to the Mid-Delta Community Consortium (Helena/West Helena) to be paid over two years.
The Murphy Foundation of El Dorado gave $354,675 in educational grants to El Dorado students entering college.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation approved a $400,000 grant to UALR to support the expansion of Reading Recovery, a K-3 program to improve reading proficiency. The grant was part of the foundation's Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation in 2010 and 2011 gave $2 million to Arkansas Children's Hospital to support construction of its south wing, scheduled for completion in 2012; $1 million to the Jones Eye Institute's Leland and Betty Tollett Retinal and Ocular Genetics Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; $1 million to the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging to support programs and research; $1.2 million to the Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute for its capital campaign, part of a $3.7 million grant; $525,000 to Washington Regional Foundation; $1 million toward a $2 million pledge to Washington Regional Hospice (Fayetteville); and $250,000, the first installment in a $750,000 challenge grant, to the Circle of Life (Springdale),
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gave the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences $3.9 million in grants to help fund the Schmeiding Home Caregiver Training Program (a $3 million grant authorized in 2009) and toward the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging (a $27.9 million award authorized in 2009).
Frank and Jane Thomas Lyon donated $1.5 million to the Reynolds Institute on Aging for program and research support in response to a challenge grant of $27.9 million from the Reynolds Foundation (announced in 2009) to expand the institute. The Lyons and their families previously gave $2.5 million to create the Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic. The institute also received a $5.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to establish the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at UAMS, one of 12 in the United States.
Johnelle Hunt gave $1.1 million to support the expansion of UAMS' hospital and the UAMS Northwest campus.
Jeff and Kathy Lewis Sanders of Texas gave $1 million to UAMS to endow a chair in pediatric pharmacy. Kathy Sanders is a pharmacy school graduate.
The Charles Schmeiding Foundation Term (Springdale) gave a total of $840,000 to UAMS for various purposes.
The estate of Howard and Elsie Stebbins gave more than $738,000 to help fund a cardiovascular research chair at UAMS.
The Windgate Foundation of Rogers gave a total of $691,900 to UAMS for the Institute on Aging, Cord Blood Bank, research and fellowships.
The Murphy Foundation of El Dorado gave $250,050 in Murphy Oil Corp. common stock to UAMS' Institute on Aging.
The Tyson Foundation of Springdale gave $250,000 to UAMS for its Northwest Arkansas campus renovation fund.
The Windgate Foundation gave $250,000 to Arkansas Children's Hospital to endow a chair in pediatric dentistry.
Bobby and Becky Petrino made a gift of $250,000 to Children's Hospital to support construction of the hospital's south wing and Petrino, the Razorbacks football coach, said he will lend his name to a golf tournament to benefit the hospital.
The Walton Family Foundation gave $10.5 million to the Arkansas chapter of the Nature Conservancy Inc. and $3.9 million to the Bentonville/Bella Vista Trailblazers Association Inc.
The Windgate Foundation gave $435,000 to the Nature Conservancy for land acquisition.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Trust gave Arkansas Audubon $250,000 as a building grant.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gave $9.4 million to Northwest Arkansas Children's Shelter, part of a $13 million pledge made in 2008; $5.2 million to the Arkansas Foodbank Network Inc. in partial fulfillment of a $10 million pledge made in 2008; authorized a $3.5 million grant to the Committee Against Spouse Abuse Inc. for a new shelter (Pine Bluff); $1.4 million to Camp Aldersgate; $1.2 million to the Arkansas 4-H Foundation; $1 million to Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids (P.A.R.K); $832,737 to Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas (Jonesboro), in partial fulfillment of a $7.9 million grant authorized in 2009; and $376,409 in two grants to the Crisis Intervention Center (Fort Smith).
The Walton Family Foundation gave $5.3 million to Camp War Eagle Inc. (Rogers), a Christian camp for children and teen-agers; $1.7 million to Southern Bancorp Capital Partners (Arkadelphia), and $618,988 to Bentonville Child Care and Development Center.
The Care Foundation of Springdale donated $500,000 to the Jones Center for Families (Springdale).
The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation paid $500,000 toward a $750,000 pledge for the EOA-Children's House (Springdale), and $250,000 for program support at the Jones Center for Families (Springdale).
The Windgate Foundation of Rogers gave Our House $300,000 for its housing renovation.
The Ross Foundation of Arkadelphia gave $300,000 to Group Living Inc. (Arkadelphia) for its reconstruction campaign.
The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation made a challenge grant of $500,000 toward a $1 million grant to the Children's House (Springdale).
The Walton Family Foundation gave $726,832 to the city of Rogers.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation gave a $10 million challenge grant and the Pat and Willard Walker Charitable Foundation gave $625,000 toward its $2.5 million pledge to raise money for a football operations center and practice fields at the UA.