From our foundation in 1985, Winrock has been deeply committed to work not just around the globe, but here in our backyard as well. From our work with small farmers in the Mid-South to conservation programs that reduce water pollution to our portfolio of entrepreneurial development work, Winrock has been a recognized leader in the United States. Founded in 1996, Winrock’s American Carbon Registry is tackling climate change through the development of science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. Meanwhile, Wallace Center programs are improving access to healthy, locally sourced food through by strengthening regional supply chains.
Though the bulk of Winrock’s programs are outside the United States, we are committed to improving lives in our home state of Arkansas by boosting the state’s competitiveness in the increasingly important high-tech economy. To do that, we work with technology inventors and entrepreneurs to smooth the often difficult journey from raw idea or insight to viable commercial enterprise. Innovate Arkansas helps scale Arkansas ventures through three key focuses: Acceleration, Capital, and Talent. Innovate Arkansas has helped more than 140 clients add 600+ jobs to the Arkansas economy while raising $265 million in investments, and generating $226 million in revenue.
As the home base for Walmart and Tyson Foods, Northwest Arkansas has done a remarkable job attracting and retaining large corporations. But creating an environment that lures innovative technology entrepreneurs and the high-paying jobs they create requires something a bit different. Building on the success of Innovate Arkansas, the NWA Venture team, in partnership with the Walton Family Foundation and the Northwest Arkansas Council, brings together a community of engineers, artists and innovators to build a region that draws and keeps entrepreneurs from around the globe.
The Pasture Project helps farmers become more profitable, resilient and environmentally sound by rebuilding their soils. Focused in the Midwestern United States, this project works directly with farmers to emphasize the powerful positive impact of regularly rotating livestock from one plot of land to another. At the same time, the project builds and strengthens the community of grazing supporters and addresses policy issues that challenge the expansion of smart grazing and livestock management practices. Well-managed livestock can address many critical environmental issues, while also generating additional farm income. They’re also a tool for providing new opportunities for young farmers and the rural communities that rely on their success. The mission is to spread these benefits on over 200,000 acres over the next 10 years.
Budding entrepreneurs in the Mississippi River Delta region often lack resources crucial to business success — a deficit that discourages job creation, stunts economic growth and perpetuates persistent poverty. To address these issues, the Delta I-Fund program, in partnership with the Delta Regional Authority, trains cohorts of entrepreneurs in successful startup practices, connects them with local business mentors and provides them with capital sourced from private investors. Bolstered by knowledge and funding, these businesspeople are better prepared to bring their innovative ideas to life.
Farms are businesses, which means they respond to economic signals. That basic idea is behind this program’s approach to reduce the damage to water quality caused by agricultural run-off in the West Branch Milwaukee River watershed. Winrock works with water treatment plant owners, conservation groups and others in the area to devise pay-for-performance incentives that encourage farmers to implement practices that reduce pollution.
Workforce skills training is critical for dislocated and unemployed workers to access new employment in high-demand, growth industries. As part of a collaborative effort led by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, Winrock helps the state’s long-term unemployed and dislocated workers obtain the training, placement and other services they need to land a new job.
Communities that most need healthy and affordable food options often have the fewest choices. The Wallace Center at Winrock International collaborates with vulnerable communities to establish value chains that make nutritious and local food available to everyone. This happens through training, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and by fostering collaboration between organizations committed to delivering the benefits of good food to all.
Navigating workforce skills training and job opportunities isn’t always intuitive. Which is why Winrock case managers provide assistance to disadvantaged job seekers in Arkansas as they pursue much-needed training and employment. In cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services — which received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor — Winrock case managers provide one-on-one services to ensure that those looking for work receive training, resume writing assistance and other services they need to secure and retain a job.
Healthy soils are the basis for agricultural prosperity. Yet economic constraints encourage many Midwestern farmers to eschew soil enhancing practices like crop rotation and the cultivation of cover crops and instead grow only row crops like corn and soy. This program works with farmers in Iowa and Minnesota to increase the use of environmentally beneficial practices by promoting alternatives, including livestock grazing, that diversify revenue and improve soil health.
