SENIOR SCENE | Spending time: Doing something with a purpose

Joyce Whitfield - Submitted photo
Joyce Whitfield - Submitted photo

When introducing myself as the executive director of the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation, I'm often met with a confused or blank stare followed by the question, "What's that?" Maybe you are one of those people who would like to know more about us?

Throughout the year the most important part of my job continues to be education -- telling the Hot Springs Community Foundation story to individuals, agencies, and businesses. We are fund builders and grantmakers. We rely on referrals from the professional adviser community and work hard to nurture those relationships. We also keep the community current on what's going on with our grant cycles and exciting plans and programs. Studying key issues such as early literacy and food security means digging deep into those topics, finding where we can help, and then funding grants to worthy organizations ready to tackle those issues with their "boots on the ground." Over the years, 125 permanent endowment and nonendowed charitable funds have been created. A percentage of the income from each endowed fund is directed by the donor to the charity(ies) of their choice with grant funding, with our nonendowed funds have more flexibility for assisting with various community needs.

January brings the administrative duties for the Oaklawn Foundation Scholarship program, through our online portal.

In February applications for Early Literacy and Youth Advisory Council grants open with awards being announced in early spring. In midsummer, we begin our Giving Tree grant cycle when nonprofits, schools, etc. seek grants for any charitable purpose to be awarded during the late fall.

Our Youth Advisory Council group raises funds for its grant cycle in early December, fulfilling our responsibility to teach our youth the art of philanthropy and giving back.

With larger requests, sometimes finding ways for nonprofits to partner together to complete a worthy project means collaboration and coordination of those with like missions.

It's all meaningful work, making my job rewarding since I'm involved with numerous things with a purpose and helping to make a difference in my community.

If you'd like to join us in making a difference, consider contributing to our unrestricted Giving Tree fund, or establishing your own lasting charitable fund. Call 501-372-1007 and let's talk!

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