Ben Franklin said that the failure to plan is the same as planning to fail. In Arkansas, we’ve come to the conclusion that many of our children are failing academically because our state lacks of a plan for success. For that reason, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) and the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) have committed our resources, time, and expertise to support the development of a comprehensive strategic plan designed to create a system where every Arkansas student will graduate fully prepared for success in college and the workplace.

The ForwARd Initiative represents the shared goal of WRF and WFF to strengthen public education in Arkansas so that all children have the opportunity to succeed in school and life, regardless of race, income level, geography, or any other factor. We believe that strategic investments in public education are critical to the long-term future of Arkansas. Philanthropy is a critical contributor to innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to challenges that prevent our students from learning and achieving their full capacity.

ForwARd has been in the making for a while. For over a decade, WRF and WFF have collaborated and co-invested in strategies that seek to move the needle for our students, public schools, and communities. We are working together on many initiatives – from support for Common Core Standards to enhancing the teacher and educational leadership pipelines in Arkansas.

Now, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education and other stakeholders we’re going to develop a set of ambitious goals and workable strategies that will enhance our P-16 education systems.

Others have done it, but this is no small feat. We welcome ideas on how to proceed or examples of success elsewhere. Let us know how you think Arkansas can move ForwARd on education, and we’ll work together to build a better future in every community.