OVERVIEW: This funder supports a broad range of issues in a majority of the counties in Arkansas. Most of these grants come from donor-directed funds, but the foundation itself also awards grants to local health, education, and economic well-being groups.
FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, economic well-being, quality of life in Arkansas
IP TAKE: Start by learning about ACF’s Giving Tree Program: this is the stronghold for local philanthropy. Youth and children have been a big focus lately.
PROFILE: The Arkansas Community Foundation (ACF) is based in Little Rock, Arkansas, and has been around since 1976. In total, it has given out over $120 million in grants. It works with a network of affiliate offices that each have their own local staff and advisory board. There are 27 affiliate offices today.
ACF makes grants based on county data about charitable needs in the state. It publishes a quarterly magazine called ENGAGE that tells stories about local initiatives. The broad topics of interest with this community are health, education, economic well-being, and quality of life throughout the state of Arkansas. Community development, human services, and the arts also see some ACF grants.
Most of the grants here are awarded through donor-directed funds, and these funds don’t typically accept applications. In fact, about $13.4 million of a total of $14 million in grants came from donor-directed funds in a recent year.
However, there are also foundation-directed grants available through a competitive application process. Several opportunities each year are opened for this purpose. The Giving Tree Grant program supports many different causes in the state.
Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation grants go to minority projects, Arkansas Delta Endowment for Building Community grants are aimed at the 26 Delta Counties, and the Bridge Fund supports education and libraries.
ACF works with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation on a program for summer reading for pre-K through third graders. And ACF’s Youth Advisory Councils get Arkansas high school students involved in philanthropy and their communities.
Giving Tree Grants are awarded in about 21 Arkansas counties, and the affiliates determine the funding range for each service area. The application period for these grants typically falls in January and February. About 4.5 percent of foundation grants have been going to this local philanthropy program lately.
ArkansasGives is a 12-hour online giving event that the foundation hosts annually in April. In a recent year the event raised over $4 million to support around 600 nonprofits. The funder also offers conference room space for nonprofits at the Virginia Bailey Conference Center for a rate of $75 for Union Station tenants and $200 for non-Union Station tenants.