Grantmaking Guidelines

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation committed to funding movement building, public policy and advocacy, innovation, and systems change strategies that advance economic, educational, social, ethnic, and racial equity for all Arkansans. We want to disrupt the status quo, address the root causes of inequity, and eliminate policy and practice barriers to equity. We want to inspire and support creative, innovative problem solving that makes our state better for everyone. This comprehensive systems change approach may take longer to demonstrate impact, but it has a greater chance of achieving our founder’s vision of a thriving and prosperous Arkansas that benefits all.
AR Equity 2025 Programmatic Framework

It is not enough to just fix outdated policies and broken systems. Where needed, we will work with multiple sectors—public, private, and nonprofit—to create new systems that work for everyone. We believe we will go further together. We will use our tools and resources—grantmaking and capacity building, strategic communications, strategic partnerships, convenings, and program- and mission- related investments—to advance equity in Arkansas. Our goals are:

Advance economic equity: increase the number of Arkansans who earn a living wage or above through quality jobs, increase ownership/entrepreneurship and build generational wealth regardless of background or circumstances.

Advance educational equity: increase the number of Arkansans who are prepared to be successful in postsecondary education and careers regardless of background and circumstances. Support innovative approaches to teacher preparation.

Advance social, ethnic and racial equity: build a movement to create a more equitable and productive Arkansas by eradicating social, ethnic, and racial bias in economic and education systems.

Interested in applying for funding?
Click here to learn more about our Eligibility Requirements.

What We Look for in Our Partners

Commitment to Community

Ideally, partners should have meaningful connections with both grassroots organizations and institutional partners that prioritize opportunities for all Arkansans. These networks should demonstrate commitment to one or more of the following:

  • Reconfigure our economy through equitable policies that enable all Arkansans to earn a living wage or above and to build wealth to sustain themselves, their families, and their communities
  • Transform our education systems, from birth to career, to equitably educate and train all Arkansans and eliminate those parts of the system that produce disparate outcomes
  • Empower a movement that informs, educates, and activates a critical mass of people who are dedicated to the cause of social, ethnic, and racial equity for all Arkansans.

Clear Analysis and Strategies

Partners have clear, promising strategies for moving people and places out of poverty especially through institutional or policy change at the local and state levels. These strategies should flow from an understanding of short-term and long-term challenges and opportunities in their places.

Networks, Alliances, and Resources

We look for goal-oriented, flexible relationships among the nonprofit, public and private sectors to leverage resources and achieve impact. Networks may be formal or informal, short-term or long-term, and structured in a variety of ways.

Long-term Thinking

We are interested in people and organizations that take a long-term view of what is required for people and places to move toward equity, and systems and policy changes that open doors to democratic participation and economic opportunities.

Strategic and Innovative Ideas

We are interested in building critical infrastructure in local communities and statewide. We support catalytic opportunities to make significant change or leverage significant resources that will have lasting impact on the lives of as many people and communities as possible.

Above all, we are open to new thinking about how to address the question of equity in Arkansas. We try new approaches to achieve maximum economic and educational opportunity, systems and policy change, and positive civic engagement outcomes. These ideas and actions must clearly advance economic, educational, social, ethnic, and racial equity in Arkansas.

What We Fund

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General Operating Support
Project Support
Technical Assistance
Program-Related Investments

General operating support is a grant in support of a nonprofit organization’s mission rather than specific projects or programs. General operating support is the working capital nonprofits need to sustain their day-to-day operations. General operating support:

  • Enables nonprofits to build a strong and sustainable infrastructure to provide programs and services that will have the greatest impact. Frees up the time nonprofits normally spend on raising money and reporting, so they can direct their spending where it is needed and focus on running effective programs.
  • Eases fundraising pressures on nonprofit executives, reducing burnout and allowing them to focus on the mission.
  • Fosters innovation and risk-taking by providing nonprofits with resources and bandwidth to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.
  • Reduces the power imbalance between grantmaker and grantee by allowing nonprofits to devise their own solutions based on their vast experience in the community and field. This also signals greater trust between a grantmaker and grantee.

Project support is a grant for a specific intervention, innovation, idea, or project.

Technical assistance is used to strengthen the capacity of WRF partners and mission-aligned nonprofit organizations to advance equity in Arkansas.

From GrantCrafts's Program-related Investing: Skills and Strategies for New PRI Funders:

Program Related Investments (PRI) are investments made by foundations in support of charitable purposes, with the explicit understanding that those investments will earn below market returns, adjusted for risk and mission. Although a PRI is not a grant, it counts toward a foundation’s payout requirement in the year a disbursement is made. WRF’s PRIs include below market loans and loan guarantees, equity investments, loan funds and more.

Click here to learn more about WRF’s current PRI portfolio.