Arkansas Business' 25 Philanthropists (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Winthrop Rockefeller, Arkansas governor from 1967-71

Deming is the grandson of Charles H. Murphy Sr., a south Arkansas entrepreneur who amassed numerous land and petroleum interests. Deming and his wife, Elaine, founded the El Dorado Education Foundation, which created the El Dorado Mathematics Chair, the first endowed position in a secondary public school. Deming retired as Murphy Oil's chief executive Dec. 31, 2008, though he remains on the board of directors.

Then there's the Murphy Foundation, based in El Dorado and headed by Madison Murphy. Madison is the son of Charles H. Murphy Jr., son of Charles Sr. Charles Jr. was the founder and longtime chief of Murphy Oil. Charles Murphy Jr., who died in 2002, established the foundation along with his wife and mother. The foundation, according to the Foundation Center, had assets of $93 million as of April 30, 2008. The foundation focuses on medical and other aid to the poor, particularly children; education, including individual scholarships; and scientific research.

In addition, Polly Murphy Keller Winter, sister of Charles H. Murphy Jr., and her late husband, Christoph Keller Jr., were steadfast supporters of Heifer International. In 2005, her family gave $3.5 million to the nonprofit to build the Polly Murphy & Christoph Keller Jr. Education Center.

7. Harvey and Bernice Jones/The Harvey & Bernice Jones Charitable Trust
Harvey Jones was the founder of Jones Truck Lines in Springdale, the source of the fortune that, once amassed, Jones and his wife, Bernice, worked hard to give away.

The couple established a charitable foundation in 1957, and many of their gifts were anonymous. After Harvey Jones died in 1989, Bernice opened her purse even wider.

She gave $5.5 million to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for what would become the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute. She gave millions of dollars to Arkansas Children's Hospital and to educational institutions across Arkansas, including Ouachita Baptist University at Arkadelphia, home of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Center for Performing Arts and the Harvey Jones Science Center.

The foundation funded the Harvey & Bernice Jones Center for Families, which in 1995 opened in the former Jones Truck Lines headquarters in Springdale. The 235,000-SF center offers educational and recreational activities. Mrs. Jones died in 2003.

8. Willard and Pat Walker/Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation
Willard and Pat Walker began their careers – and their relationship – in retail, meeting at an S.H Kress & Co. store in Coffeyville, Kan. Willard eventually landed a job as manager of a store in Springdale belonging to an up-and-comer, Sam Walton, and the couple's fortune rests on Wal-Mart stock.

Always active in the community of Springdale, the Willards started their foundation in 1986. The foundation has given millions of dollars to educational and health care institutions in addition to many nonprofits.

In 2002, the Walkers gave $6 million to the Arkansas Center for Eye Research, part of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute. The center was renamed the Pat & Willard Walker Eye Research Center. Pat Walker and Bernice Jones were longtime friends. In 2003, the foundation donated $8 million for what became the Willard J. Walker Hall at UA's Sam M. Walton College of Business. In 2004, the foundation gave $21.5 million to UAMS, with $15 million of that going to expand the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute. The new floors are the Pat Walker Tower.

The foundation has also given millions to the University of the Ozarks, John Brown University and Hendrix College.

Although Willard Walker died in 2003, his widow, Pat, and the foundation have built on what is now a family legacy of generosity.



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