LOCAL LOVES BACK

In recognition of the neighborhood's role in the Trail of Tears, a new memorial has been installed outside the Argenta Branch of the North Little Rock Public Library System thanks to an effort by the Argenta Downtown Council and Department of Arkansas Heritage. Artist Ed Pennebaker's glass and metal sculptures are inspired by nature and stand as "a testament to the resilience and strength of the Native American communities affected by the Trail of Tears."

A new initiative on South Main Street is helping heal the community. Through SoMa Cares, various businesses encourage customers to round up their purchases with proceeds going to a different nonprofit or cause each month. February's donations will go to the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. 

Gifts & Grants

• By donating a portion of Veteran's Day sales, sister restaurants Cypress Social and Petit & Keet were able to give more than $3,000 to We Are the 22, a local nonprofit dedicated to veteran suicide intervention. Meanwhile, Argenta Downtown Council's Argenta Fright Night event raised $750 for North Little Rock Friends of the Animals.

• Women & Children First has received a combined $12 million in grants to build a new facility in southwest Little Rock next to its Family Peace Center. Along with other smaller grants, the nonprofit received $7 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $4 million challenge grant from the Windgate Foundation to help victims of domestic violence.

• In 2023, Bank of America Arkansas provided $445,000 and more than 3,700 volunteer hours to causes statewide, including the Arkansas Foodbank, Baptist Health Foundation and Our House. Economics Arkansas was named BoA's 2023 Neighborhood Champions Grant Recipient and will receive $50,000 in flexible funding over two years.

• Potluck Food Rescue received a $90,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue and You Foundation to address food insecurity through the development of a new app designed to enhance the efficiency of food recovery.

• The Arkansas Children's Hospital Auxiliary has committed $6.25 million in support of the hospital's largest-ever expansion, $1.03 million of which was raised at its signature Miracle Ball in December.

BIG MOVES

• Sylvia Blain has stepped down from her role as executive director of Potluck Food Rescue to become CEO of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, succeeding Kathy Webb, effective March 31.

• The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts appointed Darrell Walker as director of the AMFA Foundation.

• Linsley Kinkade has been named chief program officer of the Arkansas Community Foundation.

• Former Centers for Youth and Families Foundation Director Melissa Hendricks has been named the vice chancellor of advancement and executive director of the UA-PTC Foundation.

• Dr. Brandon Chase Goldsmith is the new director of advocacy for the Arkansas Cinema Society.

• Brian Minyard has been named interim executive director of the Quapaw Quarter Association.

• Heather Cherry and Julie Mehlin have joined the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas and North Louisiana Board of Directors.