Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Arkansas ranks 47th in the U.S. in the health of its people, so it needs every dime of the philanthropic dollars channeled to medical care every year. Announced individual gifts since November 2011 and foundation giving in 2011 and 2012 totaled at least $40 million dollars to public institutions alone — the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital and UAMS Northwest.
Arkansas Children's Hospital bravely engaged in its largest capital campaign ever during these uncertain economic times, its $160 million "Century of Possibility" campaign. The campaign was quiet for several years, but went public in March.
"There's never going to be an optimum time to be in a campaign," Fred Scarborough, senior vice president of the ACH Foundation, said of the timing. "The needs for us are so pressing that we had to move forward." It's raised $115 million so far; the campaign ends in 2014.
A portion of the campaign helped fund the hospital's new $121 million, 258,000-square-foot south wing. The dollars will also support autism and other research, work in genetics, Angel One transport and preventive care to address the thousands of child abuse cases reported in Arkansas every year, Scarborough said.
Scarborough's experience — like that of fund-raisers across the country — is that grant-making foundations, which like individual investors, lost money in the economic downturn of 2008, are being more selective in what they fund and the competition for their dollars is greater. Still, Children's has pulled in foundation gifts totaling $7.3 million in the last year.
Donations to colleges and universities were second only to medicine, and social services came in third, thanks to grants from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which in 2011 channeled more dollars to Arkansas — $38.4 million — than the Walton Family Foundation, including Reynolds' $11.8 million payment to UAMS toward a $27.9 million pledge made in 2009.
The arts did well, too, thanks to commitments to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and a $6 million gift to the University of Arkansas by Jim and Joyce Faulkner to turn the Old Field House into a performing arts center.
The Walton Family Foundation's giving in 2011 was but a third of the total reported on its 2010 990 form, but that was because 2010 was an extraordinary year: The foundation gave $1.2 billion to Crystal Bridges, founded by Alice Walton, for art and endowment, and total giving was $1.5 billion. That made it the 2nd most generous foundation in the country, behind the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2011, the Walton Family Foundation gave $487 million to causes nationally, including $159 million to K-12 education reforms it supports, such as charter schools and voucher programs, and $209 million to the Walton Charitable Foundation, which supports education initiatives. It made a total of $21.5 million in grants in Arkansas, gave $4.4. million to the Walton-founded Camp War Eagle and contributed $2.2 million to fund university scholarships.
The Walton Family Foundation also listed on its 990 IRS form $176 million in zero-interest loans it's made, all to support charter schools (with the exception of a small loan to the Nature Conservancy).
The Foundation Center puts Arkansas's largest foundation at 50th in terms of assets, but its data is based on the foundation's 2010 figures.
The following is a list of individuals and foundations that have made gifts of $250,000 or more to Arkansas organizations as reported by press releases since November 2011 and on the most recent 990 forms filed by foundations, which includes 2011 and 2012 awards. Because Walton Family Foundation gifts are so numerous, only those in excess of $500,000 are listed here.
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