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Uncommon Communities initiative begins its third year

Uncommon Communities initiative begins its third year

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (Sept. 5, 2017) — The third year of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s Uncommon Communities initiative will kick off this week with a meeting in Morrilton.

This year’s sessions will differ from previous years in that the bimonthly meetings will take place in the five counties – Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell – that are part of the initiative. First up is Conway County, which will host the two-day workshop beginning Thursday at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton. In past years, the bimonthly meetings were held at the Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain.

“This year’s sessions will highlight the good work that these five counties have been doing since the start of the program in 2015,” said Janet Harris, director of programs for the Rockefeller Institute. “In addition to bringing in speakers and hearing from our partnering experts, our participating community leaders will help one another assess the potential strengths and opportunities for improvement in each of their communities. They will report on their successes and help each other look ahead to a vibrant and sustainable 21st century economy in rural Arkansas.”

Uncommon Communities marries the wisdom and proven methodology of Dr. Vaughn Grisham, a celebrated community development expert and professor emeritus of sociology and founding director of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi, with the award-winning Breakthrough Solutions partnership – under the direction of Dr. Mark Peterson at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service – and the expertise of Dr. Roby Robertson, retired professor of public administration and former director of the Institute of Government at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Uncommon Communities began as a pilot program focusing on five counties in the vicinity of the Institute: Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell. All of these counties are largely rural and have poverty rates between 17 and 23 percent; lost 1,249 jobs between 2007 and 2013; and have unemployment rates that are 109 percent of the state average. Uncommon Communities serves as a model in addressing these critical issues in quality of living and community/economic development.

“The Institute partnered with Drs. Grisham, Peterson and Robertson to create Uncommon Communities because we know it’s the kind of work that Winthrop Rockefeller did,” Harris said. “Gov. Rockefeller made significant contributions to rural Arkansas through personal philanthropy and through policy initiatives. We know he would be proud of the progress these five communities have made over the past two years.”

This week’s session will feature two guest speakers: Greg Tehven, co-founder of Emerging Prairie in Fargo, N.D., and Charlotte Strickland, founder of Strickly Speaking and director of professional development and training at the University of Central Arkansas. While most of the two-day session is restricted only for the community leaders participating in the initiative, the two keynotes are open to public. Those interested in attending the keynote presentation should contact program officer Samantha Evans at 501-727-6257 or sevans@uawri.org.

For more information about Uncommon Communities, visit www.rockefellerinstitute.org/institute-programs/uncommon.

 

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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League of Historic American Theatres CEO to deliver keynote at Historic Theaters Conference

Ken Stein, president and CEO of the League of Historic American Theatres, will deliver the keynote address at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s Historic Theaters Conference, which will be held Thursday, Aug. 10, and Friday, Aug. 11. The conference represents a partnership between the Rockefeller Institute, the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council and the city of Morrilton.

Stein, an expert in preservation, fundraising, marketing and management within the arts, will speak about “The Power of the Historic Theatre,” which will explore a case study of a historic theater in Austin, Texas, that went from bankruptcy to being the most profitable arts organization in Texas’s capitol in just three years.

Stein has more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has raised more than $100 million in his work for various organizations.

“Ken’s vast experience in marketing arts organizations and his proven record of success make him an ideal keynote speaker for the Historic Theaters Conference,” said Janet Harris, director of programs for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. “His insights will be invaluable to our participants in their efforts to preserve and expand their local historic theaters.”

Stein will deliver his presentation at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10. The Historic Theaters Conference aims to equip engaged staff, volunteers and other interested people to preserve, promote and prosper the 22 historic theaters in Arkansas, as well as historic theaters in neighboring states. Registration, which includes the conference, overnight lodging at the Rockefeller Institute and all meals, is $75 for the first person from each community or organization and $50 for subsequent registrants from the same community or organization. More information and a link for registration can be found at www.rockefellerinstitute.org/theaters.

 

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Under 40 Forum report touts ways to heal state’s ‘fractures’

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (May 30, 2017) — The 2017 Under 40 Forum report was released this morning by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, the Clinton School of Public Service, Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. The report is being mailed to political, business and community leaders across the state and can be viewed online at www.rockefellerinstitute.org/2017under40report.

The report summarizes the discussions that took place March 2-3 at the Rockefeller Institute at the Under 40 Forum, which invited all 40 Under 40 honorees as designated by the two business publications in 2016 to engage in meaningful dialogue to address “Fractured Arkansas.” The topic sought to explore the various divisions – social, economic, cultural, political, etc. – that divide the state and hinder progress, and to offer solutions to those challenges.

