The Jones Center Receives a $250,000 Grant from the Walmart Foundation for Scholarships, Youth Programs, and Recreational Support

March 13, 2015

SPRINGDALE, Ark.  (March 13, 2015, – The Walmart Foundation presented The Jones Center with a check for $250,000 in support during a special ceremony on Friday, March 13th in The Jones Center’s lobby.

This major gift will help The Jones Center to continue to offer its important programs and services to the Northwest Arkansas region.  

The $250,000 grant will support a number of new and established youth programs at The Jones Center including the Center’s year-round and summer youth programs.  For the seventh year, a summer camp for elementary school-aged children, with The Jones Center’s collaborative partner, Camp War Eagle, will begin in June.  We anticipate serving 1,000 children over the summer.  In addition to the Walmart Foundation, other support for the camp comes from the Walton Family Foundation, the General Mills Foundation, COX Communications, Tyson Foods and the Kawneer Alcoa Foundation.  

The funding from the Walmart Foundation will also go to support the growing membership scholarship program for individuals and families.  The Jones Center introduced several levels of memberships in 2012 to provide value to frequent users.  Currently there are nearly 900 people receiving scholarships.  Adult memberships start at $60 per year.  In addition to membership scholarship program, a portion of the grant will help non-profit organizations secure meeting space in The Jones Center.  Two examples are Special Olympics and the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Northwest Arkansas hold regular events at the Center.  Ed Clifford, CEO of The Jones Trust and The Jones Center, said,  “The Jones Center is an integral part of the Springdale community infrastructure and a cultural bridge for all of Northwest Arkansas, and this important support from the Walmart Foundation helps ensure that it continues to be a positive force for many years to come.”

In addition, the Walmart grant will support the recreational facilities at The Jones Center.   Unmatched in the region, The Jones Center facility includes two indoor year-round swimming pools and the region’s only indoor ice rink.  In 2014, the year-round ice arena attracted 46,000 skaters and spectators, nearly 60,000 worked out in the gymnasium and fitness center, and 51,000 visitors swam in the pools.   

Exercise is key to reducing obesity and Type II Diabetes, issues that have been identified as significant challenges for the NWA region; the fitness opportunities at The Jones Center are key resources to help decrease the prevalence of these health concerns.

“We’re proud to support The Jones Center. Our funding will provide affordable access to the Center’s many programs and help families live better here in Northwest Arkansas,” said Karen Parker from the Walmart Foundation. “Whether it’s the recreation facilities or the after school programs, youth and families in our area rely on the Center to provide a safe, fun environment for learning and development.” 

Heavily used by the general public, the recreational amenities are also used to host a number of elementary and middle school field trips from Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.   In addition, pools are used by a number of organizations including the Razorback Aquatic Club, Masters Swim Club, Springdale High School and Har-ber High School swim teams, and Northwest Health.  The ice rink is used by the Ozark Figure Skating Club Association, Ozark Figure Skating Club, Northwest Arkansas Hockey Association, Ozark Hockey League, the University of Arkansas Ice Hockey Club team and the Curling Club.

“We are so grateful to the Walmart Foundation and our other major foundation and corporate supporters,” said Kelly Kemp-McLintock, Chief Advancement Officer for The Jones Center. “The Walmart Foundation’s generous giving over the years has enabled us to continue core programming for children and their families, and to sustain founder Bernice Jones’ vision 20 years ago of a community center helping improve Quality of Life to the region.  The Jones Center holds a unique position in the community as it is one of the few places in the region where everyone, no matter their cultural background or socioeconomic level, truly feels safe, welcome and comfortable.”

Other major funding partners include: the Walton Family Foundation, the Endeavor Foundation, Tyson Family Foundation, the Walker Family Charitable Foundation, George’s Inc., and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. 

About The Jones Center

The Jones Center is a one-of-a-kind 220,000 square foot facility that provides multi-generational recreational, youth, education and meeting space opportunities to an estimated one million visitors annually.  The Jones Center opened in 1995 as a legacy gift from local philanthropist Bernice Jones.  We’re now in our 20th anniversary year. 

About Philanthropy at Walmart 

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving which includes improving Quality of Life.  To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.