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Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture Receives $1.28 Million from Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Feb. 2, 2004 — The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture Project has received its largest grant to date — $1.28 million from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. The Project's goal is to create a comprehensive resource on Arkansas' people, places, and past. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas is a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System and is one of the few state encyclopedias developed by a library system.

“We have been overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and support of Arkansans, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is helping us take a big step toward our goal of producing the definitive resource on our state's rich history and culture,” Tom W. Dillard, curator of the Butler Center and Encyclopedia editor-in-chief, said. “This grant provides a large portion of the funds needed to produce the web-based version of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.”

The grant money will be paid over seven years and will be used for website construction, a portion of administrative and editorial staff salaries, author stipends for major entries, staff travel around the state to gather materials, and ongoing evaluation of the impact of the Encyclopedia. It provides approximately 70 percent of the funding needed for the initial phase of the Project.

“The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation's support will help us build the infrastructure and feedback mechanisms we need to produce the encyclopedia and ensure its usefulness to end users,” Dillard said. “We are still seeking support for the second and third phases of this eight-year project and hope to receive additional funding to expand the content beyond our initial goal of 3,000 entries.”

Ultimately, the Encyclopedia of Arkansas will be produced in three forms: an extensive website edition that will include text entries plus photographs, illustrations, interactive maps, videos and audio clips; an educational CD-ROM geared toward the classroom; and a proposed two-volume print edition. Entry topics will range from those of local and regional interest to those with national and international significance. “We want to include local history from all over the state, including an entry on every town from Abbott to Zion,” Dillard said.

The mission of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas is to promote the study, understanding, and appreciation of Arkansas' heritage by collecting and disseminating information on all aspects of the state's history and culture. “Our mission dovetails perfectly with the work of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to improve the education and quality of life of

Arkansans young and old,” Dillard said. “We are extremely grateful for their support.”

For more information, visit or call (501) 918-3016.


In 1974 the Trustees of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller's Estate endowed the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to continue the work of The Rockwin Fund. Governor Rockefeller set up The Rockwin Fund in 1954 and, on an annual basis from 1956 until his death in 1973, funded projects and programs he believed were important to improving the quality of life in Arkansas. The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation whose mission is to improve the lives of Arkansans by funding programs and projects that improve education; economic development; and economic, racial and social justice. During the past 28 years the Foundation has awarded over $62 million in grants.

Additional information about the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation can be found on its website,

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