Soirée Profiles 10 of Arkansas’ Next Generation of Philanthropists

With more nonprofits per capita than any other state, Arkansas is the home of generosity. We meet the next generation of philanthropists flying the flag for giving.

Natalie & Win Rockefeller

Bearing a name that is synonymous with philanthropy, Natalie and Win Rockefeller have made helping others a fundamental part of their lives. Natalie serves on the boards of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Win is on the board of Women and Children First and is president of the board at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller UAMS Cancer Institute, a cause very close to their hearts, not least because it carries Win’s father’s name. “Everyone is somehow touched by cancer,” says Natalie. “Win’s father, my grandmother, and just this summer, my grandfather all lost their battles with cancer. Two of my best friends have a parent currently being treated at the Cancer Institute. We support this organization because we want to see a cure in our lifetime.”

The couple also supports the Thea Foundation, UAMS NICU, Family Home, the Academy at Riverdale, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Easter Seals, the Humane Society of Arkansas, Philander Smith College and Our House, among others.

Yvette & Andrew Parker

Yvette and Andrew Parker are stalwarts of Little Rock’s philanthropy scene. Andrew is on the board of the First Tee (a youth development program that teaches life skills and leadership through golf) and is currently serving on the Game and Fish Commission. He is also highly active with Boy Scouts. His main focus in all three is to provide young people with opportunities to get involved with outdoor activities that they might not otherwise experience.

Yvette is a founding board member of Party with a Heart, a nonprofit that creates fun get-togethers for ladies with all proceeds donated to small local nonprofits supporting women. Their partner for 2016 is PATH (Partners Against Trafficking Humans). Yvette is also the communications chair for the 2017 Eggshibition benefiting Youth Home and serves as a board member on the Quapaw Quarter Association, encouraging historic preservation. “I work for Ben E. Keith Foods,” says Yvette. “An inspirational company which won 2015 Philanthropic Corporation from ABPG [Arkansas Business Publishing Group]. I oversee our statewide philanthropic giving and am privileged to serve on countless committees through my job.”

Kye Massino

Kye Massino started his foundation KYE-YAC International when he was just 9 years old. For almost 10 years he has been working to improve the lives of other young people. So far KYE-YAC has collaborated with over 100 of organizations including the Jackson House, Habitat for Humanity, Arkansas Rice Depot, Arkansas Hospice, Single Parent Scholarship, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, contributing over $500,000 in charitable giving to youths in Arkansas and beyond. In September, Kye accompanied the legendary human and animal rights activist Jane Goodall to the U.N. Peace Day conference and is now working with a fellow KYE-YAC board member to establish a KYE-YAC group in Hanamaki, Japan.

Mattingly and Montana Bartole

Mattingly, 16, and Montana Bartole, 14, were raised in the spirit of volunteerism and have been active with local organizations since childhood. Both volunteer as student teaching assistants for Junior Arts Academy and “love sharing passion for theater arts with students.” They also both volunteer with physical therapists at the Special Olympics: FunFitness Summer Games, to help Special Olympic athletes with overall health and wellness; the Jacksonville Animal Shelter; Ronald McDonald House Charities; and both have participated in the American Heart Association Sweetheart program. Mattingly has also been a volunteer child actor with Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre since the age of 6.

Laura Connor

Laura Connor has been involved with an exhaustive list of nonprofits over the years and is now a committee member for Sculpture at the River Market, for which she is co-chairing a 10th anniversary fundraiser in spring 2017, and UAMS Consortium. “From the minute I took a tour of the NICU, I realized how fortunate we are to have top-notch care at UAMS not only for premature newborns, but for all Arkansans.” She is also Marketing Director at JPMS Cox, a role which incorporates her passion for volunteering. “I am very grateful to work in an environment every day that places such importance on community service,” she says. “Part of my job is to oversee the firm’s community service efforts and to help staff members become involved with nonprofit organizations.”

Nick Copas

Nick Copas is a vice president of Baldwin & Shell Construction Co., which is legendary for its community-focused approach to business. Steeped in giving from a young age, Copas says community service comes naturally, and he serves as a foundation board member for Centers for Youth & Families, for whom he was also the Evolve gala co-chair two years running. He has also been a Dancing With our Stars participant to raise funds for Children’s Tumor Foundation, a member of Guardians Board for Easter Seals of Arkansas and has served Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, the American Heart Association and is currently a Club 99 Member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock.

Rachel & Buddy Harding

The Hardings come from a long line of Arkansas philanthropists. Buddy supports a number of nonprofit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Easter Seals, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Arkansas Baptist College, AAU basketball and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, as well as serving on the foundation board of trustees for Centers for Youth & Families. Rachel is chairing Women & Children First’s annual Vegas on the Rocks (Oct. 21) for the second year in a row after doubling its typical revenue in 2015. She is also a Peacekeeper for the organization as well as a Guardians board member for Easter Seals.

Tiffany & Daniel Robinson

Carrying on the philanthropic mantle from their parents, the Robinsons are actively involved in an exhaustive list of organizations. They both serve on the board of directors for Women and Children First, where they are founding members of the Peacekeepers Volunteer Group. They are also members of the Guardians – the Easter Seals Arkansas Young Professional Volunteer Auxiliary, where Tiffany also serves on the board. She also recently completed five years on the board of Wildwood Park for the Arts.

Daniel is currently board chairman for Riverfest, which few people know is a nonprofit, and is a founding member of the associate board of the Baptist Health Foundation, the largest not-for-profit, full-service hospital system in the state. The couple also supports countless other oganzations including Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and the Thea Foundation.

Ozark Mission Project

OMP has served the state for over 30 years, bringing youths from all over to Arkansas, where the volunteers do mission activities like building wheelchair ramps, painting houses and repairing low-income homes. The volunteers build a relationship with families they serve, and the program equips young people to make a global difference. According to OMP’s director, Bailey Faulkner, “the group photographed here shows me OMP is doing what we’ve set out to do. These young people are transforming lives and our state through their personal and professional work.”

Mount St. Mary Academy

Corinne Menz, 17, started her own book exchange program in Cammack Village to promote literacy and neighborhood cooperation; Megan Alley, 18, volunteers with the Arkansas Heart Association as part of the Sweethearts program and helps to enlist future Sweethearts; Grace Clark, 17, is the student body president at Mount St. Mary Academy and is leading this year’s Robin Hood Can Drive. Each year, the drive raises over 30,000 cans and cash equivalents to provide meals for the hungry at the Helping Hand, Arkansas Foodbank and Rice Depot; Catherine Hartnedy, 17, is a volunteer at Camp Aldersgate, which enables children who have special medical and physical needs to have a summer camp experience to remember, and to look forward to every year.

Shelby Shields, 17, was one of the founding members of the Youth Advisory Council at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where she serves as chair. She also volunteers with the Building Bright Futures program with her Catholic Youth Ministry and the Angels of Hope program; Samantha Rusk, 18, volunteers at the Salvation Army serving breakfast, which gave her the idea for starting an initiative to provide footwear to those in need. So far she has collected 1,300 pairs of shoes for the Salvation Army, The Van, and Our House.

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