Give Smart Blog

From Our CEO

Dear friends,

As we reflect on the past fiscal year, I am filled with gratitude for making fiscal year 2020 one of the most impactful years the Foundation has seen in its 44-year history. The pandemic has tested most facets of our operations, but as the theme and information in this report will show, we were ready.

  • We were ready to activate the emergency response COVID-19 Relief Fund with dollars set aside from the Foundation’s unrestricted funds.
  • We were ready to answer the challenge when Governor Hutchinson issued a Proclamation that individuals and companies should donate to the Foundation for pandemic relief.
  • We were ready with the infrastructure to receive millions in donations over just a few weeks; and we were ready to mobilize a multi-phased grantmaking approach that provided quick and appropriate dollars to Arkansas nonprofits.
  • We were ready to guide current fundholders with smart giving tools and help them navigate new legislation to best maximize their charitable options.
  • We were ready to mobilize our staff to work remotely. And, thanks to our committed Board and affiliate network, we were ready to review over a thousand grant proposals virtually and get funding out the door within days.
  • We were ready to respond to questions from the media with transparency and confidence about our work.
  • We were ready for the economic fallout of 2020 with our focused long-term investment strategies to minimize the impact on the Foundation’s endowments.
  • We were ready to adapt every hour, day, week and month to meet the ever-changing needs of our stakeholders to best serve the state.

And what prepared us to be ready? You. If it weren’t for you, the committed partners, fundholders, local and state board members, friends and especially the amazing nonprofits statewide, none of this would have been possible.

Our values and mission have held strong through a volatile time, and our mission to serve this state by engaging people, connecting resources and inspiring solutions to build community is unwavering.

The next year holds even more promise. The Community Foundation opened another affiliate office, is hiring new staff and is embarking on a strategic planning process that will help shape the future of the organization.

I am forever grateful for you and the trust and commitment you’ve shown to build the state’s Community Foundation over the years. On behalf of the entire Foundation family, I’m honored to share this report with you. It is because of you that we can confidently say “We were ready.” I am honored to share this report with you.

In gratitude,

Heather Larkin
President & CEO