by Gwen Moritz
Posted 7/2/2007 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
Click here to get a spreadsheet version of the list.
The largest nonprofit organizations in Arkansas -- primarily grant-making foundations -- generally saw their total assets increase in the most recently reported fiscal years.
In some cases, those numbers are a year and a half old, as many nonprofits won't file their 2006 calendar year reports with the Internal Revenue Service until the deadline for extensions in August. Others end their fiscal years in mid-year, so their IRS 990 forms for the year that ended in 2006 are readily available.
The wealthiest nonprofit in Arkansas remains the Walton Family Foundation in Bentonville, which had assets of more than $890 million at the end of 2005. That was up from $608.9 million a year earlier. The foundation established by the family of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and supported by Wal-Mart stock supports various education reform efforts.
The Wal-Mart Foundation, also based in Bentonville, is not among the 25 largest in the state when ranked by assets ($19.74 million at the end of the fiscal year on Jan. 31, 2006). However, its revenue that year of $147.3 million was second only to the Walton Foundation, and its 3,200-page 990 form lists the thousands of small grants the foundation made while increasing its assets by less than $1 million.
The William J. Clinton Foundation of Little Rock, which operates the Clinton Presidential Library as well as various worldwide initiatives, moved from No. 6 by assets in 2004 to No. 5 in 2005.
The 25 foundations on the list are among more than 2,321 reporting charitable nonprofits in the state as of 2004, according to statistics compiled by the National Council of Nonprofit Associations and Arkansas Coalition for Excellence. ACE reported that 271 foundations had more than $2.3 billion in assets as of 2004 and made almost $290 million in grants.
Charitable giving in the United States hit a record high of $295.02 billion in 2006, according to Giving USA 2007.
Overall giving grew by 4.2 percent (1 percent adjusted for inflation) from the revised figure of $283.05 billion in 2005.
Despite concerns about a decrease in contributions in 2006 because of disaster relief campaigns in previous years, giving held up very well.
"It is impressive that giving continued to rise in 2006, especially following the unprecedented levels of disaster giving in 2005," Richard T. Jolly, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation, said in a news release.
If disaster gifts, primarily for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, are excluded from the 2005 total, giving in 2006 looks even stronger, rising 6.6 percent (3.2 percent after inflation). Although the large gifts make headlines, they represent only about 1.3 percent of total giving, said George C. Ruotolo Jr., chairman of Giving Institute. "About 65 percent of households with incomes lower than $100,000 give to charity," he said.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals said 2006 was the strongest fundraising year since it started its survey in 2001, with 69 percent of all organizations raising more money in 2006 than in 2005, a record.
Giving from individuals, which continued to account for an overwhelming majority of all contributions (75.6 percent), increased by 4.4 percent to reach an estimated $222.89 billion. The next-biggest source of contributions was foundations, which granted $36.40 billion, an increase of 12.6 percent from 2005 and represented 12.4 percent of total giving in 2006.
Charitable bequests fell by 2.1 percent from the revised 2005 figure of $23.4 billion to $22.91 billion in 2006.
Corporate giving actually fell by 7.6 percent to $12.72 billion, or 4.3 percent of the total. The decline is blamed on the increased giving by corporations in 2005 for disaster relief.
If 2005 corporate disaster gifts had been excluded, corporate giving would have increased by 1.5 percent in 2006.
Nonprofits on the Web
Donors can learn more about nonprofits and how they rate by logging onto the Web sites of various charity watchdog groups. The top sites include the American Institute of Philanthropy's www.charitywatch.org, the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance site ( www.give.org), Charity Navigator ( http://www.charitynavigator.org ) and Guide Star ( www.guidestar.org ).