A group of the 2017 Under 40 Forum participants met earlier today with Gov. Asa Hutchinson to discuss the report and expand on their findings.

“After my meeting with the Under 40 honorees at the Capitol on Tuesday morning, I am more confident than ever about the future of Arkansas,” Hutchinson said. “This generation of leaders have big ideas and the commitment to service that will help bring the ideas into reality. I applaud them for their hard work and clear thinking.”

One of the key issues identified in the report is a need for alternative approaches to education.

“It’s no surprise that education was a key part of the discussion at the Under 40 Forum,” said Dr. Marta Loyd, executive director of the Rockefeller Institute. “This topic was a highlight of their meeting with the governor. They championed a greater commitment to internships and mentorships for high school students. Building bridges between the business community and our schools was a clear priority.”

Another key theme of the report is leadership in cultural competency.

“The need for better understanding across cultural gaps is pretty clear,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service. “It was encouraging to have this impressive group of young leaders, from various cultural backgrounds, all working together and all willing to be honest with the governor about what they think is important.”

One of the recommendations in the report is for cultural competency to become a priority not just in the more populated portions of the state, but also in small towns and in corporate board rooms.

The Under 40 Forum began in 2016 as a partnership between the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, the Clinton School of Public Service, Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. It was supported this year by Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Simmons Bank, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Clinton School.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre returns to Winthrop Rockefeller Institute June 24 with The Taming of the Shrew

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre returns to Winthrop Rockefeller Institute June 24 with The Taming of the Shrew

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (May 26, 2017) — The Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre will return to Petit Jean Mountain for the fourth straight year with a performance of the Shakespeare classic The Taming of the Shrew. The free, family-friendly performance will be held Saturday, June 24, on the front lawn of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.

The performance of The Taming of the Shrew will cap off an afternoon of fun at the Rockefeller Institute, beginning with a free Shakespearean language workshop for ages 10 and older at 4:30 p.m. that will be led by Chad Bradford, director of The Taming of the Shrew. Following the workshop, visitors will have the chance to dine outdoors on the Institute’s lawn. Visitors may bring their own picnic dinner or purchase food from food trucks that will be on hand. The performance will then follow at 7 p.m.

“We look forward to this performance every year,” said Janet Harris, director of programs for the Rockefeller Institute. “Given his commitment to the arts and community engagement, we know Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller would be proud of this event.”

The Taming of the Shrew follows the tale of Petruchio as he tries to win the heart of “Kate the Curst.” The performance will include plenty of audience participation, sure to delight viewers of all ages.

“This play promises to be a lot of fun,” said Dr. Mary Ruth Marotte, executive director of the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. “Our experience at the Institute grows a little each year, and adding the workshop this year will provide yet another way for our audience to engage with Shakespeare.”

While admission is free, advance registration is required. For more information, including a link for registration, visit www.rockefellerinstitute.org/taming. Questions about the performance should be directed to Program Officer Payton Christenberry at pchristenberry@uawri.org.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Historic Theaters Conference to lift up ‘artistic lifeblood of community’

Historic Theaters Conference to lift up ‘artistic lifeblood of community’

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (May 17, 2017) — Historic theaters are far more than old buildings that represent a bygone era. For many small towns, they remain important centers of artistic activity.

That concept is the theme behind the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s Historic Theaters Conference, which will be held Thursday, Aug. 10, through Friday, Aug. 11, at the Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. The Rockefeller Institute is partnering with the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council and the City of Morrilton to present the conference.

“Historic theaters are often the artistic lifeblood of a community, and there are many ways to leverage their influence and preserve their future,” said Janet Harris, director of programs for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. “We look forward to sharing some of those strategies and re-energizing the efforts of those who care about historic theaters in Arkansas and in our neighboring states.”

The conference will bring in outside speakers to discuss a variety of topics, including innovative ways to utilize historic theaters that engage communities in new ways and also contribute to a theater’s sustainability. On this topic, the Rockefeller Institute will lead by example with a special art display that will be announced in the coming weeks.

Other topics include fundraising, marketing, preservation and more. In addition to hearing from key experts, the conference will include ample opportunities for those working on and passionate about historic theaters to network and share success stories.

“Historic theaters are frequently an important piece of a downtown renaissance,” said Stacy Hurst, Department of Arkansas Heritage director. “We feel this is an opportunity to help communities learn the value these historic theaters hold as resources for redevelopment and community revitalization.”

The conference is open to anyone who is interested in historic theaters, community arts programs and/or historic preservation. Admission for the conference, which covers registration, meals and lodging at the Rockefeller Institute’s premiere conference center, is $75 per person. After one person has registered representing a historic theater, community and/or arts organization, each additional person representing that same entity will be discounted to $50.

