• At the Downtown Little Rock Partnership Annual Meeting, the DLRP honored locals who have had a major impact on the neighborhood. The Heart of Downtown Award went to Brandy McNair of Bella Vita Jewelry, the Volunteer of the Year Award went to Mandy Marshall of Hound's Lounge, the Top of the Rock Award went to eStem Schools and the inaugural Downtown Mover & Shaker Award went to Pettaway advocate Mike Orndorff.
• Arkansas Humanities Council Executive Director Jama Best received the Arkansas Museums Association’s Peg Newton Smith Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her more than two decades at the council and her "lifelong contributions and commitment to preserving Arkansas heritage and culture."
• EASTCon23 — the annual conference for EAST Initiative students from Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma — saw many Natural State winners, but none higher than Evan Pratt-Hall, a senior at the Arkansas School for the Blind, who took home the Lindsey Parker Award. "Think of it as the MVP of the all-star team," EAST CEO Matt Dozier says.
Much of the past month's headlines have been dominated by the devastating EF3 tornado that tore through central Arkansas on March 31. In the hours that followed, local nonprofits, churches and small businesses were quick to organize to help neighbors in any way they could. Although those headlines are now fewer and further between, the city will be feeling the effects of those storms for years to come. To find out how you can continue to help, visit helparkansas.com for a centralized list of needs and resources.
GIFTS, GRANTS & PARTNERSHIPS
• The Venture Center and Small Business Administration Arkansas District Office are joining forces to help entrepreneurs find much-needed resources while expanding small business development in the state.
• Urbana Farmstead received a $25,000 grant from the Simmons Bank Foundation to support its Root of Change program for kids ages 12-15. The 20-week program provides sustainability, farming, marketing and cooking training for local low-income families.
• The Junior League of Little Rock wrapped up its centennial year with a celebration at its downtown headquarters, honoring the more than $129,000 of gifts and volunteer time given over the past year, and also presented multiple community organizations with checks on behalf of JLLR.
• The 20th Century Club named Angie Taylor Lasiter as its new executive director.
• The UA Little Rock Foundation Fund Board has three new members: John Dominick, Chrissy Jennings and Tonya Middleton.
• Ian Shuttleworth is the new walk manager for the Arkansas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
• Dr. Rangaswamy Govindarajan has been appointed chief of the Division of Hematology & Oncology at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.