What We're Learning

Increase Prosperity

Legislative Task Force Identifies Opportunities to Reduce Poverty

The Arkansas Poverty Task Force issues policy recommendations and benchmark goals to reduce poverty in our state.

Ripe for Reform: The Case for Change in Arkansas

Arkansas stands out as a place of hope and progress in the South, advancing policies that build a better future for children, families, and communities.

Why Arkansas? – Our Policy Climate

The people and places of Arkansas are working hard to build a stronger state through progressive public policy.

Finding New Voices: Making the Way Forward Together

Nonprofits in Springdale, Arkansas partner together to provide services for the community’s growing immigrant population.

Taskforce Identifies Opportunities to Reduce Poverty in Arkansas

This report by the Arkansas Legislative Taskforce on Reducing Poverty and Promoting Economic Opportunity identifies strategies to reduce poverty in the state by half in ten years. 


A Profile of Immigrants in Arkansas 2013

This three-volume report commissioned by WRF analyzes key demographic trends and the economic impact of immigrants and the Marshallese population in Arkansas. A Profile of Immigrants in Arkansas 2013 shows that immigrants represent a small but growing part of Arkansas’s population and are having a positive impact on the state.


Southern Bancorp: Revitalizing the Rural South

As the first in a series of “Partners in Progress” publications by WRF, this report explores the evolution of Southern Bancorp’s innovative rural community development model and its progress in rebuilding distressed communities in rural Arkansas and Mississippi communities.

Increase Educational Attainment

Connecting the Dots for Common Core Standards

With WRF support, the Arkansas Department of Education launched a campaign about the transition to the Common Core Standards that will help better prepare Arkansas students for college and careers.

Raising Arkansas's Readers: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Watch this program to learn what our state must do to achieve reading proficiency for ALL Arkansas children by the end of third grade.

Heroes of Hope – Achieving the Dream

By encouraging community colleges to use a data-driven approach to improve student success, Achieving the Dream is helping move the needle on education attainment.

Marginalized Males Workforce & Education Consortium

The African American Male Initiative at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock seeks to increase college graduation rates for men of color through mentoring and support services.

Heroes of Hope – Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund

The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund provides critical support to low-income single parents who have made the decision to continue their education.

Collaboration Around Grade-Level Reading

The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (AR-GLR) is a partnership of nonprofits, parents, educators, business leaders, and policymakers to ensure all Arkansas students read proficiently by the end of third grade. This monograph lifts up the statewide call to action, successes, and lessons learned from AR-GLR since it launched in 2011.  


State of Education Report & Summary

This report is one of several data sources ForwARd Arkansas will use to develop its comprehensive plan to improve education in our state. Paired with input from Arkansans through an online survey, meetings, and advocacy group outreach, this report will provide a strong foundation to advance education in Arkansas. 


Moving the Needle Impact Brief: Marginalized Males Workforce Education Consortium

WRF’s commitment to boys and men of color is creating a seamless pipeline of support for African American, Latino, and low-income males from communities to college campuses in Arkansas. This impact brief examines WRF’s support of the Marginalized Males Workforce Education Consortium.


Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: A Call to Action

This report by the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading explains the importance of third grade reading, shows how Arkansas performs on indicators of third grade reading proficiency, and issues a call to action for achieving the Campaign’s goal.


Opportunity to Learn Campaign - Stopping Out-of-School Suspensions

The guide by the national Opportunity to Learn Campaign provides advocates and policymakers with recommendations for ending the ineffective and discriminatory practice of out-of-school suspensions.


Increasing the Competitiveness of the Arkansas Workforce for a Knowledge-Based Economy

Supported in part by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and WRF, this report describes specific actions that the state should consider if Arkansas is to increase its college graduation rate ranking.


Positive Outcomes: The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund

The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund helps break the poverty cycle. Capturing the post-graduation experience of more than 50 recipients of ASPSF financial aid, mentoring, and other support, this study indicates that education is the key to defeating poverty in Arkansas.


Arkansas School of the 21st Century

Since 2001, WRF has funded the Arkansas School of the 21st Century initiative which has had a major impact on early childhood education across the state in the 40 districts and 200 schools in Arkansas where the strategy has been implemented.

Strengthen Communities

Change in Action: North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative

With support from WRF and the City of Jonesboro, the North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative addresses neighborhood issues and builds resident support for community change in north Jonesboro.

Building Capacity for Change in the Delta

Economic and community development builds capacity in small rural towns. WRF grantee Houseaboutit and the City of Altheimer collaborate to move the needle on poverty. 

Delta Dreams

This documentary tells the story of Helena-West Helena, a struggling rural Arkansas Delta community. Delta Dreams shares the community’s plan for revitalization with the help of Southern Bancorp through a resident-driven community development process. 

North Joneseboro Neighborhood Initiative

The North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative seeks to advance community engagement and improve the quality of life for all residents. 

The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service Center on Community Philanthropy's Scholar Compendiums

The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service Center on Community Philanthropy's Scholars in Residence program includes researchers, practitioners, and senior executives who have demonstrated exemplary contributions in the field of community philanthropy. Participating scholars write essays on community philanthropy, which are compiled in compendiums that serve as best practice reference guides for empowering residents to positively transform their communities.  


The Story of Pine Bluff 20/20

The small city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas joined together to spark community revitalization through a resident-driven campaign. Hundreds of concerned citizens spoke out at forums and committed to action. This monograph on Pine Bluff 20/20 tells the story of this revitalization initiative, its challenges and lessons.


