by James Gordon
Posted 7/3/2006 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
The combined annual revenue of the state's 20 largest nonprofits vaulted just above the $1 billion mark this year, more than double last year's total of $456.3 million.
The combined total assets for the top 20 nonprofits also rose by 28 percent, up to $2.85 billion from $2.22 billion last year.
The nonprofits on the list are ranked according to total assets as reported on the Form 990 that each organization most recently filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS permits a one-year extension to file a Form 990.
The list does not include hospitals or private universities, which are ranked in other lists published each year by Arkansas Business.
The dramatic increases are mostly attributable to the vast wealth and unceasing generosity of the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame. The Walton Family Foundation of Bentonville tops this year's list with $608.7 million in total assets. The foundation reported an unprecedented $506.7 million in revenue for 2004, more than twice its total assets for 2003.
Most of the influx of revenue came from nine trusts created by Helen Walton, the widow of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, and administered by their children: Rob Walton, Jim Walton, Alice Walton and John Walton, who died in a plane crash a year ago. The foundation's stated mission is to reform the nation's primary and secondary educational system through the support of public charter school initiatives and improvements to the traditional district school systems.
With as much as they have, the foundations affiliated with the Waltons are able to outgive any other Arkansas nonprofit by more than $100 million. The Walton Family Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation, also headquartered in Bentonville, ranked first and second in annual giving for 2003 on a list compiled by the Foundation Center. Together, the two gave more than the combined total charity of next 48 most generous Arkansas foundations.
The Wal-Mart Foundation, which disseminates its charity through local Wal-Mart stores, doesn't appear on Arkansas Business' list because its assets do not exceed $30 million.
Next to the Walton Family Foundation, the two nonprofits with the largest growth were Heifer International of Little Rock and the Ross Foundation of Arkadelphia.
Heifer's costs held steady while it enjoyed a 22 percent spike in contributions. At the end of the year, Heifer's assets were up almost 50 percent, propelling the organization from 13th to eighth place on the list.
The Ross Foundation vaulted itself onto the list and up to the 16th spot with a more than $16 million influx of revenue. The bulk of that sum — more than $14 million — represents the remaining assets of the estate of Jane Ross, who started the foundation before her death in 1999. The foundation funds its annual $500,000 grant program through proceeds from its timber holdings. Private foundations are required by the IRS to donate 5 percent of their assets to charity unless those assets are themselves charitable. The Ross Founda-tion is exempt from that requirement because its lands are open to the public.
The University of Arkansas Founda-tion Inc. of Fayetteville, which ranked as the largest nonprofit in the state on last year's list, increased its revenue by 39 percent and its total assets by 21 percent. The foundation gave out more than $66 million in grants for 2004.
Last year's second-largest nonprofit, the University of Arkansas Fayetteville Campus Foundation, had steady revenue, almost all of which came from securities holdings. The foundation's assets increased by 6 percent.
All but three of the organizations on this year's list increased their assets by at least 4 percent. Winrock International, the George Donaghey Foundation and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation reported lower assets this year than the previous year.
Winrock's revenue did rise by 12 percent. However, the outflow for the Little Rock organization actually outpaced its revenue by about 18 percent, more in keeping with the idea of a not-for-profit organization. The assets of other foundations associated with the late Winthrop Rockefeller, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Trust, rose by about 4 percent.
The assets of the George Donaghey Foundation of Little Rock dropped by roughly 33 percent, while its revenue still rose by about 3 percent. In July of 2004, the foundation sold its 196,000-SF Donaghey Plaza to the state government for roughly $42 million. The foundation currently operates without an office or full-time staff.
Finally, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation of Bentonville experienced a 93 percent drop in income. In 2003, the foundation had unusually high annual revenue due to the sale of about $271 million in securities for a net gain of $60 million.
Clickhere for a look at Arkansas foundations' total giving for 2003.