Neff and Terence Lankford

Alliance of Arts, a local nonprofit dedicated to creating an "arts-infused interdisciplinary approach to education," received a $25,000 grant as part of the Building Black Communities Fund to hold a summer arts intensive program for students in 6-12th grade.

Neff Lankford, who runs the nonprofit with her husband Terence, was awarded the grant after participating in a grant writing class at UA Little Rock, where she is currently earning her master’s degree in education.

The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas was named Bank of America's 2021 Neighborhood Champion for its work to reduce gender and racial wealth gaps in underserved communities. With the designation comes a $50,000 multi-year grant that will help the WFA execute its new Women-Owned Economic Mobility Hub program that offers financial products and support services for small businesses owned by Black women.


In March, the 34th annual Arkansas Business of the Year Awards will celebrate businesses, nonprofits and executives from across the state. But first, a round of applause for the philanthropic finalists:

Nonprofit Organization of the Year:

  • Arkansas Baptist Children's
  • Homes and Family Ministries
  • Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund
  • Thea Foundation
  • 20th Century Club of Little Rock
  • Union Rescue Mission

Nonprofit Executive of the Year:

  • Jama Best, Arkansas Humanities Council
  • Ruthanne Hill, Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund
  • Adam Head, CARTI
  • Diane LaFollette, Mid-America Science Museum
  • Janell Mason, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas
  • Elizabeth Clogston, 20th Century Club of Little Rock


Crenisha Wright, Errin Stanger, Kathy French and Dr. Lanita White

► Crenisha Wright has been named chief administrative and information officer for the Arkansas Foodbank.

► Errin Stanger is now officially the director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. She has served as acting director since last April when former director Chris Jones stepped down.

► Kathy French has been named the executive director of AR Kids Read.

► Dr. Lanita White will take over as CEO of Community Health Centers of Arkansas on Feb. 7.

► Bill Gatewood retired as director of the Old State House Museum after 29 years with the museum.

► Amanda Bolls Smith has been named the new executive director of the Methodist Family Health Foundation.


Dr. Naoki Hakutani, left, accepts his induction into the Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame.

With awards and new spaces, it's an exciting time for the classical music scene in Little Rock. Here are a few of the highlights:

► Dr. Naoki Hakutani, an associate professor of piano at UA Little Rock, was inducted into the prestigious Steinway & Sons Teacher Hall of Fame for his dedication to his students.

Opera in the Rock held a luncheon and ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the opening of its first official headquarters, including administrative and performance spaces, at 301 E. Capitol Ave.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Drew Irvin was recognized by Musical America as one of its Top 30 Professionals of the Year for his leadership and creation of the Bedtime with Bach series.