Change in Arkansas's History


Governor Rockefeller truly made a difference in Arkansas. Starting with his inauguration in 1967, he helped carry out the integration of Arkansas’s schools, raised teacher pay, integrated the Arkansas State Police, enacted Arkansas’s first minimum wage, and tackled sweeping prison reforms–all just a fraction of what he ultimately achieved in two terms as governor. In his inauguration speech he stated, “Without the faith and confidence of the people, government can accomplish nothing.” He dedicated much of his time as Governor to building that faith and confidence.


For more than 40 years since his death, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has continued Governor Rockefeller’s legacy to improve the lives of all Arkansans in three inter-related areas: education, economic development, and economic, racial, and social justice. We continue the Governor’s legacy through strategic grantmaking, partnerships, and advocacy that helps close the economic and educational gaps that leave too many Arkansas families in persistent poverty. We have awarded over $150 million in grants and program-related investments over the life of the Foundation. 

Governor Rockefeller envisioned a thriving and prosperous Arkansas that benefits all Arkansans. His vision united Arkansans across racial, political, and geographic lines around the big idea that “There is no place for poverty in Arkansas.” With that as a goal, the Foundation invests for the long term in efforts that promise sustained and positive impact for Arkansas. And like Governor Rockefeller, we champion policies, programs, and organizations that increase prosperity in our state. With faith, confidence, and vision, we believe the needle will move from poverty to prosperity for all Arkansans.

Click here to read a summary of Governor Rockefeller's accomplishments and legacy published in the Arkansas Times in honor of his inauguration 50 years ago.