The Tyson Family Foundation has pledged $2 million to The Jones Center Endowment Fund. The Jones Center is a unique recreation and education center located in downtown Springdale, Arkansas.
The announcement of the pledge was made at a special presentation in The Jones Center’s main lobby on May 20. The ceremony included special remarks by John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods; Ed Clifford, CEO and president of The Jones Center and Jones Trust; and Susan Barrett, chairwoman of the Jones Trust Board.
“Over the last two decades, the Tyson Family has honored their close personal friendship with Harvey and Bernice Jones by generously supporting operations of The Jones Center,” said Clifford. “At our Big Night gala last November, we were pleased to announce Tyson’s most recent $1 million pledge to support the Center’s annual operations and programs. This year, that support takes on a new meaning and a new level with a significant gift to our endowment campaign, initiated to bring The Jones Center to a position of sustainability for future generations.”
On behalf of the Tyson family, John Tyson remarked: "The Tyson and Jones families were very close for decades. They worked side by side in downtown Springdale for many years to make this community a great place to work and raise families. Bernice Jones’ magnificent gift of The Jones Center plays a major role in continuing that tradition of strengthening our community. Tyson Foods and the Tyson Family have been supportive of The Jones Center since its inception through annual operational gifts. Now, we are delighted to make this endowment gift because it will help insure that the important work and mission of The Jones Center will continue for decades to come. When The Jones Center is vibrant and thriving, it empowers Springdale and all of Northwest Arkansas to continue growing and developing its citizens well into the 21st Century."
Following the check presentation, Barrett commented: “The Tyson Family connection with the work of The Jones Center goes back to the beginning through a deep, personal friendship between the two families. I'm sure that even as Bernice was first formulating her plans, she shared with Don and John what she had in mind, why she felt it was important, and how she hoped that ultimately the community would embrace it and help her in making it sustainable over the long haul. This very meaningful gift from the Tyson Family Foundation reaffirms this longtime friendship, by working together with the community to accomplish great good.”
For the past 18 months, the Jones Trust board has been actively fundraising in order to reach the full endowment campaign goal amount of $30 million, and they fully expect to make additional gift announcements before the end of the year. In addition, for sustainability purposes, the nine person board of regional leaders has approved a strict spending policy limiting the organization to a 3.5 percent draw from the endowment.