Type to search

Former McDonald’s Franchiser Beverly Morrow

Business Corporate Featured

Former McDonald’s Franchiser Beverly Morrow


In 2021, Little Rock native Beverly Morrow was named 2021 Woman of the Year in Philanthropy by the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. She is now a part of the Arkansas Black Philanthropy Collaborative, a group of Black community leaders that came together in 2018 to build a stronger philanthropic network across the state. 

Today, Beverly serves on several local and state boards, including United Way of Southeast Arkansas, Simmons First National Bank, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Arkansas Community Foundation, The Committee of Professional Conduct, WFA, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Bryant. She also serves on the advisory boards of the Arkansas Regional Hub and The Reynolds Institute on Aging and the boards of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Arkansas Children’s Foundation.

 Beverly was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and attended Erasmus Hall High School, where she fell in love with math and science. After graduating in the top 5% of her class, she attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There, she graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1973 and met and married her husband, Curtis. Beverly worked in the oil industry for several years until she and Curtis had their first two children, Achilia and Kiisha. While pregnant with her third child, Chane, Beverly completed her master’s degree in chemical engineering from Rutgers University. 

In 1987, Beverly and Curtis’s fourth child, Asha, arrived and they purchased their first McDonald’s in Pine Bluff. Having never lived in the South, Beverly said she was a little apprehensive but felt that God was sending her there as a way to serve. As the owner/operator of multiple McDonald’s for 30+ years, Beverly was hands-on until she retired in 2016. She cared deeply for her employees and encouraged and motivated them to do their best. 

In 2021, Beverly became the chair of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Board of Directors, becoming the first African American person to serve in that role. Beverly enjoys interacting with and mentoring young people, as it keeps her on her toes, keeps her growing and helps her stay young. Beverly’s children and all the young people with whom she interacts are her delight. Beverly and Curtis are both Christians and active Saint Mark Baptist Church members.

What is your philosophy on philanthropy?

Philanthropy over the years has changed because years ago it used to be about how much a person gave monetarily, which is still very important, but now it is more about results and impact. I think that is really where I fit in; I value my time and look for projects and organizations that are having an impact in the areas that I am really interested in, which is (supporting) children, Black people and women, and elderly people, which I am in all of those groups or have someone that is those groups. 

So, I go across the board and also found that (philanthropy) is really a great learning experience for me; you think you are giving but a lot of time you are receiving through a process that is really rewarding to me. It is really rewarding when you do certain things and it had the impact that you wanted and people are doing better because of the things that you are a part of. A lot of it is just because of the grace of God, it could be you. 

What is your favorite charity in Arkansas, and why?

“(Laughing) I have a long list of them. Well, really it is my son (Little Rock Hip Hip Impresario and Community Activist “Chane” Big Piph Morrow) because he does a lot of service projects through the Urban League, the Innovation Hub, and his FAM project. Obviously, he’s my son, but it is a good project that reaches out to underserved kids and teaches them leadership skills, critical thinking, and shows them how to have impact by being involved in the community. 

He started that project three or four years ago, and to hear the participants’ testimonies is really, really touching. That is one of my favorites, but I have a lot of them.”

Why is philanthropy important to the Morrow family?

 “When I was growing up, you saw your parents doing certain things and you see the benefits and the reward of it. And now, our (children) see Curtis and I do certain things for someone else, and they were raised like that. Even when they were young and had birthday parties and someone came in without a gift, they should be just as excited. It is not about a gift; it is about people coming and celebrating your day. We taught them that they have everything that they need, but not everything that they want. There are so many people that don’t have as much as you, so we need to learn to be grateful 

So going on that philosophy, and being raised in a family of givers, I was just taught that is what you are supposed to do. I also have to tell you a short story about my oldest daughter (Achilia). We went to South Africa and visited the shantytowns. Achilia was still in college and getting ready for medical school, and during out visit there I turned around and she had a long line of kids with her, and she was literally cleaning their nose(s).

 I teach them to not to ever, ever complain about what they don’t have. Those are lessons that you teach them and there may be some things that they want, but they are blessed in everything they have.”

If you had a billion dollars to giveaway, what would you do to make sure that it impacted many generations beyond your life?

 “First, you’ve got to give your 10% to the church, and they will do what they are supposed to do. Then, I would try to identify organizations and projects that have positive impact and results. There are so many organizations that you can contribute to, but I think what we have to look at now is organizations and programs that have results, and then take those programs and duplicate them in areas around the state. There are not as many things going out to the rural areas, southeast Arkansas, and the Delta. We are losing so much potential there because they are not given the opportunities.

 One of my favorite things we are trying to do at The Children’s Hospital is reaching outside the walls and making sure that all kids have access to good healthcare. Then I thought about the billion dollars and so many other things, and I don’t think that is enough either. Whenever you start something, you want to make sure it is sustainable.”

How has giving and being a philanthropist changed your life?

 “It’s funny, I don’t really look at myself as a philanthropist. It is just what I do, how I was taught, and I have told many people this quote many times from the Bible, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ When we had McDonald’s and because of the employees that you usually see come from underserved communities, I think it was just a blessing that (Curtis and I) poured into them and at the same time, they gave to us. It was a way for us to be examples; we are not perfect, and we’ve made plenty of mistakes, but we were trying to give them encouragement. 

Looking back, many of them are now entrepreneurs, some have gone into politics, and we’ve seen so many levels of success. How you live and how you respond – that is your living witness.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *