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

The much-loved Clark was instrumental in the $23 million capital campaign to expand the Arkansas Arts Center. The couple also raised money for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the American Heart Association. In addition, Bill and Margaret Clark gave $1 million for an endowed chair of oncology at UAMS. 

18. Joe and Jo Ellen Ford/Scott Ford
The Ford family's money comes from Alltel Corp. and, in 2007, its sale of the company for $27.5 billion to TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners. In 2008, Verizon acquired Alltel for $28.1 billion.

Joe Ford's father-in-law was Hugh Wilbourn, who in 1943 founded what evolved into Alltel and whose daughter, Jo Ellen, Ford married. Joe Ford headed Alltel from 1987 until his retirement in 2002, when son Scott took the helm.

The family has given of both their time and money. In 1999, Alltel and Joe Ford promised to give $1.25 million to the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation to help build the Clinton Presidential Library. Jo Ellen has long been involved with UAMS. In 2000, Dr. Harry Ward, then-chancellor at UAMS, said, "The Center on Aging would not exist without Jo Ellen Ford." In 2007, the elder Fords pledged $1 million to the Arkansas Cancer Research Center at UAMS.

In June 2008, Scott Ford announced he was giving $2.5 million to Arkansas Baptist College to build a residence hall.

19. Richard C. and Gertrude Butler
Richard Butler and his wife, Gertrude "Gertie" Remmel Butler, were both active Little Rock philanthropists and civic leaders, with interests ranging from the United Methodist Church to Heifer International to Arkansas history to horticulture.

Butler, a lawyer and banker, created a trust that on his death in 1999 established a $10 million endowment for the United Methodist Foundation, which he had helped found. Gertie Butler, who died in 2007, gave Heifer International acreage for its new headquarters and $1 million for its planned global village. Richard Butler endowed what became the Richard C. Butler Sr. Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System's Main Library downtown.

20. Doyle W. and JosephineRaye Rogers/Rogers Family
Doyle W. Rogers of Batesville, a banker and real estate developer, his wife, Raye, and their family have given millions to education and health care in Arkansas.

In 2001, Doyle and Raye Rogers gave $1 million to the White River Medical Center in Batesville, seed money for what became the Josephine Raye Rogers Center for Women & Imaging. In 2005, the family pledged $1 million to renovate and expand the gymnasium at Lyon College. That project became the Rogers Health & Physical Education Center.

In 2007, the couple, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Paul Hoover, and their son and daughter-in-law, Doyle "Rog" and Carolyn Rogers, gave $4 million to UAMS. The money went to build the lobby for the expansion of the UAMS Medical Center and to the Arkansas Cancer Research Center.

21. Fred K. Darragh
Fred Darragh was a Little Rock businessman known for his support of education and social justice causes.

He was a friend of Daisy and L.C. Bates, standing with them during the Central High desegregation crisis. Darragh helped found the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and backed the organization financially.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.