That’s a Lot of Turkeys: $15M from Tyson for a New Hospital

Right now, in Springdale, Arkansas, having a seriously ill child requires a one-and-a-half-hour drive north to Joplin, Missouri. That might sound reasonable—Arkansas isn’t New Jersey, after all. But Benton county, in Northwest Arkansas, is the second-most populous county in the state, comparable to Oneida county, New York (home of Syracuse) and Marin county, California. Walmart has its corporate headquarters in nearby Bentonville, and Tyson Foods is headquartered right in Springdale.

This isn’t the middle of nowhere. So it makes sense that Tyson Foods would want to step up with an ambitious new give to speed construction of the new Arkansas Children’s Northwest hospital.

Tyson Foods is a strongly faith-based company, employing 128 chaplains (including Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim faiths) and noteworthy for its record providing disaster relief to hard-hit communities nearby. A 100,000 pounds of food traveled south from Tyson after the Gulf Oil spill of 2010, and a year later, the company donated almost as much to help Joplin, Missouri in the aftermath of the tornado. They’ve contributed infrastructural grants, too, including support for educational arts programs at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, a grant to build a Future Farmers of America Building for the Louisa County Fairgrounds in Columbus Junction, Iowa, and support for the New Holland Recreation Center in New Holland, Pennsylvania. But $15 million for a hospital tower is a new leaf for the company.

“A children’s hospital in Northwest Arkansas has been a dream of this community for more than a decade,” said Barbara Tyson, a member of Tyson Foods’ board of directors. “We are honored to be a part of this historic project.”

The Tyson Family Tower at Arkansas Children’s Northwest will be an important feature of the new facility, including 233,613 square feet of patient beds, an emergency care facility, diagnostic services and exam rooms.

“At Tyson Foods, we value each and every shareholder, customer and team member,” said Donnie Smith. “This investment in pediatric healthcare is a reflection of that commitment, as our team members and their families will benefit directly from having Arkansas Children’s Northwest right here in Northwest Arkansas.”