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

Cabe, raised in St. Louis, came to the state in 1940 to marry Harold Cabe, owner of Gurdon Lumber Co.

In 1973, Lucy donated money that helped launch the Arkansas Opera Theatre in Little Rock, which eventually evolved into the Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts. In 1974, Harold sold the business to International Paper Co., and the family moved to Little Rock, where Lucy became even more involved in the arts scene. Cabe gave to the Arkansas Arts Center, Ballet Arkansas, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and the music program at UALR. Cabe died in 2005.

15. The Frank Lyon Family
Frank Lyon Sr. moved from being a traveling salesman to become the founder of the Frank Lyon Co., an appliance wholesaler. His business interests grew to include investments in commercial buildings in downtown Little Rock, a controlling interest in Twin City Bank and ownership of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Arkansas and the 13,000-acre Wingmead Farms in Prairie County. His son, Frank Lyon Jr., went on to become CEO of the bottling company.

In the late 1980s, the family began to dismantle parts of its business empire, selling off pieces for hefty prices. One example: The bottling company, which had grown into a regional operation, went for a reported $250 million in 1989. In 1997, Forbes listed Frank Jr. among the 400 richest people in the United States, with holdings in various enterprises estimated at $600 million.

In 1989, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lyon Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lyon Jr. gave $5.25 million to what was then Arkansas College in Batesville. It was one of several multimillion-dollar gifts to the college, which in 1994 was renamed Lyon College.

Frank Lyon Sr. died in 1998, but Frank Jr. and his wife, Jane, have continued to give not only to the college but to other causes as well, including $2.5 million in 2007 to UAMS to create a longevity clinic at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and to support the school's geriatrics department.    

16. Windgate Charitable Foundation Inc./Hutcheson Family
Like several of the philanthropists and their foundations listed here, the Windgate Foundation's assets rest on Wal-Mart stock.

William L. Hutcheson founded the Hutcheson Shoe Co. in Fort Smith in 1923. Wal-Mart bought the company in 1978, and its president, Bill Hutcheson Jr., became a Wal-Mart VP. His mother, Dorothea, founded the Windgate Foundation in 1993 with a gift of Wal-Mart stock.

The foundation, which intentionally keeps a low profile, focuses its giving on education. In 2005, it announced it was giving $10 million to create a Department for Education Reform at the College of Education & Health Professions at the UA.

Hutcheson family members comprise the foundation's board.

17. Bill and Margaret Clark
Bill Clark, founder of CDI Contractors, and his wife, Margaret, gave publicly and they gave privately. Mostly, perhaps, they gave of themselves.

When Bill Clark died of cancer in 2007, Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc., said: "It's a loss for his family, for sure, but it's a real loss for the community and the state. I thought the world of Bill Clark. He was always very generous with his time and money and any cause that he got behind. Leaders like that are hard to come by."



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