Arkansas AFN is a regional chapter of grantmakers who advance equitable wealth building and economic mobility. Members include private, public, corporate, and community foundations, public-sector funders, and financial institutions who want to help Arkansans secure economic stability, for now and for years to come. Arkansas AFN connects funders and their peers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors.

Arkansas AFN was launched in 2016 as a regional affiliate of national AFN by a core group of funders including the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Entergy Charitable Foundation, the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation, Southern Bancorp Community Partners, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis-Little Rock Branch. Membership is open to funders who invest in a range of initiatives that build assets for Arkansas, from early childhood education, college access, or workforce development to health, financial capacity, or micro-enterprise. Arkansas AFN members meet regularly and host events to share ideas. Learn more about the Arkansas chapter’s impact in AFN’s Power of Place publication.

Grantmakers investing in Arkansas should contact Abby Hughes Holsclaw if interested in joining this chapter.

Upcoming Events

Check back soon for information on upcoming events.

CLICK HERE for more information and resources from our past events.

Arkansas AFN in the News

CLICK HERE for a collection of news on AR AFN and our partners

Special Initiatives

Learn more about ALICE in Arkansas
Learn more about ALICE in Arkansas

United for ALICE is a national nonprofit organization conducting demographic and financial studies to provide states and local communities with the information and guidance to best serve the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed population.

Learn more about Bank On Arkansas+
Learn more about Bank On Arkansas+

Bank On Arkansas+ is an initiative to ensure that all Arkansans have access to safe, trusted, and affordable banking, so they have the opportunity to save for themselves, build wealth for their families, and improve quality of life in their communities.

Learn more about Arkansas Women's Business Fund

The Arkansas Women’s Business Fund is a pivotal resource for women business owners in search of capital, providing credit enhancements and assistance to entrepreneurs across the state.

Upcoming Events

Steering Committee

Rev. Cory Anderson

Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Abby Brenneman

Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation

Picture of Kim Davis
Kim Davis

Walton Family Foundation

Picture of Samantha Evans
Samantha Evans

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Justin Fletcher

Excellerate Foundation

Anna Beth Gorman

Women’s Foundation of Arkansas

Lena Hayes

Baptist Health Foundation

Brandi Hinkle

Entergy Arkansas

Linsley Kinkade

Arkansas Community Foundation

Heather Larkin

Arkansas Community Foundation

Mollie Palmer

Heart of Arkansas United Way

Rebecca Pittillo

Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas

Michael Rivera

Communities Unlimited

Hillis Schild

Arvest Bank

Maddie San Juan

Women's Foundation of Arkansas

Abby Hughes Holsclaw

Senior Director

AFN Staff

Chapter Highlights

A Look at the Wealth Gap in Arkansas and The Actions You Can Play for ALICE

On August 24, 2023, the AR Asset Funders Network hosted a briefing, A Look at the Wealth Gap in Arkansas & The Actions You Can Play for ALICE. Moderated by Karen Murrell , the event explored the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau debt findings for philanthropy, nonprofits, elected officials, and financial institutions. U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Desmond Brown and Diane Standaert and Arlo Washington of PEOPLE TRUST Community Loan Fund offered expertise and insight on how to remove barriers to wealth and mobility in Arkansas. Speakers showcased new information on consumer experiences in Arkansas, particularly in rural communities and communities of color. This event amplified the impact of medical debt, elevated trends and gaps in mortgage lending, and showcased opportunities to create transparency in small business lending. LEARN MORE.

ALICE Champions Policy Conversation Summary

On January 24, 2023, Rev. Shantell Hinton Hill, senior equity officer with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, kicked off the ALICE Champions Policy conversation at the ASU systems building in Little Rock, Arkansas. The event centered on asking policy, business, philanthropic, and nonprofit leaders to use their voice and influence with ALICE to impact systems and policy changes around three budget busters —medical debt, housing, and child care. LEARN MORE.

Arkansas Financial Education Commission

Helping Arkansans achieve financial well-being through education and networking, for now and for future generations. LEARN MORE

Roundtable to Highlight Early Care Needs for ALICE

On Wednesday, September 8, 2022, the AR Asset Funders Network partnered with Excel by Eight and the Institute for Economic Equity at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis hosted a roundtable discussion ‘Child Care and the Economy: An Arkansas Roundtable.’ The gathering featured business and industry leaders from across the state who shared insights and discuss opportunities to support child care for the current and future workforce. LEARN MORE

Women Entrepreneurship Support Organizations Collaborative Meeting

On July 13, 2022, the initial meeting was held to form a Women’s ESO collaborative, hosted by the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas in partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas Asset Funders Network, and the Venture Center. The purpose was to bring together organizations that provide support for women entrepreneurs and explore our shared interests to accelerate the growth of women owned businesses in Arkansas. LEARN MORE

Apprenticeships

Bank On Arkansas+ Celebrates 5 Years!

