MTN: A Decade of Difference


Dear Friends,

Ten years ago I was asked to serve as the leader of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. The first thing I did was tour the state, visit dozens of communities, and talk to hundreds of individuals about their aspirations for our state. Those conversations created the framework for the Moving the Needle (MTN) strategic plan. Next year, we will sunset that plan.

Many of you know that we've spent the past year RAP-ping: Reflecting on and Analyzing our impact throughout MTN to Plan for what comes next. Moving the Needle was the catalyst for a decade of difference in Arkansas. Looking back, we’ve been humbled by our partners’ courage, commitment, and collaborative spirit, which has shifted policy and positively transformed the future for families and communities across Arkansas.

Over the next year we will craft a new strategic plan that will guide the Foundation’s investments over the next five to ten years. What does it mean to "craft a new strategic plan"? That is just our fancy way of saying we are going to figure out how the Foundation will continue to pursue the mission we’ve had for nearly 45 years: To improve the lives of all Arkansans. While planning we will continue to gather input and feedback from our partners to help inform our Board of Directors as they lead us through this process.

Progress we have made in partnership with you will not stop just because we need time to think. We know that to do planning right will require the bulk of our time and attention over the next year. Although we will not provide many grants between now and September 2018, we will maintain momentum toward achieving the Foundation's mission.

Here are a few additional ways we will continue to make a difference in Arkansas:

  • Tell the story we share with our partners about our impact and lessons learned over the past decade of difference

  • Respond to and create opportunities for national and regional funders to support our partners and the common goals we have for the state of Arkansas

  • Find ways, large and small, to support the growth and sustainability of nonprofits across the state

  • Support progress toward achieving the goals of our key initiatives, the Arkansas Campaign for Grade Level Reading and Expect More Arkansas

  • Build and strengthen our partnership with the Walton Family Foundation, the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas State Board of Education, and ForwARd Arkansas

And we will also continue to learn and serve alongside you. For nearly 45 years, the Foundation has been the embodiment of Governor Rockefeller's proclamation that "there is no place for poverty in Arkansas." We are excited about what we will accomplish in partnership with you under the Foundation's new strategic direction. And while the future is unclear, we are certain that we will continue making progress toward realizing Governor Rockefeller’s vision a reality together.

We invite you to join us on this important journey. To learn more:

  • See how our partners, Board, and staff responded when asked, “What will Arkansas look like in the future if each of us do our part to improve the lives of all Arkansans?” during WRF’s 2017 Biennial Grantee and Stakeholder Convening

  • Visit our blog to find out what we discover as we shape the Foundation’s strategic direction

  • Follow our hashtag, #WRFraps, on Facebook and Twitter


Sherece Y. West-Scantlebury, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation