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Northark Foundation

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Foundation Mission Statement

The North Arkansas College Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit corporation organized to enhance the mission of North Arkansas College through financial support of programs and facilities for broader educational opportunities for the college's students, faculty, and staff.

About the Foundation 

    The North Arkansas College Foundation was reorganized in March of 1985.  It is a separate entity from the College and has its own board that approves all expenditures and actions taken by the Foundation.

    The members of the Foundation board are elected by the Foundation board and serve five-year terms.  Nominations for election to the board may be made either by Foundation board members or members of the College's board of trustees.

    Since the Foundation's reorganization, it has enjoyed remarkable growth and has supplied funding for several major projects at Northark.  Over $400,000 for the construction of the College's South Campus library, which was completed in June of 1992, came from gifts to the Foundation.  Another $250,000 was received from the state in the form of matching funds as a result of those donations.

     The Foundation raised more than $600,000 for the John Paul Hammerschmidt Business and Conference Center, dedicated by former President George H.W. Bush in 1997, and the College qualified for an additional $320,000 in state matching funds as a result of the private gifts, bringing the total effort to almost $1 million for the business building.

    Over $900,000 in private gifts were received for the Bill Baker Amphitheatre, named in honor of Dr. Bill Baker, Northark’s first president.  Also, the Foundation purchased 8.97 acres for $330,152 across from the South Campus in 2001-2002 for future Northark expansion.

    In 2005 North Arkansas College purchased what is now its Center Campus (the former Regions Plaza) near downtown Harrison.  Northark bought the property for $1.2 million with funds generated by local property taxes.  The Foundation raised $1.25 million towards the cost of renovation of the facility, including a $500,000 bequest from the estate of the late L.E. “Gene” Durand.

    The former bank portion of the building, named in memory of Durand, is a 22,000-square-foot multipurpose facility designed to meet a variety of long-standing local needs.  The Durand Center has the capacity to host a banquet for more than 400 guests or a lecture-type meeting for nearly twice that number while simultaneously hosting separate events in six other meeting rooms, each named in honor of a gift to the Foundation, for over 175 additional participants.

     A $500,000 gift from William P. and Dr. Susan E. Stiritz enabled Northark to renovate its South Campus student services areas in 2010.  The Bradley Student Center, a 13,103 square-foot, $1.3 million renovation that provides a “one-stop-shop” for student services, is named in memory of Bill Stiritz’s grandparents, William “Doc” and Cora Bradley.

    Some of the Foundation's main activities are its Annual Fund Drive, which runs each fiscal year from July 1 through June 30; the 3-Person Scramble Golf Tournament presented by FedEx Freight and held each September;  John Paul Hammerschmidt Lecture Series presentations; a Scholarship Donors Luncheon each November; Oktoberfest, Northark’s Business After Hours event for the Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce, each October; an Economic Update Breakfast Series presented each summer and winner, sponsored by  Centurion Financial Services and Porterfield Killingsworth CPA; and the "Evening on the Plaza" dinner, which is held each May.

    Guest speakers at early Evening on the Plaza dinners included former U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt in 1986 and Senator Dale Bumpers in 1988.  There was no speaker for the 1987 dinner (Senator Bumpers was delayed in Washington).  The event was moved from fall to spring during 1989-90, so there was no 1989 dinner.

    In 1990 the Foundation established the Ozarks Ambassador Award, which is presented each year at the Evening on the Plaza Dinner.  The award is given to someone from northern Arkansas who has represented the area with distinction nationwide in one or more of the following fields: agriculture, finance, medicine, education, politics, law, business, social services, the ministry, the arts, or industry.

    Robert M. Eagle of Dallas, TX, was the first recipient in 1990 of the Ozarks Ambassador Award.  Others honored with the award include James H. Jones of San Francisco, CA, (1991); David R. Banks of Fort Smith (1992); William P. Stiritz of St. Louis, MO, (1993); James F. Keenan of Palm Beach, FL, (1994); Dr. Ronald C. Jones of Dallas, TX, (1995); Tom and Don Salmon of Little Rock (1996); John Paul Hammerschmidt of Harrison (1997); C.D. Wright of Barrington, RI, (1998); Sheridan Garrison of Harrison (1999); David Perry of Mountain View, Calif., (2000); University of Arkansas Chancellor Emeritus Dr. John A. White (2002); former Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Holt, Jr., of Little Rock (2003); Northark graduate and former Tyson Foods General Counsel Les Baledge of Fayetteville (2004); John Arthur Hammerschmidt of Washington, D.C., (2006); Ranger Boats founder Forrest Wood of Flippin (2007); Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hannah of Little Rock (2008); State Rep. Uvalde Lindsey of Fayetteville (2009); Ozarks painters William McNamara and Kate Nessler and photographer Tim Ernst (2010); and Dallas-based interior designer John Phifer Marrs (2012).

    The award was not presented in 2001, 2005, or 2011.  Instead, the Foundation recognized retiring North Arkansas College President Dr. Bill Baker at the BBB Bar-B-Que and Blow-Out in 2001, honored former Twin Lakes Vocational Technical School Director Weldon Stevenson in 2005, and welcomed new Northark President Dr. Jackie Elliott in 2011.  The selection committee for the Ozarks Ambassador Award includes Dr. Jackie Elliott, Cathy Brandt (chair), Dan Bowers, Marcille Lawrence, and former Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt.

    Kathy Deck, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, was our first speaker at the Economic Update Breakfast Series, which is held at the Durand Center.  She presented in August of 2009 and returned for the August 2010 and August 2011 breakfasts.  Dr. Michael R. Pakko, Chief Economist and State Economic Forecaster at the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, presented at the January 2010 event.  FedEx Chief Economist Dr. Gene Huang spoke in January of 2011, and Jeff Davis, senior vice president and treasurer of Walmart, was the January 2012 presenter.  The next event is slated for August 22, 2012 and will feature Kathy Deck.

    The Foundation conducts an Annual Fund Drive.  Over the past 26 years the fund drive has generated over $8.4 million in gifts from more than 1,700 different donors for a variety of Northark projects, including scholarships, endowed chairs for faculty development, the John Paul Hammerschmidt Lecture Series, computer labs, facilities, and programs.  In all, since it was reorganized in 1985, the Foundation generated nearly $10 million in charitable donations to benefit North Arkansas College.

     The Foundation's annual fund drive has grown from $12,800 during its first year in 1986-87 to $17,482 in 1987-1988,  $25,734 in 1988-1989, $40,301 in 1989-1990, $55,100 in 1990-1991, $68,753 in 1991-1992, $297,942 in 1992-1993, $301,550 in 1993-1994, $234,187 in 1994-1995, $384,549 in 1995-1996, $312,199 in 1996-1997, $361,926 in 1997-1998, $165,000 in 1998-1999, $1.17 million in 1999-2000, $167,550 in 2000-2001, $220,592 in 2001-2002, $434,501 in 2002-2003, $336,704 in 2003-2004, $664,226 in 2004-2005, $245,744 in 2005-2006,  $848,709 in 2006-2007, $526,530 in 2007-2008, $349,814 in 2008-2009, $557,075 in 2009-2010, $271,973 in 2010-2011, and $336,925 in 2011-2012.  It is important to note, however, that more than 90 percent of fund drive donations are designated for a specific purpose, such as scholarships or building projects, and limited funds are available for new projects.  More unrestricted AFD donations are needed.

    Since 1988-89, the Foundation has sponsored a Faculty/Staff Fund Drive.  As a result of that campaign, over 80 percent of Northark employees have made donations to the Foundation over the years.  The Foundation periodically conducts a community-wide Phonathon in late February or early March during the fund drive.  Funds are raised during this activity with the help of North Arkansas College’s Phi Beta Lambda students.

    Thirteen donors have established Endowed Chairs to benefit instruction at North Arkansas College through gifts to the Foundation.  Income from these gifts provides grants through the Endowed Chairs Program to recognize and reward faculty excellence by funding projects in faculty and/or program development.  The following Endowed Chairs funds at Northark have been established: Arvest Bank Endowed Chair in Instruction, Robert M. Eagle Endowed Chair in Instruction, Gene and Betty Durand Endowed Chair in Instruction, J.D. and Judy Erwin Endowed Chair in Nursing and Allied Health, FedEx Freight Endowed Chair in Business and Technology, First National Bank in Green Forest Endowed Chair in Business and Technology (given in memory of J. Frank Stafford and Clyde Stafford), Dr. J. G. Gladden Endowed Chair in Nursing and Allied Health, John Paul Hammerschmidt/First Federal Bank Endowed Chair in Instruction, Roger and Patty Harness Endowed Chair in Instruction, Woodrow Magness Endowed Chair in Automotive Service Technology, Francis R. Miller Endowed Chair in Instruction, William P. and Susan Stiritz Endowed Chair in the Humanities., and Windgate Foundation Endowed Chair in the Visual Arts.   

    A series of luncheons is sponsored annually for donors of endowed chair awards at Northark.  These Foundation luncheons are designed to bring together endowed chair donors and faculty recipients.  Each instructor reports on how he or she used funds awarded, and the event offers Northark an opportunity to express its appreciation to the donors.

