Rainwater Holt & Sexton is partnering with KATV to present the Spirit of Arkansas Award. The award will be given to local charities and nonprofit organizations doing exceptional work in the community. Not only is this a chance for charities to receive a donation, it’s also a way to bring attention to important local causes to a statewide television news audience.
Each charity selected will receive a donation provided by Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, and KATV will tell their story on Channel 7 News. The Spirit of Arkansas stories run every other Sunday night at 10 p.m.
Nominate a Local Organization
Do you work for a charity or nonprofit making positive change in the community, or do you know of one that does? Click here to nominate a worthy organization for the Spirit of Arkansas Award today.
Spirit of Arkansas Award Winners
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, nurturing positive change in the community is at the center of what we do. In conjunction with KATV, we’re proud to recognize exceptional local organizations that make Arkansas a better place to live.
Junior Achievement of Arkansas
Junior Achievement of Arkansas is bridging the gap for students between classroom learning and real-world application. This organization brings professionals into the classroom to talk about big ideas like economics and entrepreneurship, as well as basic life skills like balancing a checkbook and sticking to a budget. Those skills are often missing from regular classroom curriculum, so students can benefit greatly from the Junior Achievement volunteers who work both in the classroom and in after-school programs. Junior Achievement of Arkansas’ work to educate the future of Arkansas makes them a great choice for this month’s Spirit of Arkansas Award.
Live Thankfully is a volunteer-run upscale resale shop that sells gently used brand name items such as jewelry, home goods, shoes, purses, and clothing at reduced prices. Kimberly Cook and her children started the store to serve other teenagers. All profits are donated to organizations that help women and children in crisis, including Immerse Arkansas, an organization that benefits teenagers aging out of the foster care system, and YoungLives, a program that benefits teenage mothers. Live Thankfully’s impact on the lives of teenagers in our community makes them a deserving recipient of this month’s Spirit of Arkansas Award.
Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas
After 100 years of service, the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas is a deserving recipient of this month’s Spirit of Arkansas Award. The club provides students with a place to spend their free time outside of school. In addition to offering programs for sports and the arts, they also promote education, character development, and leadership. Over 10,000 kids come in contact with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas every year. The club is not only making a positive difference in the community, they are also positively influencing future community leaders. Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is happy to announce the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas as this month’s Spirit of Arkansas Award winner.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
Many people in Arkansas know someone who has been injured or killed in a drunk driving accident. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is working to change that. The organization exists at state and national levels to provide victims and their families with resources and support. MADD also lobbies for laws to help decrease drunk driving, such as ignition interlock devices, which require drivers with drunk driving convictions to pass a breathalyzer test before starting their cars. This law alone has reduced drunk driving fatalities by 27% in Arkansas. MADD was chosen as this month’s Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Spirit of Arkansas Award winner for all they do to protect everyone on Arkansas’ roads.
IFB Solutions is a manufacturing plant that produces everything from steno notebooks to t-shirts. What sets them apart is who they employ. People are at the center of everything IFB Solutions does in Arkansas. Over 75% of the workforce at IFB solutions is blind or has some other visual impairment. Nationally, the unemployment rate for the blind is over 60%. IFB Solutions is doing their part to combat that statistic by giving the visually impaired an employment opportunity. Working with the blind, providing them with independence, and having people at the heart of their mission is why IFB Solutions is this month’s Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Spirit of Arkansas Award winner.
Hope Rises serves as a reentry facility for women who have been incarcerated. After a needs assessment in 2013, Kim Roxburgh and Hope Rises realized there is a growing number of women being incarcerated, but not much to help them upon release. The gender specific program helps those women with reentry options. Hope Rises is a 6-month residential program that has daily programing and requires residents to work. One of the bigger successes from Hope Rises has been the Dandy Line Kitchen started by former resident Lindsey Gant. The kitchen is staffed by current Hope Rises residents and is a fresh, healthy, and affordable meal delivery service. The assistance that Hope Rises gives to Arkansas women released from incarceration makes them a natural fit for this month’s Spirit of Arkansas award.
One Heart Playground
The One Heart Playground in Burns Park is a fully inclusive playground designed for children born with physical impairments. The project was inspired by Emma Wasson, who was born with a congenital heart defect, as well as Turner Syndrome. As her parents realized the need for a playground where Emma could play with other children, they learned that there was nowhere to go. They set out on a journey with the North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department to raise the funds needed to build the playground. The community has rallied around the project, and although construction is in progress, donations will continue to be accepted for future expansion. The One Heart Playground is this month’s Spirit of Arkansas award winner for brightening the lives of all the children who will be able to enjoy playing on it.
RHS Attends ALS Walk
ALS is a cause that is closely intertwined with our firm. When Stephen Holt was diagnosed with it in 2013, we quickly mobilized to do anything we could to help. One organization that we discovered was ALS Arkansas. They do fantastic work with ALS patients and their families. They not only provide equipment and expertise, but they also get to know the patients and their families and walk through the journey with them. They are hands on and strive to give support in any way possible to ALS patients all over Arkansas. We were very excited to present ALS Arkansas with the Spirit of Arkansas Award. We knew about the great work they do, and it was time all of Arkansas heard about their passion for people diagnosed with such a terrible disease.
