Big winners: U of A and art 

ON DRAWING BOARD: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art got $60 million from Walton Family Foundation. The museum is under construction in Bentonville.
  • ON DRAWING BOARD: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art got $60 million from Walton Family Foundation. The museum is under construction in Bentonville.

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville raked in nearly $102 million in outright gifts and pledges in the 2008 fiscal year that ended in June, landing significant gifts to the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (two grants totaling $15 million) and the School of Architecture ($10 million). The latter, a gift from Don and Ellen Edmondson of Forrest City, was the largest from an individual this year.

Other UA campuses reporting single donations of $1 million or more included the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Carl Nelson Orthopedic Center and the Walker Nursing Center, all at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and the William H. Bowen Law School of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

But no single gift in 2007 topped the $60 million donation that the Walton Family Foundation made to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which Alice Walton is building in Bentonville.  

Last week, the Walton Family Foundation announced a gift of $1.5 million to the Salvation Army.

The Walton Foundation had not released its tax returns for the 2007 tax year (though it did announce its gifts). So the philanthropic world has yet to know whether the estate of the late Helen R. Walton, widow of Wal-Mart empire founder Sam Walton, was folded into the Walton Family Foundation. Her worth was estimated at $16.4 billion by Forbes; her money would make the family foundation, valued at $1.3 billion at the end of 2006, second in size only to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It's now ranked 45th in America.

Following are gifts of $100,000 or more made by individuals and private foundations to Arkansas institutions since 2007.


Giving by individuals


Don and Ellen Edmondson of Forrest City announced in February that they'll give $10 million to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture, Fayetteville; $1.5 million to the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and $1.5 million to Arkansas Children's Hospital.


Jack and Melba Shewmaker of Bentonville gave $1.8 million to Northwest Arkansas Community College and pledged $1.75 million to Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas.


Robert and Frieda Thornton of Rogers pledged $2.9 million to Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas in 2007.


An anonymous donor gave $1 million to Arkansas Children's Hospital to establish an endowed chair in pediatric cardiovascular anesthesiology.


Retired banker William H. Bowen and his wife, Connie, have given a $1 million unrestricted gift to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School, which bears Bowen's name. 


The late Dr. Gene Virginia Campbell bequeathed her estate of $816,615 to UALR's College of Education.


An annuity and bequest totaling $800,000 from the estate of alumnus Cleveland Burton went to UA.


J.W. and Emily McAllister of Memphis gave $500,000 to the University of Arkansas to establish the Emily J. McAllister Endowed Professorship in Piano in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at UA.

? Dr. Amy Gilbert Pollard and Harry T. Gilbert Jr. established The Dorothea Lawrence Gilbert Fund for Art Enrichment and Outreach with a $120,000 gift to the Arkansas Arts Center.


Hugh and Frances Barton Nutt of Ozark, Mo., created a charitable gift annuity in the amount of $100,000 for scholarships to UA.



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