Arkansas Community Foundation on Thursday joined a growing list of organizations and government agencies attempting to aid the recovery effort after last week’s tornado damage. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman reports.
From their office in Conway the non-profit’s President Heather Larkin announced plans to distribute grants to a myriad of organizations with the intent of supporting intermediate and long-term rebuilding.
“The needs of those communities affected on the 27th will not end with food, water, and shelter in the immediate short term. There’s a long and difficult road ahead,” said Larkin.
Larkin said the foundation raised over $135,000 on the first day of the fund’s launch. It received its largest contribution – amounting to $125,000 – from ExxonMobil. Speaking after the announcement ExxonMobil’s Vice President of operations, Karen Tyrone, said the donation is not about generating good publicity for the company whose oil pipeline ruptured in Mayflower over a year ago.
But she did suggest it is related to the company’s relationship with the area because of the oil spill.
“Clearly over the past year we’ve developed a relationship with Faulkner County, with Vilonia, with Mayflower and we’ve become part of that community and just felt a need that we wanted to part of the recovery,” said Tyrone.
Tyrone said Arkansas Community Foundation, in existence since 1976, was chosen as a recipient of ExxonMobil’s contribution in part because of the foundation’s localized decision making process.
“We’re thrilled that they’re putting together a committee of local people who will know where to apply these funds to make the biggest impact,” said Tyrone.
The foundation has recent experience in assisting with long-term recovery efforts. In 2007 it dispersed grants over a 24 month period to residents in Dumas affected by tornados.
I’m Jacob Kauffman, KUAR News.