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The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-06-03

At A Glance

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

225 E. Markham St., Ste. 200

Little Rock, AR United States 72201-1636

Telephone: (501) 376-6854


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Politics

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2013-12-31)

Assets: $147,122,064

Total giving: $3,106,129






Incorporated in 1956 in Arkansas as Rockwin Fund, Inc.; renamed in 1974 - Founded by the late Winthrop Rockefeller, the fourth son of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. From 1967-1971, Winthrop Rockefeller served as the first Republican Governor of Arkansas since 1873. The grantmaker is a signatory to Philanthropy’s Promise, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). By signing on, the grantmaker has committed to allocating the majority of its grantmaking dollars to marginalized communities and at least 25 percent to social justice strategies, such as advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement

Purpose and Activities

From inception, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) has made grants with the explicit mission of improving the lives of Arkansans. Over time, WRF has developed a more targeted approach that focuses resources on three substantive areas: 1) Economic Development; 2) Education; and 3) Economic, Racial, and Social Justice. In 2008, WRF adopted Moving the Needle, a strategic plan that refined the Foundation's mission and has four specific goals: 1) Reduce the number of Arkansas families living below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. This will be achieved with targeted funding of policy advocacy, workforce development, financial literacy, and asset development initiatives; 2) Increase high school and college graduation rates in the state. This will be achieved through funding initiatives to create a culture of high aspiration and educational achievement, reduce the achievement gap, and decrease both dropout rates and levels of post-secondary remediation; 3) Increase educational attainment and economic mobility in select communities in Arkansas. This will be achieved by supporting communities and providing technical assistance and increasing funding for civic engagement, policy advocacy, and community organizing on behalf of people and communities that have the least wealth and opportunity; 4) Show that strategic support and good grantmaking practices can help selected grantees achieve goals within the parameters of their missions. This means WRF grants may include general operating support, multi-year funding commitments, and other recognized best practices that improve the sustainability and effectiveness of grantees.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Build Nonprofit Infrastructure

One of WRF's four Moving the Needle strategic goals is to build grantees' capacity to effectively operate their programs and projects. WRF believes that strategic support of capacity-building can help select grantees to make significant contributions to the achievement of WRF's other Moving the Needle goals. Grants may include core support for items such as rent, utilities, salaries, and support for technical assistance to implement this program. .

Increase Graduation Rates

One of WRF's four Moving the Needle strategic goals is to increase high school, vocational, and college graduation rates in the state. The foundation's strategies include: 1) Funding initiatives that create a culture of high aspiration and educational achievement; 2) Funding initiatives that aim to reduce the achievement gap, dropout rates, and levels of post secondary remediation; 3) Continuing to encourage students, especially students of color, to pursue STEM education and careers; and 4) Supporting campaigns that have specific goals related to creating a culture of high aspiration and educational achievement in Arkansas. .

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made PRIs to community organizations to help stimulate small business and entrepreneurship development. PRIs have capitalized earned income ventures and financed intermediaries.

Reduce Poverty

One of WRF's four Moving the Needle strategic goals is to reduce the number of AR families living below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The foundation's strategies include: 1) Funding policy and advocacy, statewide, and local workforce and asset development initiatives, and direct services that show measurable good practices and constructively criticize practices that need to be improved; and 2) Working with policymakers, business community, funders, nonprofits, and other stakeholders to set targets for reducing poverty in Arkansas. .

Strengthen Communities

One of WRF's four Moving the Needle strategic goals is to increase educational attainment and economic mobility in select communities in Arkansas. The foundation's strategies include: 1) Identifying potential communities where local change initiatives can be supported 2) Concentrating investments and technical assistance in a selected demonstration community (or communities) that will show that comprehensive community change can occur over time 3) Highlighting the positive impact of civic engagement, advocacy, and community organizing in communities across Arkansas; and acknowledging the role that funding from WRF and other funders play in achieving that impact 4) Building public awareness about challenges and solutions in distressed families and communities, with the ultimate goal of increasing Arkansas' willingness to support, contribute to, and demand better outcomes for children and families .

Fields of Interest

  • Civics for youth
  • Community and economic development
  • Early childhood education
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Human rights
  • Public policy
  • Rural development
  • Sustainable development
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Adults
  • Children and youth
  • Dropouts
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Immigrants and migrants
  • Low-income and poor people
  • People of African descent
  • People of Latin American descent
  • Students
  • Working poor
  • Young adults

Financial Data

Year ended 2013-12-31

Assets: $147,122,064 (market value)

Gifts received: $89,000

Expenditures: $7,466,114

Total giving: $3,106,129

Qualifying distributions: $5,427,176