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.
Check back soon for information on upcoming events.
CLICK HERE for more information and resources from our past events.
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.
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.
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
Arkansas Access to Justice
Entergy Charitable Foundation
Walton Family Foundation
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Hope Enterprise Corporation
Women’s Foundation of Arkansas
Baptist Health Foundation
Arkansas Community Foundation
Heart of Arkansas United Way
Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas
Women's Foundation of Arkansas
A Look at the Wealth Gap in Arkansas & 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
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
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.
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 email@example.com.
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
ALICE IS ON THE RISE -Key findings from the report, ALICE in the Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship in Arkansas.
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.