We were happy to have over 50 people out for the check presentation at the annual ALS Walk. The walk is held in April of every year and is the major fundraiser for ALS Arkansas. This year’s walk was the largest ever with over 750 people in attendance.
Partners Against Trafficking Humans
Partners Against Trafficking Humans (PATH) embodies all we want in a Spirit of Arkansas winner. They truly see and meet a need that most people don’t realize happens inside our state. Many people believe human trafficking happens overseas, but estimates show between 100,000-300,000 children are trafficked in the US. Often this is done by someone they know, or worse, a family member. PATH works to advocate on behalf of the victims, rescue people being trafficked, and assist in recovery. As organizations like PATH bring awareness and action to the tragedy that is human trafficking, we support PATH to help those statistics work their way down to zero. Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is pleased to present this month’s Spirit of Arkansas award to PATH.
Women and Children First
Women and Children First has been working for 40 years to help women and children in Central Arkansas escape domestic violence. This great organization shelters women and their children during crisis and helps them through it with legal advocacy, social advocacy, support services, education, and community outreach. In 2016, Women and Children First assisted 1,030 people with legal and support issues, housed 61 people, and helped 330 children caught in abusive situations. The work this organization does in the community for victims of domestic violence does not go unnoticed. We are proud to honor Women and Children First as the Rainwater, Holt & Sexton Spirit of Arkansas Award winner.
Samaritan Ministries of Hot Springs
Samaritan Ministries of Hot Springs is a shelter for homeless men in Arkansas that works to provide a sense of community to those in need. Since 2002, this great organization teaches homeless men in Garland County life skills they need to get back on their feet. Samaritan Ministries of Hot Springs also works with the court system in Arkansas to present an alternative option to incarceration. The continued work and future goals of Samaritan Ministries of Hot Springs makes them the perfect recipient of our Spirit of Arkansas Award.
Reach Out is a local organization that collects clothing, food, and donations for homeless and low income families in Arkansas. During the holiday season, Reach Out organizes a Christmas Caravan to provide gifts to children of families in need. This event started in 2004 and is hosted entirely by volunteers. We're proud to feature Reach Out as our Spirit of Arkansas award winner and wish all of Arkansas a happy holiday season!
Immanuel Baptist Church Food Pantry
Food pantries all over Arkansas do a wonderful job providing for those in need, and the Immanuel Baptist Church Food Pantry is no different. Every Tuesday, they provide food to people who need it in the community. In the last year, 9,000 people have been helped by the Immanuel Baptist Church Food Pantry. They also distribute school supplies, Easter baskets, and Christmas presents to children. For all the work they do in the community, the Immanuel Baptist Church Food Pantry is this month’s Spirit of Arkansas Award winner.
Parents of Murdered Children
After losing her daughter to homicide, Amy Stivers became an advocate for parents of murder victims. Her support group, Parents of Murdered Children, provides help and resources to families struggling with a similar loss. Those involved with the group can join therapy sessions and learn about the judicial process. Because of the great support and care that Parents of Murdered Children offers, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton is proud to call them this month's Spirit of Arkansas award winner.
Ali's Angels Foundation
After losing her daughter, Ali, to infantile Batten disease, Donya Catlett started Ali's Angels Foundation. Batten disease is a fatal neurological disease that is very rare. Ali's Angels Foundation works to raise money for a cure for this disease. The nonprofit organization also plans to build a fully accessible, barrier-free playground for children with disabilities called Ali's Wonderland. It will be the first playground of its kind in Arkansas. We are so happy to have Ali's Angels Foundation as this month's Spirit of Arkansas award winner.
A Veteran's Best Friend
All too often we hear about veterans with PTSD struggling to adjust to normal life. A Veteran's Best Friend works to relieve that stress by providing veterans with service dogs, specific dog training, and a support group. For this reason, we've chosen them as a Spirit of Arkansas award winner! Veterans are an important part of our community, and we can't thank A Veteran's Best Friend enough for the work that they do.
Located at Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock, A-Camp is a 6-week day camp for children with autism, their families, and their friends. A-Camp provides campers with life-long skills, memorable experiences, and meaningful relationships that make a lasting impact. We're excited and proud to feature A-Camp as one of our Spirit of Arkansas award winners!
Recycle Bikes for Kids
Recycle Bikes for Kids brings joy to local Arkansas communities by providing kids with their very own bike. This organization spends hours fixing, assembling, and painting bikes for children that may not otherwise have the opportunity to own a bike. Bikes are given to kids free of charge, and adults can put in volunteer hours at the shop for a bike of their own. We're honored to have Recycle Bikes for Kids as our Spirit of Arkansas award winner!
