Central High Supporters Form Nonprofit To Help School

Supporters and alumni of Little Rock's Central High School have formed a nonprofit to support the school, the Tiger Foundation.

Members of the foundation plan a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday on the front steps of the school to announce the formation of the organization.

"We are a 501(c) nonprofit, public charity," said Julie Keller, foundation secretary. "We were created specifically to assist with four big areas of interest: academics, the arts, citizenship and athletics."

The nonprofit made its focus broad, Keller said, "because there are lots of different kinds of needs at the school. One year, we might be interested in one thing. One year, we might be interested in another thing. We wanted to keep our mission statement broad."

"We have already raised a little money to do a few things, but we're just now kicking off," she said.

Keller said that the foundation has no official connection to Central or to the Little Rock School District.

The foundation will have a 21-member board once a final seat is filled, Keller said. The members started meeting in December.

In addition to Keller, the foundation's officers are Clarke Tucker, chairman; Bob Bomar, president; and Joffrey Clark, treasurer.

Keller said the Tiger Foundation is the first nonprofit devoted solely to Central High. "What there have been, and still are, are lots of different booster clubs," she said, including a couple of football organizations. "There wasn't kind of a stand-alone operation."

The foundation isn't trying to take the place of the booster clubs and others supporting the school "but we're just hoping to do a broader variety of things, maybe raise a little more money and also be able to do gifts like bequests," she said.

"It's been amazing to me as a non-alum how many people love that school," said Keller, whose husband, Christoph Keller III, and daughter graduated from Central. Christoph Keller serves on the boards of Murphy USA Inc., the company's retail segment that is being spun off as a separate company this year, and Deltic Timber Corp.

The board also includes Keith Richardson, president of the Little Rock Central High Alumni Association, and Nancy Rousseau, the school's principal, among others.

Those interested in donating can mail gifts to Joffrey Clark, treasurer, the Tiger Foundation, care of Regions Insurance, 1500 Riverfront Drive, Little Rock, AR 72202.