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Giving Back is Good Business
/ February 21, 2018

A feature story from our 2017 Annual Report. 

“Oaklawn has been a part of this community for more than 100 years,” said Hot Springs native Eric Jackson, senior vice president and former general manager. “Generations of Hot Springs residents have worked at Oakawn and made their careers here. We feel it is our corporate responsibility to give back.”

Eric’s mentor, the late Herschel Friday, taught him to be on the front row of community involvement, to stay involved and to make a difference. Through its owners, the Cella Family, Oaklawn has long been a force for corporate philanthropy. More than a decade ago, Eric was instrumental in creating the Oaklawn Foundation with Cella Family funds.

He worked with the Chamber and community leaders to form a board that determines how the money donated by Oaklawn is spent. Dennis Smith, chair of the Oaklawn Foundation Board, said Arkansas Community Foundation manages and invests their funds. “The Community Foundation staff members have been great to work with,” Dennis said. “We are using a new electronic tool for scholarship applications this year that will improve our process.” 

The Oaklawn Foundation supports Garland County nonprofits like the UAMS Schmieding Care Giver Training Center; seven Garland County school districts; Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts; Garvan Woodland Gardens; the Garland County Historical Society and many more.


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