America’s small businesses have always been an engine for innovation and job creation. In Winrock’s home state of Arkansas, women-owned small businesses have been growing at a rate 1.5 times faster than the national average. Through the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC), Winrock is helping fuel that trend by providing thousands of hours of training and the sort of access to markets and capital that entrepreneurs need to grow their companies.
Increased globalization and economic downturns have buffeted rural communities throughout Arkansas. Decisions about how to respond and rebuild a rural community’s economic base often fall to municipal leaders, many of whom lack the staff, knowledge and resources to develop effective economic development strategies. Through group training and one-on-one mentoring, this program helps municipal leaders develop road maps for increased quality of place that attracts families and businesses and creates sustainable economies.
Healthy and well-managed coastal areas provide local populations with everything from tasty seafood to protection from damaging storm surges. As part of the National Science Foundation’s Coastal SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability) program, this project analyzes and measures how utilizing best land management practices impacts the water quality in three watersheds in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
Although many parts of Arkansas have prospered thanks to increased economic development, rural areas of the state are still plagued by high levels of unemployment and poverty. Because municipalities and other locally based organizations are on the front lines of addressing these problems, it’s vital their leaders have the knowledge to develop effective strategies to build strong local economies. Winrock provides training to help leaders identify an area’s needs and develop proven approaches to train workers, attract businesses and take advantage of unique local assets.
Delighting consumers isn’t the only key to the success of regional and local food hubs; farmers also have to follow the USDA’s food safety regulations. Technology offers the possibility of an effective, efficient and hassle-free way to ensure compliance. The Wallace Center at Winrock International is working with growers, USDA and technology company FoodLogiQ to pilot and test an information technology solution that will streamline regulatory compliance and solidify consumer confidence in the safety of local and regional food.
Erosion and deteriorating water quality are just two of the negative consequences when fertilizer used to grow crops makes its way into lakes and streams. This collaboration between Winrock, Michigan State University, conservation groups and farmers establishes financial incentives to encourage farmers to improve their environmental performance in ways that simultaneously protect their livelihoods and Lake Erie.
Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.
Pay for performance (or P4P) isn’t just a way to incentivize sales professionals. Winrock has spearheaded approaches that financially reward farmers for reducing the amount of phosphorous that makes its way into rivers and lakes. Though phosphorous in fertilizer and manure helps crops grow, its runoff from fields also creates harmful dead zones and causes algae blooms in waterways. P4P lets farmers decide the best ways to limit water pollution.
The Wallace Center supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century food system that is healthier for people, the environment and the economy. The demand for locally produced food is strong, growing and often outstrips the ability of small farmers to keep up. Through research, education and technical assistance, The Wallace Center at Winrock International helps groups of local producers (known as food hubs) work together to reach and serve large and sustainable markets.
The Innovation Hub is a collaborative and diverse community of all ages, interests, and skill levels. We have worked hard to create an accessible space that is open to anyone who wants to Learn and Build with us. We believe that the challenges of the 21st-century economy require us to do everything we can to develop, retain, and attract talent — which has always been our state’s greatest asset. That demands a collaborative community approach that exposes everyone to creative possibilities and offers ready access to the information, resources, and instruction they need to bring their ideas to fruition.
We have created an open environment with tools, technology, equipment, and support, along with the opportunity to Learn and Build through formal and informal programs. The result is an acceleration of innovation that leads to new products, new businesses, and new works of art, as well as an enhanced appreciation for what it possible when we provide the pathways for every individual to realize his or her potential.
Mitigating the impact of climate change requires tapping the power of markets. Winrock propels that approach by facilitating carbon offset trading and developing scientifically rigorous methodologies to measure and verify reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The local food movement is improving the health, economies and environment of communities around the country. But for the benefits of healthy and sustainably grown food to reach more Americans, changes throughout the food chain are required. The Wallace Center’s National Good Food Network helps build regional food hubs that allow all participants in the supply chain to share the knowledge and resources necessary to meet the burgeoning demand for local food.
Success in the global economy starts at the local level. Only when communities have access to capital, business knowledge, trained employees and other resources can companies launch and grow. This program establishes business development incubators across Arkansas that provides rural entrepreneurs the information and training they need to succeed.
