Wealth Created by Wal-Mart Supports Massive Philanthropic Efforts in Arkansas

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Jul. 2, 2012 12:00 am  

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which Sam Walton’s daughter Alice opened in Bentonville on Nov. 11, 2011, represents the single largest philanthropic act made possible by Wal-Mart wealth in Arkansas, but innumerable other gifts have transformed medical, education and athletic institutions across the state.

• In July 2001, the Walker foundation gives $3 million for a cardiovascular center at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.

• In August 2001, the Walker foundation gives $3 million to the UA for a new health center.

• In 2001, the Walkers donate $1.1 million to UAMS to endow a chair in orthopedic surgery.

• In 2001, Wal-Mart employees donate $1 million to build a $4.6 million training center at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Shewmaker and his family also pledge $1 million to the center, named the Shewmaker Center for Workforce Technologies.

• In 2001, the Walton Family Foundation gives $1.3 million to expand the Rogers Activity Center.

• In 2001, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, founded in 1987, donates $1.4 million to the Arkansas Community Foundation in Little Rock.

• In April 2002, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation pledges a $300 million challenge gift to the University of Arkansas. The money allows the university to establish an Honors College and more than doubles the school’s endowment.

• In May 2002, the Walkers pledge $6 million to the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. UAMS announces that it will rename the Arkansas Center for Eye Research within the institute the Pat & Willard Walker Eye Research Center.

• In April 2003, two months after Willard Walker’s death, the Walker family donates $8 million for a graduate school building at the UA’s business college. The building will become the Willard J. Walker Hall.

• In 2003, the Walton Family Foundation gives $2 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation.

• In April 2004, the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation announces a $21.5 million donation to UAMS to go toward its eye institute, Alzheimer’s disease research and the school’s psychiatry program. Much of the money, $15 million, will pay for a five-floor expansion of the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute. The expansion will be called the Pat Walker Tower.

• In April 2004, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announces a gift of $5 million, its largest contribution ever to a hospital, to a fundraising campaign by Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas to build a new medical campus in Rogers.



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