The Jones Center Announces Close of Endowment Campaign

February 26, 2015 | Press release

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (Thursday, February 26, 2015) – The Jones Trust is pleased to announce the official close of a two-year Endowment Campaign for The Jones Center. A recent generous pledge made by the J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family helped put the organization over the $30 million goal amount needed. The Jones Trust board made the official announcement of the campaign’s successful close at a press conference in The Jones Center’s lobby this morning. The ceremony included special remarks by CEO/President Ed Clifford and Jones Trust board member Archie Schaffer III.

According to Ed Clifford, “The Jones Center is so pleased with the show of support by major donors throughout the Northwest Arkansas region including the Walton Family Foundation, Endeavor, Tyson Family Foundation, George Family, Walker Charitable Foundation, Shaw Family, J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family and many others! The Jones Trust board and staff have worked very hard to expand our regional Quality of Life programs and services, and we are delighted to receive this important endorsement.”

Mrs. Hunt has previously commented, “Springdale has been blessed by the vision of Harvey and Bernice Jones. Our family shares their vision, and is privileged to live and work here. The Jones Center is dedicated to strengthening this community, and helping nurture the individuals and families that call NWA home.” Mrs. Hunt added, “It is with great joy that our family and others will help sustain Harvey and Bernice’s dream of making The Jones Center a place of education, recreation and togetherness for everyone in the region.”

Following the press conference, Jones Trust board member Archie Schaffer III shared his own reflections, “As a member of the board, I want to thank all of the major donors who contributed to the endowment campaign. I know these prominent families go back many years in NWA, and have a wonderful respect for one another. We are thrilled to have these families recognize the significance of The Jones Center’s contribution to the richness and quality of life in Springdale and Northwest Arkansas in this most meaningful way. Bernice Jones would be thrilled to hear this show of support today! It was her wish The Jones Center could go on for years and years, when she couldn’t be here any longer.”

Endowment Campaign
In December 2012, The Jones Trust launched an endowment campaign with the announcement of $20 million in contributions from the Walton Family Foundation and Care Foundation, a fund of Endeavor. These donations served as lead gifts in a $30 million campaign that will benefit the short- and long-term financial goals to sustain The Jones Center.

Endeavor and the Walton Family Foundation each pledged $10 million to the campaign. Endeavor contributed an outright gift of $10 million, while the Walton Family Foundation made available up to $10 million pending the realization of a 1:2 match requiring an additional $10 million to be raised from additional supporters. All campaign gifts and pledges needed to be made by November 15th, 2014 in order to receive the full matching grant opportunity by the Walton Family Foundation. With the campaign now complete, $30 million will be added to the existing endowment bringing the total to nearly $60 million, moving the organization closer towards financial sustainability. The expanded Jones Trust Board has approved a stringent spending policy limiting the organization to a 3.5% draw to ensure finances remain strong and healthy for many years to come.

The Jones Center
Opened in 1995 as a gift to the NWA region from philanthropist Bernice Jones, The Jones Center is a unique recreation and education center located in downtown Springdale. This premier facility is known for its high-quality, low-cost recreation services, innovative youth programming and affordable community meeting/conference space. The facility includes two indoor swimming pools, an indoor ice rink, gymnasium, fitness center, conference center, auditorium/chapel and numerous classrooms.

The Center continues to grow through its strong, collaborative program partnerships. Onsite partners include the region’s premier youth camp, Camp War Eagle, providing after-school and summer day camp programs; the Northwest Arkansas Community College providing core credit classes; Ozark Education providing a pre-school; the Schmieding Foundation providing an after-school program; and the Springdale Public Schools District’s new Innovation School.

Nearly 1 million individual visits are made to The Jones Center each year. In addition, the recreational amenities are also used to host a number of elementary and middle school field trips from Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The Center provides the pool and ice to a variety of regional competitive leagues including the Razorback Aquatic Club, Springdale Public Schools and University of Arkansas Ice Hockey Club as well as for group events such as the Special Olympics. The Jones Center is also currently expanding its recreational & fitness programs, classes and sports leagues & camps.

The Jones Center is a private organization with revenues from daily user fees, memberships, room rental fees, individual donations, corporate sponsorships, naming opportunities, grants and major gifts, and endowment distributions. The facility and campus are owned and managed by the Jones Trust. Other major funding partners include the Walmart Foundation, Tyson Foods, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and Cox Communications. Other corporate sponsors include Unilever, General Mills, Spectrum Brands, Kimberly Clark, Ocean Spray, Arvest Bank, Coca Cola, Cargill, ConAgra, and Harp’s Food Stores.