Arkansas Grant Resources

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Arkansas is known for having the only diamond mine in the U.S., and the only one anywhere in the world that lets you keep whatever sparkling stones you find. The 8,174 nonprofits in Arkansas sparkle like diamonds as well, and deserve of every dollar in support they receive to improve communities in need. Looking for more funding? Fortunately, grants are available from the 422 private and public foundations based here, from quite a few corporations, and from various Arkansas state and federal branches of government.

“How to find them?” you might ask. Look right here! To get started, check the Arkansas Funding Sources below for a list of the top giving foundations and corporations. To learn how to find more potential funders, or equally important, figure out who to approach and how, we invite you to participate in our Grantsmanship Training Program. It’s a fast-paced and inspiring 5-day workshop, packed with the skills-training and guidance you need to make your grant proposals stand high above the rest. Applying for grants is very competitive, and high-caliber training often makes the difference.

Here are three more steps for preparing outstanding proposals!

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Questions? Contact: Gail Brauner: (213) 482-9860 X1




The Arkansas Community Foundation, based in the state capital of Little Rock, works across Arkansas to “partner with Arkansans to build better communities.” Check their grant-making programs to see if they are a fit for your nonprofit.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, inspired by the motto "Learning and Doing," works to increase prosperity in Arkansas and improve the lives of Arkansans in three inter-related areas: education, economic development, and economic, racial and social justice.

Fort Smith, Arkansas’s second largest city, is home to the Deegan Foundation which aims to make grants that have “ripple effects” generating benefits “beyond the primary grantee.”

The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, located in Fayetteville, is focused on charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational in Arkansas and neighboring states.

Springdale is home to the Endeavor Foundation, focused on the people of Northwest Arkansas, promoting collaborative efforts and “big dreams” to “create lasting impact.”

Siloam Springs is headquarters for the Windgate Foundation focused on K-12 education and the arts, including art history and programs of promise for youth.

The Walton Family Foundation, headquartered in Bentonville, does not accept unsolcited proposals, but does offer support for Public Charter Start-up Grants and Home Region Grants focused on Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

Interested in getting the inside scoop on funders’ up-to-the-minute grant-making priorities? Arkansas is one of only 8 states that have formed a chapter of the Asset Funders Network (AFN), “a national membership organization focused on building economic well-being for all.” They bring together funders, nonprofit organizations and other subject-matter experts to discuss the toughest issues we all face in local regions, as well as across the country. Recent topics include healthcare, education, immigration, hunger, poverty, aging and homelessness.

The Arkansas chapter offers many of its webinars and downloads for free to Arkansas’ nonprofit organizations, as well as providing the Bank on Arkansas program. When writing successful grant proposals, it helps to know the latest and best thinking on current issues.

The following are useful links for Arkansas grantseekers. Please let us know about others we should include so that this resource gets better and better. Thanks!

Government offices:
Arkansas Senator John Boozman -
(501) 372-7153      (202) 224-4843

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton -
(479) 751-0879 Springdale, AR          (202) 224-2353

Arkansas Governor Mr. Asa Hutchinson -
(501) 682-2345

Other helpful organizations:

Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance dedicated to providing resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities to strengthen nonprofits in Arkansas.

United Way in Arkansas From Blytheville to Hot Springs, and across the state, United Way provides 20 local offices throughout Arkansas dedicated to improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.

Association of Fundraising Professionals, Arkansas Chapter connects colleagues to engage in creative thinking, network with new friends and achieve great results in their work.

Literacy Action of Central Arkansas builds stronger communities by educating adults and families with low literacy to address issues of workforce development, health care, parenting, and poverty.

Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) provides lively, accessible, expert, user-friendly information and research resources for the community’s economic and social development.

Arkansas Access to Justice works to ensure that all Arkansans get the protections of the law.

Central Arkansas Development Council works to alleviate poverty, helping vulnerable populations build strong communities in Arkansas through community action.

Arkansas Humanities Council promotes understanding, appreciation, and use of the humanities in Arkansas, using a competitive process to award support for projects.

Arkansas Arts Council advances literary, performing and visual arts by providing services and funding for programming that encourages standards of professional excellence.

Thea Foundation advances the arts throughout Arkansas.

Arkansas Dept. of Emergency Management provides grant funding for all things related to emergencies: 911, CERT, fire, preservation, etc.

Arkansas Dept. of Human Services (ADHS) offers a variety of program to help children and families thrive, even under trying circumstances

ADHS’ Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.

VolunteerAR works to increase meaningful volunteer engagement by promoting projects that address the critical needs of Arkansans.


A Half-Century of the Five Percent Rule

In the philanthropic Dark Ages (before 1969) there was no rule that said foundations had to make any grants with their money. Congress more or less closed that loophole with the Tax Reform Act of ’69. There were complications and ambiguities, but in 1976 the “five percent payout requirement” was set in stone. It’s been the default standard for grant-making foundations ever since.

It’s About More Than Money

Writing proposals and winning grants are important elements in the ecosystem of philanthropy. It’s easy to see the world through that lens – find the money, ask for the money, get and spend the money, rinse and repeat – but it might be helpful to think about the process in a different, more holistic way.

Balancing Data & Drama

Nonprofits are often urged to “use storytelling” to make the case for support. There’s nothing, they say, like a compelling story to drive home the nature of the problem or the opportunity for action. At the same time, foundations ask specific questions and make specific requests for data to make the case: how many, how fast, what metrics, how to monitor and measure and plot your impact.

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