For more information, a conference agenda and a link for registration, visit www.rockefellerinstitute.org/theaters.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Landowners workshop to highlight income diversity potential for timber producers

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (Dec. 13, 2016) — A one-day workshop for timber producers and other landowners will be held at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute atop Petit Jean Mountain on Thursday, March 9. The workshop will cover a variety of topics, all related to helping landowners diversify their land’s income potential.

The workshop represents a partnership between the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, the Natural Resource Enterprise program at Mississippi State University and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service. Supporting the workshop are the Arkansas Forestry Association, the Arkansas Forestry Commission and the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

“This will be the third time we’ve partnered with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service and Mississippi State’s NRE program to hold one of these workshops,” said Janet Harris, director of programs for the Rockefeller Institute. “Our past participants came away from the workshops equipped with fresh ideas about how their land can do more for them. We are excited to partner with these great organizations again.”

Among the scheduled speakers are area landowner Henry Jones; Adam Tullos and Daryl Jones of the Mississippi State University NRE program; Clint Johnson of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission; Becky McPeake and Kyle Cunningham of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service; Matthew Vandiver of JWB Company Inc.; and Nick Livers of Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC.

Topics to be covered at the workshop include outdoor business revenue potential and considerations; premises liability and legal considerations; forest management; estate planning; wildlife habitat management; and opportunities to see management prescriptions on a field tour.

“The field tour is always a highlight of these workshops,” Tullos said. “Nothing beats being able to get outdoors and seeing the concepts being discussed applied to real situations.”

This workshop’s focus on timber-producing land is a new angle for workshops held at the Institute.

“Our state is rich with timber land, and many farms that have grazing land or row-crop operations also produce timber,” McPeake said. “This workshop will be a great opportunity for many farmers to learn about things like wildlife management, restoration of native plant communities, estate planning and even the Farm Bill.”

To find more information or to register, go to RockefellerInstitute.org/forestry or contact Program Officer Samantha Evans at 501-727-6257 or sevans@uawri.org.

About Natural Resource Enterprises

The Natural Resource Enterprises program at Mississippi State University is a research and outreach program of the MSU Extension Service, MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

About the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture makes a positive impact for that key industry through the research done by the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and the teaching done by the Cooperative Extension Service. Its mission is to advance the stewardship of natural resources and the environment, cultivate the improvement of agriculture and agribusiness, develop leadership skills and productive citizenship among youth and adults, enhance economic security and financial responsibility among the citizens of the state, ensure a safe, nutritious food supply, improve the quality of life in communities across Arkansas, and strengthen Arkansas families. You'll find the Division in all 75 Arkansas counties, on five university campuses, at five research and extension centers and at eight branch experiment stations.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Winthrop Rockefeller Institute releases 2017 culinary class lineup

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (Nov. 7, 2016) — The 2017 schedule of culinary classes at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute was recently released and can be accessed at www.rockefellerinstittue.org/culinary.

The culinary classes, led by Certified Executive Chef Robert Hall, offer a variety of experiences for aspiring chefs of all skill levels – from “I’ve been cooking all my life” to “How do you boil water again?”

Returning to the culinary lineup is the ever-popular Table for Two, a date-night experience in which couples learn to cook a delicious four-course dinner under the instruction of Chef Hall. Other favorites like Made From Scratch – a demonstration class centered around specific culinary themes – and the Saturday Chef Series – a more hands-on approach to various culinary styles – are also back.

New to the 2017 lineup is Taste Test, a demonstration class in which participants will have the opportunity to taste styles of a particular ingredient from all over the world. Some of the ingredients that will be featured include hot sauce, chocolate, olive oil, tomatoes and bacon.

“The world is a cornucopia of flavor,” Hall said. “With this new class, we get to explore the amazing ways that different cultures treat the same ingredients. It promises to be a lot of fun, very yummy, and we’ll learn some things along the way.”

All of the Institute’s culinary offerings are listed at www.rockefellerinstitute.org/culinary, with links to registration for each category of class. Group reservations are available, and classes are perfect for a girls’ (or guys’) night out, a church or civic group activity, part of a weekend getaway or just because.

Beyond entertainment, the Institute’s culinary classes are intended to be informative and to strip away common fears and misconceptions about cooking.

“One of the central purposes of the Institute’s culinary program is to show how easy it is to cook from scratch,” Hall said. “It is my desire to help individuals and families return to ‘old-fashioned,’ ‘do-it-yourself,’ ‘made from scratch’ meal preparation. This will drastically reduce the use of processed foods, thus immediately making our diets healthier.

