Walton Family Foundation Is State's Largest Nonprofit

The Walton Family Foundation easily tops the list of largest nonprofit organizations in Arkansas with nearly $1 billion in assets.

The foundation had $987 million in assets and $137.9 million in revenue for 1999, the most recent year for which tax records were available. The nonprofit supports reform in education with an emphasis on primary and secondary education.

Information for Arkansas Business' first-ever list of nonprofit organizations, ranked by assets, was taken from the organizations' IRS 990 forms for 1999, which were filed in 2000. The Internal Revenue Service permits a one-year extension on filing 990 forms.

The list does not include hospitals and private universities, which are included in other lists Arkansas Business publishes each year.

Another nonprofit organization associated with the Walton Family Foundation, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation Inc., came in third on the list with total assets of $189.2 million.

Nonprofit organizations associated with former Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller also dominated the list. The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation came in at No. 4, with $161.3 million in assets, followed by Winthrop Rockefeller Trust, which was fifth with $105.7 million. Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development was No. 8 with $83.7 million in assets. The three had total assets of $350.7 million.

In fiscal year 1999, The Winthrop Rockefeller Trust gave away $3.9 million, according to its tax records. Its two biggest contributions were to the Winrock International Institute and Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation for $1.6 million and $690,000.

The foundation's purpose is to make grants for economic development, education and economic, racial and social justice, said its president, Sybil Jordan Hampton.

Other awards the Winthrop Rockefeller Trust made were: Arkansas Aviation Historical Society, $675,000; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, $400,000; Arkansas State Parks and Recreation, $380,000; and the National Audubon Society, $150,000.

The Rockefeller Trust and the Rockefeller Foundation are organized differently and don't award grants to the same institutions, Hampton said.

"A charitable trust is governed by a trust instrument which appoints initial trustees ... and provides for orderly selection of future trustees," Hampton said.

The foundation is organized as if it were a corporation.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation was the only organization on the list that showed a negative revenue number. That's because just about all of the foundation's revenue comes from the earnings generated by its investment portfolio, and those investments lost money last year, said Andrea Dobson, the foundation's chief financial and operations officer.

"The year before we grew by about $40 million and last year we gave back $5 [million]," Dobson said.

Two organizations associated with the Heifer Project made the list. The Heifer International Foundation was ninth on the list with $38.7 million in assets and Heifer Project International Inc. was 17th with $12.9 million. The two work together to alleviate hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.

The Heifer International Foundation receives charitable contributions, which it invests for the benefit of Heifer Project International, said April Lobley, an administrative assistant for the foundation.

Lobley said support for HPI's mission has remained strong, despite the downturn in the economy.

"Rather than doing their will and leaving it to just a couple of family members, [donors] can leave it to the children of the world who don't have anything," Lobley said.

Organizations related to higher education also featured prominently on the list.

The University of Arkansas Foundation Inc. was second on the list with $335.2 million in assets. The Razorback Foundation Inc. came in 11th with $37.7 million.

The George W. Donaghey Foundation, which provides funds for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was 12th with $30.8 million.

Also on the list were Westark College Foundation Inc. and Arkansas State University Foundation Inc. The Student Loan Guarantee Foundation of Arkansas also made the list with $10.9 million in assets.