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  • Simone Jameson KJNB TV

Community Leaders Consider Philanthropy to Improve Local Economy

Community leaders from Randolph, Lawrence and Clay counties met with Arkansas Community Foundation representatives to learn how philanthropy could be used to improve their local communities. It’s something Jonathan Rhodes helped launch for Sharp county.

“We were able to raise significant money for our non-profits to grant back to non-profits in sharp county. To help families, kids,” says Rhodes, who is a community developer. “Anything with a great non-profit cause in the county is what we’re able to support and give back to.”

The ACF encourages residents to pull donations together to create giving trees, that provide grant funding for non-profits and even schools, and health agencies. The donations don’t end with money.

“People can donate both cash, or they can donate stock options,” says Graycen Bigger, executive director of the NEA Intermodal Authority. “Agricultural assets, land assets. It enables people to give in greater amounts, in a diversified way.”

Each county that works with the Arkansas Community Foundation has a director and advisory board that determine where charitable dollars are needed. They create a broader awareness about community challenges and inspire more people to be a part of the solutions.

“We recognize that when every community is stronger, our whole state is better,” says Sarah Kinser, who is Arkansas Community Foundation’s Chief Program Officer. “But the needs of individual communities differ. And so it’s really important to us that local people are coming together to pool their resources to focus on what we can do collectively to make our towns, our cities and our states better.”

The foundation is designed to connect individuals to the causes they’re passionate about. And use that passion to strengthen each local economy.

The Arkansas Community Foundation is currently affiliated with twenty-eight counties across the state. More information about the Arkansas Community Foundation is available at


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