    From time to time Foundation board members host individual community leaders for lunch and a tour of the college.  These tours provide business and industry leaders with information about programs and services offered on the College’s South, North, and Center campuses.

     Historically, the Foundation has sponsored a number of worthy projects at North Arkansas College, including funds for the Honors Program's startup costs, staff development projects and workshops, a monthly “Classified Staff Customer Service Star” award, equipment, scholarships, and other activities when regular college funding was not available.

     Each year the Foundation organizes a 3-Person Scramble Golf Tournament at the Harrison Country Club to fund scholarships and instructional technology.  The tourney has netted over $350,000 in 13 years.

      During the 1999-2000 academic year Northark started its John Paul Hammerschmidt Lecture Series, which is sponsored by gifts to the North Arkansas College Foundation.  Dr. Jerry Linenger, a retired U.S. Navy Captain and NASA Astronaut whose mission aboard the Russian space station Mir was one of the most dramatic and dangerous in space history, delivered the first JPH Lecture Sept. 11, 1999.  Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the alpine guide featured in the blockbuster IMAX film “Everest,” gave the second lecture April 6, 2000.  During 2000-2001, former CIA officers Tony and Jonna Mendez, and syndicated columnist and historian Dr. Gwynne Dyer presented JPH Lectures.

       In 2001-2002, former Vietnam prisoner of war Colonel Edward L. Hubbard and 1972 Olympic 800-meter run champion Dave Wottle were speakers in the lecture series.  The 2002 fall lecture was presented by New York fireman Chief Richard Picciotto, one of the heroes of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, and the spring lecture in 2003 was delivered by Harrison native Frederick (Ted) Tims on the effects of music on health.

    The next four lectures were presented by Savant Syndrome expert Dr. Darold A. Treffert (fall, 2003), retired Wal-Mart board senior vice-chairman Donald G. Soderquist on ethical leadership (spring, 2004), “Homeless to Harvard” heroine Liz Murray (fall, 2004), and retired Navy Commander Scott Waddle on the tragic collision of the USS Greeneville and the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru (spring, 2005).

    The fall of 2005 speaker was Arkansas Democrat-Gazette staff writer and Iraq war correspondent Amy Schlesing, and animator/filmmaker Gary Goldman was in Harrison during the spring of 2006.  Keith Jackson, the former pro and college football great, was featured in the fall of 2006, and J.L. “Skip” Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, presented the spring 2007 lecture.

    Sportswriter and author of Horns, Hogs, & Nixon Coming: Texas vs. Arkansas in Dixie’s Last Stand Terry Frei talked in the fall of 2007 about the famous 1969 Arkansas-Texas shootout,  award-winning journalist Juan Williams of “Fox News Sunday” spoke in the spring of 2008, pollster John Zogby presented the fall 2008 lecture, wilderness photographer Tim Ernst drew a record crowd for his Buffalo River photographs in the spring of 2009, Ozarks historian Dr. Brooks Blevin discussed the origins of Arkansas’ hillbilly image in the spring of 2010, and James P. Owen discussed “Cowboy Ethics” in the fall of 2010.

    Northwest Arkansas television anchor Neile Jones, author of Look Again…Because You Can, spoke in the summer of 2011 on her experiences overcoming domestic abuse.  The fall, 2011 lecture featured singer, songwriter and Broadway star Larry Gatlin.  The Grammy-winning entertainment legend talked about people who had affected his life, “Because They Cared,” and sang some of his hit songs, including “All The Gold In California.”

    An objective of the North Arkansas College Foundation is to strengthen its planned giving program.  Robert Plummer, an attorney from Fayetteville, made a presentation to the board at its June, 1994, meeting on planned giving.  An ad-hoc planned giving committee, chaired by Dan Bowers, was formed to look into developing a planned giving program for Foundation donors.  As a result, several major gifts have been designated for the Foundation in trusts established by local donors.  The Foundation has a planned giving committee, now chaired by Jerry Pinson, and periodically hosts estate-planning workshops for area attorneys, certified public accountants, and financial advisors. A $50,000 bequest from Martha Milburn to fund Chapter AG, PEO Scholarships is the most recent example of a planned gift to the Foundation.  Byron M. Eiseman, Junior, managing partner of Friday, Eldredge & Clark, Arkansas’ largest law firm, was the featured presenter at the Foundation’s most recent Charitable Gift Planning Seminar, which was held Oct. 7, 2011.

    The Foundation publishes two newsletters annually.  The fall newsletter highlights the previous fiscal year and announces new programs.  The spring newsletter features the Ozarks Ambassador Award recipient and promotes the Evening on the Plaza dinner.

     The North Arkansas College Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit, charitable corporation, holding a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service (federal tax ID #71-0486926).