Nonprofit News: January Edition


• A donation from longtime Arkansas Symphony Orchestra supporter and former board chairman Lee Ronnel is now the ASO’s largest individual gift in its 56-year history. Ronnel bequeathed the undisclosed amount before his passing last January, creating the E. Lee Ronnel Music Academy that all existing and future music education and community engagement programs will fall under.

• In other ASO news, CEO Christina Littlejohn will receive the Arts Community Development Award as part of the Arkansas Arts Council’s 2023 Governor’s Arts Awards.

• Among its many spaces, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts has announced various galleries will bear the names of those “who represent the museum’s past and future.” These include Townsend Wolfe, Terri and Chuck Erwin, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, Berta and John Baird, the Windgate Foundation, Jeannette Edris Rockefeller and Robyn and John Horn.

• The Mid-America Arts Alliance and Windgate Foundation are launching a new grant program called Catalyze that will provide $500,000 to 50 artists in central Arkansas over the next two years. Applications open Jan. 9. Learn more at


On March 8, the 35th annual Arkansas Business of the Year Awards will celebrate businesses, organizations and executives from across the state, including these finalists for Nonprofit Organization of the Year:

  • Arkansas Support Network Excellerate Foundation
  • Goodwill Industries Arkansas
  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Jonesboro
  • Immerse Arkansas


• The Children’s Tumor Foundation opened the first fully multidisciplinary clinic for adults with neurofibromatosis (NF), the first of its kind in the U.S., at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

• Forward Arkansas announced its phase II implementation grant recipients — UA Little Rock and Southern Arkansas University — will receive $3.6 million over the next three years to support programs that will “increase the quantity, quality and diversity of Arkansas’ teacher workforce.”

• Holiday fundraisers brought in more than $1.3 million for Arkansas Children’s , while Easterseals Arkansas exceeded its goal of $200,000 through a 24-hour fundraising campaign.


• Immerse Arkansas added two new members to its board of directors: Jennifer Ragsdale and Jerome Strickland.

• Spencer Watson joined The Reform Alliance as its new communications director.

• Christen Butler is the new executive director of The CALL.

• Daniel Schutte is the new vice president of strategic partnerships for The Venture Center.

• Forward Arkansas added Meghan Thompson to its team as program manager.

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