The Lymphomaniac Society
During Elizabeth Fortune’s battle with cancer, she and her husband realized a little time away with rest and relaxation can do wonders for recovery. After their trip, they created the Lymphomaniac Society, an organization that sends cancer patients and their caregiver on a much-needed getaway. The Lymphomaniac Society goes above and beyond to give others in need the recreational time they deserve.
Goodwill Industries of Arkansas
Many people recognize Goodwill Industries of Arkansas as an organization that sells donated items at discount. However, Goodwill also works to help unemployed people join the workforce. In the past year, they helped 4,700 Arkansans find a job. Goodwill is dedicated to helping people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds, single parents, or anyone else in need.
Ozark Mission Project
For the past 30 years, Ozark Mission Project has empowered Arkansas youth to give back to the community at summer camp. Throughout the summer these youth build, paint, do yardwork, and form relationships with people in need. With 12 camps across the state of Arkansas, there are over 1,000 youth that participate in Ozark Mission Project each summer.
St. Francis House
St. Francis House has made an extraordinary impact on the Central Arkansas community by providing food, medicine, and a place to stay for those in need. This non-profit has had especially great success in the veteran community, as those who complete the St. Francis House program have better success rates than the national average. Between their veterans re-entry program and their health clinic, St. Francis House helped 40,000 people throughout Central Arkansas in 2015.
AR Kids Read
Founded in 2012, AR Kids Read is focused on helping the nearly 47 percent of Central Arkansas children reading below grade level. With over 400 volunteer tutors, AR Kids Read provides once-a-week literacy tutoring to help children in 45 Pulaski County schools learn to read at grade level. Students who have benefited from this program have demonstrated improved reading levels and academic progress, leading to a brighter future for Central Arkansas youth.
Veterans Villages of America
After 37 years in the military, Col. Mike Ross, Ret., realized he could continue to help the veterans of Central Arkansas. Through the Veterans Villages of America, Ross is helping Central Arkansas veterans by combining the programs offered to veterans to improve their quality of life. Currently, Veterans Villages of America is helping update the house of a World War II veteran. The organization is the first veterans organization to receive a new verification from the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs that works to certify credible veterans organizations and prevent scams in the veterans community.
The One, Inc.
It all started with “The Van” for this Spirit of Arkansas winner. Since then Aaron Reddin has expanded his work with the homeless under the parent charity, The One, Inc. Not only do they distribute clothing, shoes, and hygiene products from The Van, they also distribute from Catherine’s House women’s shelter, vans in Searcy and Russellville, and a shower trailer. The main goal of The One is not just to provide for the homeless, but to also help them get back on their feet with jobs and eventually into homes of their own.
Starting Over Ministries
After seeing a need in his community while working as a court-appointed special advocate for children, Nick Hilt founded Starting Over Ministries. The ministry’s goal is to help reunite families that have children in the foster system. In order to be reunited, parents or grandparents must be able to provide a comfortable living situation for the child. That is where Starting Over Ministries steps in and provides donations of household goods, ranging from mattresses and bedding to dishes and cups.
Watershed Family Resource Center
Reverend Hezekiah Stewart has been serving the community of Little Rock for almost 40 years. Through the Watershed Family Resource Center, thousands of Arkansans have been helped and fed. The donation from the Spirit of Arkansas will help the Watershed serve hundreds of meals this Thanksgiving. Reverend Stewart and the Watershed serve Thanksgiving dinner annually for families throughout central Arkansas. This year they will be collecting 500 turkeys for the dinner, and we are proud to be helping out such a great man and a great ministry.
Bethlehem House in Conway provides the homeless with services including temporary housing, employment assistance, skills training, education, vocational counseling, and transportation. Strictly funded through donations, this nonprofit organization has been helping its residents turn their lives around for more than 25 years.
The 20th Century Club’s Lodge
Since it was founded in 1941, the 20th Century Club’s Lodge has been providing no-cost temporary housing to cancer patients all over the United States. While patients receive treatment in central Arkansas, the 20th Century Club provides them with lodging, food, and a sense of community.
Amboy Community Food Pantry
Each year, the Amboy Community Food Pantry provides meals for over 12,000 people in Central Arkansas. Donations from churches, schools, businesses, and individuals keep the shelves stocked and keep the food pantry from ever turning anyone away.
Faulkner County SPCA
The Faulkner County SPCA was started after a Sheriff's deputy requested help. With no official animal shelter in Faulkner County, there needed to be a place to take animals in need of rescue. The Faulkner County SPCA was formed to help fill that need.
White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund
The White County Single Parent Scholarship Fund serves the single parents of White County in helping them on their path to higher education. The Scholarship Fund, started in 1999, has now awarded 467 scholarships to single parents totaling over $252,000. Funds are raised entirely through donations.
The Paron Community Center Trust
The Paron Community Center Trust is a nonprofit that was started after the Paron School was closed due to consolidation. The trust was able to take ownership of the campus, where they now host several community events. The Spirit of Arkansas Award donation received by the group will go towards updating and improving buildings on their premises to help them better serve the community.