Arkansas gives

Non­prof­its ben­e­fit from day of giv­ing

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Her Fea­ture - By Grace Brown

Last month, Arkansans all across the state banded to­gether and showed ev­ery­one just how gen­er­ous they can be dur­ing Arkansas Gives, the 12-hour fundraiser pre­sented by the Arkansas Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

Fifty-two non­prof­its par­tic­i­pated in Gar­land and Mont­gomery coun­ties, rais­ing just over $500,000 in merely 10 hours. Or­ga­ni­za­tions like these typ­i­cally re­ceive the bulk of their do­na­tions to­ward the end of the year, so the goal of Arkansas Gives is to cre­ate another op­por­tu­nity to give out­side of that.

Carol Scholp, with the Mor­ris Foun­da­tion, said Gar­land and Mont­gomery coun­ties did es­pe­cially well this year, even slightly sur­pass­ing the $500,000 goal they had set.

“There was a lot of pre­plan­ning on Dorothy Mor­ris’ part that took place, but it was well worth it. For the most part, ev­ery­thing ran very smoothly that day,” said Scholp.

The Arkansas School for Math­e­mat­ics, Sci­ences, and the Arts led lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and ranked sec­ond among small non­prof­its in the state in the Arkansas Gives on­line giv­ing event spon­sored by the Arkansas Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion on April 6. The school re­ceived $51,310 from 123 do­na­tions, fifth-most in the small non­profit cat­e­gory.

Vicki Hinz, ASMSA direc­tor of in­sti­tu­tional ad­vance­ment, said lead gifts from the fam­ily of Dan Fred­in­burg, a 1999 alum­nus who be­came the head of pri­vacy for Google X, the re­search and de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­ity for Google, and later died in an avalanche on Mount Ever­est in 2015, and ASMSA Foun­da­tion Fund Board Am­bas­sador Dorothy Mor­ris, pres­i­dent of the Mor­ris Foun­da­tion, helped spur mem­bers of the school’s “com­mu­nity of learn­ing” to con­trib­ute dur­ing the 12-hour cam­paign.

Our Prom­ise Can­cer Re­sources also par­tic­i­pated in the event, rais­ing just over $20,000. This pro­gram works to pro­vide di­rect fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to can­cer pa­tients re­ceiv­ing treat­ment in Gar­land County.

Pa­tients who use Our Prom­ise’s re­sources come from 21 dif­fer­ent coun­ties across the state. They come here to re­ceive the state-ofthe-art can­cer treat­ments avail­able in Hot Springs.

The re­source cen­ter is open to any­one deal­ing with can­cer, who finds them­selves stuck in a hard place, be it emo­tion­ally or fi­nan­cially. “We’re nondis­crim­i­na­tory, just like can­cer,” said co-founder and Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Stacey Pierce.

It pro­vides can­cer pa­tients with es­sen­tial re­sources that oth­er­wise would not be avail­able — its big­gest ser­vice is the gas card as­sis­tance pro­gram.

Our Prom­ise plans to use the money raised from the event to help fund a new re­source cen­ter. This one will be much larger, and have rooms where pa­tients can spend the night when they travel to re­ceive treat­ment. It will also of­fer re­sources to help pa­tients with fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tions, nu­tri­tional ed­u­ca­tion, and emo­tional sup­port among many other spe­cial ameni­ties.

Non­prof­its ben­e­fit­ing a vast spec­trum of the com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pated in the event. Lo­cal arts non­profit Low Key Arts had its best year on record, ac­cord­ing to in­terim Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Dave Hill.

Low Key raised $8,000 this year, de­spite hav­ing held four other fundrais­ers pro­mot­ing var­i­ous events shortly be­fore Arkansas Gives.

“We had al­ready gone to the well, so to speak, a few times, so I had ad­justed my ex­pec­ta­tions for this event,” said Hill. For­tu­nately, it far ex­ceeded his ex­pec­ta­tions.

“I was re­ally heart­ened by the fact that peo­ple con­tinue to give to Low Key again, and again,” he said.

Hill said they have no way of know­ing which meth­ods used to drum up sup­port worked, but he at­tributes some of the suc­cess to the use of its KUHS ra­dio sta­tion.

In the weeks sur­round­ing Arkansas Gives, Low Key Arts en­gaged in self-pro­mo­tion us­ing the so­lar-pow­ered ra­dio sta­tion, and on the day of Arkansas Gives, made it avail­able to other non­prof­its in the area. It al­lowed ev­ery­one to have a short time slot on air, where they could share a bit about their non­profit.

Low Key plans to use the funds raised by the event to in­stall an air con­di­tion­ing unit in its build­ing on Ravine Street, to open up more avail­abil­ity dur­ing the sum­mer months for fu­ture events at the venue.

The Gar­land County Lit­er­acy Coun­cil proved to be a real con­tender in its first go at Arkansas Gives. The coun­cil raised a lit­tle more than $11,000.

Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Laura Lee Wil­lard called upon her board mem­bers and used Face­book to spread the word about sup­port­ing the lit­er­acy coun­cil dur­ing the event. She pre­sented peo­ple with hard facts about lit­er­acy rates, and stressed the im­por­tance of good lit­er­acy skills.

The coun­cil of­fers an ar­ray of free classes, and has be­gun look­ing at adding more fee-based classes, as well. Any­one who wants to learn to read, write or speak English is wel­comed, re­gard­less of fi­nan­cial re­sources.

The coun­cil has ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fi­culty in the past rais­ing funds, but Arkansas Gives opened up a new door for the coun­cil, and it is now look­ing to the fu­ture with heads held high.

Some of the fee- based classes would be geared to­ward help­ing first re­spon­ders com­mu­ni­cate ef­fort­lessly in sit­u­a­tions where there is a lan­guage bar­rier, as well as other cour­ses still in the early plan­ning stages.

Un­for­tu­nately, due to a lack of spon­sor­ship, this was the last year for Arkansas Gives, but lo­cal phi­lan­thropists at the Mor­ris foun­da­tion refuse to let the mo­men­tum stop.

“We’ve al­ready put out some feel­ers for peo­ple, as far as spon­sors go,” said Scholp. The Mor­ris Foun­da­tion has ded­i­cated it­self to phil­an­thropic ef­forts in the area, and “when you have cre­ated that much mo­men­tum, you don’t want to lose it,” said Scholp.

The lo­cal non­prof­its that par­tic­i­pate in Arkansas Gives are also look­ing at ways to keep from los­ing the an­nual fund­ing re­ceived through Arkansas Gives.

“We are work­ing on other fundrais­ing ideas, but we hope to par­tic­i­pate with what­ever tran­spires to take the place of Arkansas Gives in the fu­ture,” said Wil­lard.

If statewide spon­sor­ship is un­able to be found, the foun­da­tion has dis­cussed do­ing a sim­i­lar event on a smaller scale, serv­ing Gar­land and Mont­gomery coun­ties.

“We are not giv­ing up yet, that’s for sure,” said Scholp.

Kate Schaf­fer

Clyde Pound Trio

Chuck Dod­son

Donna Dun­na­hoe

Dorothy Mor­ris

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