Community Connections: Building Civic Engagement in Arkansas

November 2012 ENGAGE Magazine


In this edition, we're taking a look at programs and strategies to build volunteerism, civic participation, charitable giving and community connections.

View the full edition online or download a PDF

Stories Inside:

It's a New Day in Helena, Thanks to Community Volunteers
In Helena, the Blues Festival may be over for another year, but the work to improve the community continues. There are projects aiming to recreate Civil War-era landmarks, promote arts and culture of the Delta and beautify the city, and the list goes on. Volunteers like Gloria Higginbotham don’t intend to stop. “It’s never finished,” said Higginbotham. “You just see something else to do andkeep going.”

Future Fund Gives Young Philanthropists a Chance to Make Their Mark
“Everyone has a philanthropic bone in their body,” said Fayetteville Future Fund charter member Katie Tennant. “More than people ever realize, they want to give back to their community. But many young professionals don’t know how or don’t think they have the means to help. Future Funds pool membership money together to make a bigger impact. You as an individual become a part of the group that IS making a difference.”

Community Engagement is at the C.O.R.E. of Downtown Revitalization
Something is happening in Harrison. Over the past few years, the city has attracted 32 net businesses to the downtown area, including five new restaurants. A streetscaping project has slowed highway traffic through the downtown and increased on-street parking to make the courthouse square more walkable and inviting to customers. Colorful banners tout the downtown’s amenities, and the marquee at the old Lyric Theater flashes coming attractions.The driving force behind the revitalization of Harrison’s downtown is a strategic plan developed by the citizens themselves, under the guidance of a new advocacy organization called Harrison C.O.R.E. (Central Organization for Revitalization and Enhancement). 

Arkansas Viewpoints: How can we increase civic participation in Arkansas communities?
Viewpoints from Bernadette Devone of Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Mireya Reith of Arkansas United Communities Coalition. 

Books and Beyond: The Future of Civic Engagement at Arkansas's Public Libraries
Looking for civic engagement? Look no further than the public library. Access is free, information is unlimited and everyone’s invited. Although collections of books and public records remain libraries’ bread and butter, many libraries across the state are embracing the challenge of educating and informing the public in a changing world through new programs and services for all ages.

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