The Arkansas Asset Funders Network (Arkansas AFN) recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of Bank On Arkansas+ (BOA+), a statewide coalition providing secure, affordable, and certified banking options to empower Arkansans. Launched in 2018, BOA+ has grown into a statewide coalition with over fifty members, representing banks, credit unions, and community partners in all 75 Arkansas counties.

The event at Bank OZK Headquarters highlighted the program’s impact on the ALICE population and featured presentations and discussions on the future of financial empowerment in Arkansas. Forbes magazine ranked Arkansas as the fourth best state for banking access, acknowledging the substantial decrease in unbanked households since the initiative’s launch. The collaborative efforts behind BOA+ were commended by industry leaders, recognizing the initiative’s transformative impact on Arkansas’ unbanked population. As the coalition addresses challenges posed by the digital era, including the digital divide and access to capital, stakeholders express optimism about BOA+’s future and its potential for fostering greater financial inclusion statewide.

Read more.

Bank On Arkansas+

Financial Inclusion for All Arkansans
On October 18, 2023, led by Arkansas State Treasurer Larry W. Walther, a diverse and influential group of Arkansas legislators, bankers, business leaders, grantmakers, and financial health advocates convened at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda to address pressing economic challenges facing the state. Presented in partnership with Bank On Arkansas+ (a project of Arkansas AFN), the Office of Treasurer of State of Arkansas, the Arkansas Financial Education Commission, and the Arkansas State Broadband Office, the event unveiled fresh insights and strategies to underscore the importance of assisting Arkansans, especially those who are unbanked and underbanked, in their journey towards financial prosperity. Learn more about Bank On AR+ and ALICE in Arkansas.

No Shelter in Place

How Arkansas Eviction Laws Harmed Renters During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Arkansas has some of the nation’s harshest eviction laws. Tenants who are even a day late on rent can be evicted. Arkansas Community Institute recently released a report that examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Arkansas renters. The report builds on work with tenants throughout the pandemic and includes an analysis of judicial evictions during the first two years of the pandemic.

Small child wearing a mask holding a sign "Housing is a Human Right"

A Conversation with Bill Bynum

On January 31, 2022, we were joined by Bill Bynum, Chief Executive Officer of HOPE and Anthony Young, Executive Director of Southern Bancorp Community Partners, for a conversation on supporting the financial health of families and small businesses during an ongoing pandemic. Watch the recording and for more information, contact Kara Wilkins at kara@assetfunders.org.

image of the zoom call

We’re Still Hurting! From the ER to the Courtroom: How Medical Bills and Court Costs Trap People in Debt Cycles

A January 2022 virtual gathering, moderated by Talk Business and Politics host Roby Brock, provided an overview of medical debt and court costs; described how debt cycles disproportionately harm lower income communities, ALICE households, and people of color; and elevated federal, state, and hospital-led policy recommendations that could help alleviate and prevent debt traps. It also highlighted how the court system, state legislature, and local governments could enact changes to end the criminalization of poverty and reform debt collection practices. LEARN MORE

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ALICE IS ON THE RISE -Key findings from the report, ALICE in the Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship in Arkansas.

Key findings from the report, ALICE in the Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship in Arkansas.

LEARN MORE.

ALICE stories

Hear ALICE stories from Arkansans. WATCH NOW.

Members are invited to share their new initiatives, stories, and highlights from the field.

How We Work

  • Inform: Members learn from one another and stakeholders as they seek solutions to local challenges. The chapter hosts issue-based programming and calls-to-action that reflect research and philanthropic thought leadership that highlights actionable roles for philanthropy. While focusing on a variety of topics, the chapter gathers local leaders and national experts together to share data and ideas, promote innovative approaches, and help establish common language to build collaboration.
  • Influence: Engage funders and public/private stakeholders in frank, issue-based discussions that influence policy and foster systemic change. Members seek opportunities to accelerate economic prosperity while also reducing racial, ethnic, and gender wealth gaps. Members provide an insightful Southern voice to inform national and local conversations on topics including access to capital for women of color, reduction of debt, financial coaching, Arkansas tax reform, and banking the unbanked.
  • Connect: Members support peer-to-peer learning and cross-sector collaboration. Members identify and leverage replicable and scalable high-impact strategies and innovative approaches to connect and inform influential funders of actionable investments.
  • Build: Work to increase the number of grantmakers and resources focused on strategies that help low and moderate income people build and protect assets. Members leverage one another’s interests and networks to actively identify additional funders willing to co-invest in the South.