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 June 2004, H. Lee Scott, at that time president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, and his wife, Linda, give $1.25 million to Mercy Health System for the new campus.

• In December 2004, Don Soderquist and his wife, JoAnn, donate $1 million to Mercy Health System.

• In 2004, the Walker foundation gives $2 million to build the Circle of Life Hospice & Palliative Care Complex at Har-Ber Meadows in Springdale. It becomes the Willard & Pat Walker Family Center.

• In May 2005, Alice Walton pays an estimated $35 million for Asher B. Durand’s painting “Kindred Spirits,” and the Walton Family Foundation announces that the piece will be displayed in an art museum planned for Bentonville. A few weeks later, Walton officially announces plans for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, described as a $50 million project projected to open in 2009. The value of the building and its artwork eventually soar past the $1.2 billion mark and Crystal Bridges opens in November 2011.

• In 2005, the Walton Family Foundation donates $19 million to Crystal Bridges, $8.4 million to the Children’s Educational Opportunity Foundation America of Bentonville, a nonprofit that works for school choice and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.

• On Sept. 16, 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Wal-Mart Stores so far had made $17 million in cash donations to victims of one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Meanwhile, the Walton Family Foundation had made $15 million in cash contributions, while customers of Wal-Mart had given $6.5 million. (See story, Page 21.)

• In 2006 alone, the Walton Family Foundation donates $11.9 million to the University of the Ozarks, $11.8 million to John Brown University and $11.6 million to Harding University to fund the Walton International Scholarship Program for students from Latin America. (See story, Page 30.) The foundation also gives$10 million to Crystal Bridges; $8 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund; $6.9 million to the Children’s Educational Opportunity Foundation America; $6 million to Camp War Eagle in Benton County; $1.8 million to the Arkansas Department of Education; and $1.1 million to the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation.

• In 2006 and 2007, the Wal-Mart Foundation gives a total of $8 million to Northwest Arkansas Community College. In 2007, Jack Shewmaker and family give $2 million to NWACC.

• In 2007, the Walton Family Foundation gives $60 million to Crystal Bridges.

• In 2008, the Walton Family Foundation contributes $1.25 million to the Harvey & Bernice Jones Center for Families.

• In 2009, the Walton Family Foundation donates $1.5 million to the UCA Foundation.

• In 2010, the Walton Family Foundation gives $10.9 million to the Nature Conservancy of Arkansas and almost $15 million to Southern Bancorp of Arkadelphia, a rural development bank.

 

 

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