Number of Nonprofits Falls While Assets Rebound

Nearly 20,000 nonprofit organizations located in Arkansas are listed with the online registry, but that number is likely to drop by a few thousand if Arkansas follows a national trend.

(Click here for this week's list of the state's largest nonprofit organizations in a PDF. Click here to obtain a spreadsheet version.)

In exchange for tax-exempt status, nonprofits are required to open their books to the public by way of Internal Revenue Service Form 990. And data released by the IRS on March 22 shows that the number of tax-exempt organizations and charitable trusts dropped 16 percent between 2010 and 2011.

Three-quarters of the nonprofits registered with Guidestar listed net income of less than $100,000 in their most recent 990 forms. But the lag time for peeking into a nonprofit's finances can be considerable: This week's list is ranked by assets declared at the end of the 2010 fiscal year, which for some was nearly two years ago, and it also includes comparative numbers from fiscal 2009.

Some of the nonprofits were victims of the recession, which put a dramatic dent in philanthropic giving. But many were dropped from the roles, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported last week, because they failed to comply with new reporting requirements for small nonprofits enacted by Congress in 2006, despite having years to comply.

Even some of the largest nonprofits had income of less than $100,000 in that year because that line item includes investment returns, which in the depths of the recession were often in the negative numbers.
The most notable negative number among the 25 largest nonprofits in Arkansas was recorded by the University of Arkansas Fayetteville Campus Foundation, which had revenue in fiscal 2010 of negative $12.2 million - which was an improvement over the $19.5 million loss the previous year.

The List
It has been two years since Arkansas Business ranked nonprofit organizations, and the names on the list have remained the same with some jostling for position.
The Walton Family Foundation - as with most things Walton-related - remains dominant, with 2010 assets of $1.28 billion. But that is barely half the assets reported at the end of the 2009 fiscal year, $2.28 billion.

The difference is explained by the "grants and gifts" line item: The Walton Family Foundation gave away almost $1.5 billion in 2010.

The University of Arkansas Foundation Inc. remains at No. 2; the University of Arkansas Fayetteville Campus Foundation stays in third place.

But another Walton fund, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, has moved from No. 12 to No. 4, with 2010 assets of $185.7 million, growing from $77.5 million in 2008 and $180.1 million in 2009.

The fifth-largest nonprofit on the list is the William J. Clinton Foundation, whose assets remained steady at just above $181 million for 2009 and 2010.

Heifer International Inc., arguably the best-known of Arkansas' nonprofits, saw its assets rebound to $156.6 million in 2010, surpassing its level from 2007. Meanwhile, No. 7 Arkansas Community Foundation of Little Rock had assets of $147.4 million in mid-2010, an increase of 23 percent in a single year.