Local organizations participate in #GivingTuesday across multiple sectors
November 27 - December 3, 2017
By Becca Bona
This year #GivingTuesday falls on Nov. 28 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. On this globally recognized day of giving, social media offers a platform for organizations to address local issues and bring about change in communities.
Locally, organizations across multiple sectors participate in the movement. Take the opportunity to get to know a few active groups below that make a difference in Central Arkansas.
History: Preserve Arkansas
Rachel Patton has been the executive director at Preserve Arkansas since the summer of 2016. The membership-based, nonprofit organization provides historic preservation education, advocacy, and technical assistance, while functioning as the only statewide historic preservation advocacy group in Arkansas.
“Any funds raised during Giving Tuesday dramatically impact our small operating budget and allow us to increase [our] efforts,” said Patton. “This year is extremely important, however, as all money raised will go toward Preserve Arkansas’s Historic Tax Credit Advocacy Fund.”
The fund will work towards restoring the Historic Tax Credit, which was decreased from 20 to 10 percent this past session. Last year the organization used their Historic Tax Credit Advocacy Fund to improve the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.
She explained, “We successfully advocated for the passage of Act 393 of 2017, which improved the Arkansas Historic Tax Credit by increasing the per project cap for income-producing properties from $125,000 in tax credits to $400,000 in tax credits. With additional fundraising, we will work to improve the tax credit even more in the future.”
Donate to preserve Arkansas at our website at https://preservearkansas.org/donate/ or mail a check to Preserve Arkansas, P.O. Box 305, Little Rock, AR 72203. For more information, call 501-372-4757.
ArtS EDUCATION: Thea Foundation
As a jewelry-maker herself, Stacey Bowers, Marketing and Communications Director of the Thea Foundation, is deeply connection to the nonprofit’s mission of advocating arts across the state.
The arts are more than just a stress-reliever and confidence-booster, as Bowers explained, “[S]tudents who are involved in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. Students in low socioeconomic statuses who are highly active in the arts have a dropout rate that’s five times lower than their peers, and they’re twice as likely to graduate college. The arts are such a valuable asset to students. They need to be celebrated and encouraged as much as sports are in our schools.”
The Thea Foundation is able to continue work through donations and patron support.
“We see Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to share the stories of teachers and students across Arkansas who are benefiting from our programs and using them as a tool to keep the arts alive in Arkansas schools,” Bowers added. “If you’re not able to give, we are always looking for ambassadors; please, share our mission, our social media posts, and encourage your peers to donate if they can or spread the mission.”
Explore the various scholarships and programs available at Thea and get involved at https://www.theafoundation.org/.
civil justice: Aatj
Amy Johnson has been an executive director with Arkansas Access to Justice (AATJ) for eight years. The organization helps fund the cost of civil legal aid for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it on behalf of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas. Through these two organizations and funds raised through AATJ, lawyers help more than 13,000 Arkansans yearly.
Johnson outlined how Giving Tuesday impacts AATJ, “We believe that everyone deserves justice, regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they make. For AATJ, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for us to share the story of how civil legal aid makes this possible for the most vulnerable people in our state.”
Johnson believes that legal aid is one of the best-kept secrets in philanthropy, and a priority for lawyers. “Many of society’s most daunting challenges—poverty, hunger, poor health, homelessness, adverse childhood experiences—all have at their root issues that legal interventions can effectively address,” she explained.
Giving to AATJ helps combat those issues, and helps a myriad of those in need.
You can support AATJ by visiting arkansasjustice.org to donate, signing up as a volunteer, subscribing to the newsletter, and finding them on social media.
Art teacher John Bowman and a student show off a Chinese dragon she made using supplies granted by Thea’s Art Closet. (Photo by Mark Fonville)