In fewer than five minutes with Jane Hunt you can feel her passion. Her positive energy and nature are palpable and before long, you’re wrapped up in one of the many causes she supports to help her community.
Hunt is the daughter of Johnelle and J.B. Hunt, founders of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., one of the largest transportation and logistics companies in the world.
“I saw my dad taking care of people, from his employees to a stranger on the street,” said Hunt. “He lived out his faith and always cared for the poor. He was my example, and I try to live my life like him. I knew from a very young age that I was going to help people too.”
One of Jane’s deepest passions is supporting early childhood education. “I have worked with several different nonprofit programs, and we all recognize we must address immediate needs while also working on the root of the problem. Experience demonstrates that early intervention pays off in the long run,” she said.
Hunt is a teacher by trade. “I loved teaching junior high,” she said. “It was apparent that the strongest students were not inherently smarter than their peers, they simply had the advantage of having been in a quality childcare or pre-K setting. There is so much data that supports the ripple effect of quality early childhood education. Healthy babies, toddlers and preschoolers become strong, capable adults.
“And it isn’t just little ones that need support. There must be a holistic approach. You have to create an environment around the babies and toddlers with good teachers, good childcare centers and good family support.”
One of the charitable funds Hunt initiated at Arkansas Community Foundation is the Early Childhood Champions Fund. The fund supports quality early childhood programs for children up to five years of age as well as scholarships for preschool teachers. The fund also extends the pre-K and Headstart day past 5 p.m. so that parents can work. Anyone who values early childhood education can donate to the fund.
Because of her influence, energy and commitment, hundreds of working families and their children have benefited from full-day, quality, early childhood education.
“I truly believe that supporting early childhood education is the ‘magic bullet’ to solve social issues and make our community a better place,” said Hunt. “Investing in our children is an investment for all of us.”