Walton Family Foundation Is State's Richest Nonprofit

(Click here to see the list of the state's nonprofits.)

The state's nonprofit organizations continue to shoulder the burden of a down economy while maintaining their commitments to philanthropy.

Despite an $82 million reduction in assets last fiscal year, the Walton Family Foundation Inc. in Bentonville still reigns supreme on Arkansas Business' list of largest nonprofits.

The foundation had $366.9 million in assets in 2001, the most recent year for which tax records were available. It reported $448.9 million in 2000.

The next four positions are filled by the same organizations as on last year's list — the University of Arkansas Foundation of Fayetteville, Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation Inc. of Bentonville, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation in Little Rock and the CommunityCare Foundation Inc. of Springdale.

The list of the largest nonprofits ranks statewide organizations whose assets are above $20 million, based on information gleaned from data reported on the Internal Revenue Service Form 990 for either the 2001 or 2002 year. The IRS permits a one-year extension on filing 990 forms.

The list doesn't include hospitals and private universities, which are ranked in other lists Arkansas Business publishes each year.

Perhaps the biggest upset on this year's list is the disappearance of the Razorback Foundation of Fayetteville. It was ranked No. 10 last year with $60.1 million, based on its IRS 990 form from fiscal 1999 — the most recent available at the time that list was compiled. In fiscal 2000, the foundation reported $30.2 million. On its 2001 IRS form, then, it reported having $18.8 million in assets, pushing it below the list's $20 million cutoff.

Chuck Dicus, president of the foundation, declined to explain the drop in assets, other than saying the foundation "made a major investment" in improvements to the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Its 990, however, was only slightly more specific. It indicates that nearly $20 million was used as "payments to and on behalf of the University of Arkansas athletic department for scholarships, facilities, construction and renovation and operational funding."

Dicus isn't worried about the decline in assets nor how the foundation will recoup.

"It will most definitely be a gradual thing trying to build back the reserves we had. Our purpose is to support the athletic program any way we can," he said.

Likewise, the Fayetteville-based foundation saw its income fall from $36.6 million in fiscal 1999 to $13.1 million in fiscal 2001 tax return.

Another extreme position change belongs to the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation in Little Rock, whose assets rose from $20.9 million on last year's list to nearly $41.4 million. This raises the foundation from 20th (out of 20) on last year's list to 12th this year. The group's income also rose from $10.1 million to $25.6 million over the year. All this, of course, comes as the Clinton Presidential Library and Park is under construction in downtown Little Rock.

Organizations bearing former Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller's name boast a total of $335.8 million in assets, down from $340.3 million the previous year.

The largest, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, had $143 million in assets as listed on its Form 990 from 2001, but also listed a negative $12.4 million income. This is comparable to the negative $21.9 million income that it reported in 2000.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Trust rose from seventh to sixth with $108.9 in assets, up from $107.5 million in fiscal 2000, and its income increased from $4.3 million to $5.03 million during the same time. Winrock International reported $83.6 million in 2001, bringing it to seventh on the list from No. 8 last year. But its numbers are actually down from the previous year, when it reported $89.6 million in assets and $55.8 million income.

The Schmieding Foundation of Springdale fell from 14th to last on this year's list with just over $22 million in assets, down from $32.1 million in 2001. But the foundation reported a negative $5.8 million income in 2002, which is well below the $24.5 million it reported in 2001.

L.H. Schmieding, foundation president, couldn't be reached last week for comment.