Winthrop Rockefeller’s arrival to Arkansas in 1953 was a major event. That a member of one of the wealthiest families in the world had moved to one of the poorest states in the country was a big deal. The press was understandably curious and asked about his plans. “I’ve got a lot to learn and a whole lot more to do,” the late Governor responded.
True to his word, Rockefeller learned as much as possible about the educational, economic, racial, and social justice challenges in Arkansas. He then set out to use his personal, political, and financial influence to make the state a better place for everyone.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation’s Moving the Needle Strategic Plan extended the Governor’s legacy of “learning” and “doing.” Developed in 2007, the plan was based on dozens of conversations with policymakers, community leaders, business leaders, youth, and national experts on community change. Those conversations, combined with our research on best practices in closing the achievement gap, economic development, and social justice, formed the framework that has guided WRF’s investments
WRF and its partners have been “learning” and “doing” in earnest. We’ve invested in a growing knowledge-based economy that is raising per capita income in the state. Small businesses have better access to the money they need to grow. Young children are getting a stronger academic start and college kids are getting the support they need to succeed. Arkansas communities are showing that their residents have a new vision.
The Foundation is honored that so many have agreed that it is possible to move the needle in Arkansas on education and economic opportunity. Thanks for your continued commitment to moving the needle to prosperity in Arkansas.
Sherece West-Scantlebury, Ph.D.