Economic signals and the ingenuity of farmers are a powerful combination when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. This program seeks to slash the amount of pollutants that enter the air and water as a result of the activities of Maryland farmers. This includes conducting research into credits farmers can earn and sell for reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
Consumer demand for sustainably grown local food is an unprecedented opportunity for family farmers. To take full advantage of the opportunity, small farmers are increasingly working with food hubs — enterprises that utilize cooperative aggregation, distribution and marketing strategies. The Wallace Center at Winrock International works to develop and strengthen food hubs that help small farmers gain entry into large markets they could never access on their own and build a strong culture of food safety.
The need for affordable and healthy food is especially acute in Mississippi, a state that routinely leads the nation in obesity and poverty rates. The Wallace Center at Winrock International collaborates with communities, farmers, wholesale distributors and others to build local food value chains that will make healthy and fresh food readily available in the state’s schools, hospitals and stores.
Healthy wetlands have the potential to store large amounts of carbon. Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) is developing a methodology that will encourage wetlands restoration in California by allowing those who undertake conservation projects to generate offsets that can be sold on the state’s carbon market.
Ensuring that large tracts of forest remain undeveloped is a powerful tool to address climate change. Resisting unavoidable development pressure is made easier when conservation makes economic sense. Winrock provided technical assistance that helped the development company Green Assets Inc. qualify for California Air Resources Board Offset Credits and protect nearly 4,000 acres of South Carolina habitat.
Skills retraining is essential to sustainable employment for dislocated and long-term unemployed workers. The Job-Driven National Emergency Grant is a collaborative partnership that helps disadvantaged Arkansans gain the skills and referrals they need to land positions in high-growth industries like medical billing and coding. Winrock case managers based at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith work with prospective employees to locate training options, write resumes, apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
The availability of fresh and healthy local food often depends on the success of farmers markets. For markets to reach their potential individual vendors and market organizers need training and financial resources to boost sales and awareness. This program provides new and emerging farmers markets in Arkansas with instruction on topics ranging from fundraising to marketing and promotion to vendor recruitment and retention.
Many Native American tribes lack the proper water and wastewater infrastructure to meet their basic needs. Winrock is working with tribes in Oklahoma to provide engineering assistance and instruction to identify long-term solutions to essential water needs. The program also includes hands-on training and mentorship in how to apply for grants and other funding packages to pay for these important projects.
A recent expansion of the Southwest Steel Processing plant in Northeast Arkansas provides an opportunity to improve the area’s economy well beyond the factory walls. This program seeks to create jobs by recruiting and assisting companies that can offer essential services to Southwest Steel Processing. Establishing a robust roster of local suppliers encourages the investment and job creation needed to improve the region’s quality of life.
Technology and innovation will create the 21st century’s best and highest-paying jobs. To help its home state reap the benefits of technology-driven economic development, Winrock’s Innovate Arkansas program is a critical resource for the state’s entrepreneurs. Through one-on-one client assistance specific to a company’s needs, we work to transform promising ideas and inventions into sustainable businesses.
American consumers increasingly recognize that locally grown food is not only fresh and delicious, but also provides communities important environmental and economic benefits. The Wallace Center at Winrock International is collaborating with farmers, wholesalers, distributors and other partners in Maryland to meet the state’s burgeoning demand for local food through food hubs. By delivering collective marketing, packaging, product aggregation and other activities, food hubs improve the financial viability of producers and increase the availability of nutritious food.
Puerto Rico depends on agriculture for food security and the health of its rural economies. But farming activities are also a major source of nitrous oxide emissions and water pollution caused by agricultural run-off. This program creates a pathway for farmers to participate in environmental markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality.
Increasing awareness that local food is nutritious and good for both the environment and the economy has propelled the growth of regional food economies. In order to encourage more investment in regional food systems and sustainable agriculture, it’s important to showcase the benefits to local economies and communities. This program seeks to build awareness by assisting The Wallace Center at Winrock International in expanding the reach of its National Good Food Network by developing a regional food economies working group and fellows program, and by supporting a national communications strategy that underscores the economic benefits of fostering local food systems.
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