As the South Goes: Philanthropy and Social Justice in the US South

There are a growing number of foundations that are committed to addressing the stark inequities in the South. This report from Grantmakers for Southern Progress reflects on how to advance stronger communication and collaboration among funders to support social justice in Southern communities.


Moving the Needle Impact Brief: North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative

WRF’s investments in select communities in Arkansas are building local capacity for comprehensive community change. This impact brief examines WRF’s support of the North Jonesboro Neighborhood Initiative to help improve the quality of life in this community.


Moving the Needle Impact Brief: Rural Community Alliance

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation’s investment helps Arkansans work together to find sustainable strategies to improve their communities. This impact brief examines WRF’s support of the Rural Community Alliance, a statewide organization working in rural Arkansas counties on community revitalization, youth development, and education equity.

Build the Nonprofit Infrastructure

Advocating for Community Awareness

WRF support of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Rural Community Alliance transformed these nonprofits into Arkansas’s leading advocates for equitable education and justice. 

FORGE Builds Thriving Small Businesses

Through grants and program-related investments from WRF, FORGE is able to help small business in rural northwest Arkansas communities through microloans and technical assistance.

Arkansas as a Model for Social Change - Panel Discussion

Arkansas has advanced community and family friendly policies in recent years with major improvements in education, children's health care, while maintaining a balanced budget. 

An Investment in the Future of our Youth

WRF incubates emerging nonprofits like the McGehee-Desha Alumni Community Center that have the potential to uplift their community. 

Why is Arkansas a Place of Change? - Five Factors that Make Arkansas a Leader in Policy Change

As a small rural state with limited resources, Arkansas is an unlikely area to lead the region, and in some cases the country, in policy change. Learn about the five factors that make Arkansas a place of change. 


Southern Bancorp - Partners in Progress

As the first in a series of “Partners in Progress” publications by WRF, this report details the lessons learned through the longstanding grantee relationship between WRF and Southern Bancorp. 


Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing, and Civic Engagement in the Gulf/Midsouth Region

Every dollar invested in advocacy brings $114 in investments for communities, according to this study by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). The study analyzes how Southern states are mobilizing citizens and promoting policies designed to expand opportunity and justice. 


Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families – Partners in Progress

As part of the “Partners in Progress" series, this report explores the challenges and lessons learned during the evolution of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families into an anchor Arkansas institution that is critical to moving the needle in Arkansas. 


Marginalized Males Workforce & Education Consortium

WRF facilitates the exchange of ideas and best practices among educators, nonprofit leaders, and other stakeholders who are committed to increasing college retention and graduation rates for boys and men of color.

Elaine Race Riot - Part 1

This engaging documentary tells the story of the 1919 race riot in Elaine, Arkansas. Through this important early chapter in the Civil Rights Movement, African American farmers in the Delta region experienced great tragedy. 

Elaine Race Riot - Part 2

The second part of this documentary on the Elaine Race Riot describes the fight for social justice by African American farmers in the Delta who ultimately found vindication from the US Supreme Court.

A Policy for Changing the Status Quo – City of Gould

A community organizes to provide the voices of citizens in community government. Community members collaborate to build a better community in a Delta town. 

Light Bulbs Come on at Academy for Nonprofit Leaders

The Latino and Marshallese Nonprofit Leadership Academy gives new leaders skills in nonprofit management.


Justice Workers Fight Silent Epidemic of Wage Theft

The Northwest Arkansas Workers’ Justice Center helps low-wage workers overcome unethical labor practices through organizing, advocacy, and education on workers’ rights.


Right to Dream: Immigration Reform and America’s Future

Dr. William Schwab of the University of Arkansas examines the arguments for and against the DREAM Act in "Right to Dream" featuring the stories of undocumented students living in Arkansas. 


New Data on Immigrants in Rural Communities

Increasingly, rural America’s new neighbors are Latino. New data from the American Community Survey finds that one in three new residents in rural Arkansas communities are Latino. 


The Arkansas Rockefeller: A Leader in Philanthropy

A pioneer of philanthropy in Arkansas, the legacy of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller continues to create and nurture a wide range of cultural, economic, and community organizations. 

Life Interrupted: Reunion and Remembrance in Arkansas

This part of a documentary supported by WRF examines the injustice of Japanese Americans at two war relocation camps in Arkansas during World War II.

The Arkansas Rockefeller: A Desire for Change

Governor Rockefeller’s ambitious vision of dignity, equity, education, and prosperity brought a change for the better in Arkansas. 

A Profile of Immigrants in Arkansas 2007

This 2007 report discusses key demographic trends, economic factors, and public policy issues associated with immigrants in Arkansas. The first volume provides a demographic overview of the state’s foreign-born population, explores the composition of the immigrant labor force, and describes trends in the state’s population of children in immigrant families. The second volume describes immigrants’ purchasing power, tax contributions, fiscal costs, and indirect economic impacts through spin-off jobs.


Water Issues in Arkansas: An Unfinished Story

Water is one of Arkansas’s most important but little understood economic and natural resources. Discover several tools and policy options that can help Arkansas avert crisis and manage the use of the state’s water. 


Entrepreneurial Arkansas: Connecting the Dots

The Connecting the Dots study examines entrepreneurship as a viable component of an economic development strategy for Arkansas. This study provided the foundation for much of WRF’s work in economic development over the last decade.