“By learning and using a handful of culinary techniques and methods, you can cook almost anything; it is my mission to provide you with several avenues to learn and master those skills.”

For more information, visit the website, email Chef Hall at rhall@uawri.org or call 501-727-5435.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Entrepreneurship expert to speak at Uncommon Communities

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (Oct. 21, 2016) — The keynote address for the November session of Uncommon Communities will be delivered by Steve Radley, president and CEO of NetWork Kansas.

Radley’s presentation, “The Entrepreneurship Edge: Creating a More Entrepreneurial Community,” will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute atop Petit Jean Mountain.

Radley’s address is open to the public and free of charge, though advance registration is required. Lunch can be purchased during registration.

Radley began his career in the private sector as the 28th employee of technology startup Brite Voice Systems, which grew from a worth of $6 million to more than $175 million. Since then, Radley has co-owned two businesses and serves on boards and advisory councils for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and various centers for entrepreneurship at higher education universities across the Midwest. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Wichita State University and a Master of Arts in Christian ministry from Friends University.

“Too often we get locked in to thinking about economic development as trying to attract the next super project,” said Janet Harris, director of programs for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. “Steve Radley will bring a refreshing perspective and key insight into the concept of ‘economic gardening,’ or how we grow our own success through entrepreneurialism.”

According to its website, “NetWork Kansas is devoted to the growth of entrepreneurship and small businesses throughout the state of Kansas. Our mission is to promote an entrepreneurial environment by providing a central portal that connects entrepreneurs and small business owners with the right resources—Expertise, Education and Economic Resources—when they are needed most. In pursuit of this mission, we partner with well-respected business development organizations and educational institutions that work with entrepreneurs and small business owners who have the vision and potential to succeed. The result is a seamless system that accelerates economic and community development in Kansas.”

To register or to learn more, go to www.rockefellerinstitute.org/uncommon or contact Program Officer Cary Tyson at ctyson@uawri.org.

Uncommon Communities is a community and economic development initiative that provides participants, chosen by their respective communities, the opportunity to attend five carefully crafted sessions at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute over the course of a year. Each of the five counties in the pilot group – Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell – is invited to send six participants to the sessions, which are held for a day and a half, every other month. The sessions were designed based on feedback from the counties when asked what skills and resources they needed to accomplish their goals and include: community leadership development, economic development in the new economy; tourism, marketing and branding; quality of place and placemaking; and exemplary communities moving forward. Each session brings renowned speakers from across the United States plus throughout Arkansas. In addition, many of the sessions are interactive and give participants the opportunity to work in groups and learn from other participating counties.

Uncommon Communities marries the wisdom and proven methodology of Dr. Vaughn Grisham, a celebrated community development expert and professor emeritus of sociology and founding director of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi, with the award-winning Breakthrough Solutions partnership – under the direction of Dr. Mark Peterson at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service – and the expertise of Dr. Roby Robertson, retired professor of public administration and former director of the Institute of Government at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Uncommon Communities initiative begins year 2

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (Sept. 2, 2016) — The Uncommon Communities initiative that launched last fall is set to begin its second year of community and economic development work in Arkansas.

There are a number of tangible signs of success for the first year of Uncommon Communities, including a joint community beautification project between Russellville and Dardanelle called Paint the River Valley; improvements to parks in Perry County; and a new economic development effort for Conway County.

But the greatest value in the initiative may lie in the relationships it’s building, and the visible results of those are still developing.

“The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute started this initiative with the idea that there is great power in collaboration,” said Janet Harris, director of programs for the Institute. “What we have been most pleased with is seeing communities that were once rivals – like Russellville and Dardanelle or Clinton and Fairfield Bay – come together to work toward common goals.”

Uncommon Communities is a community and economic development initiative that provides participants, chosen by their respective communities, the opportunity to attend five carefully crafted sessions at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute over the course of a year. Each of the five counties in the pilot group – Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell – is invited to send six participants to the sessions, which are held for a day and a half, every other month. The sessions were designed based on feedback from the counties when asked what skills and resources they needed to accomplish their goals and include: community leadership development, economic development in the new economy; tourism, marketing and branding; quality of place and placemaking; and exemplary communities moving forward. Each session brings renowned speakers from across the United States plus throughout Arkansas. In addition, many of the sessions are interactive and give participants the opportunity to work in groups and learn from other participating counties.

Uncommon Communities marries the wisdom and proven methodology of Dr. Vaughn Grisham, a celebrated community development expert and professor emeritus of sociology and founding director of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi, with the award-winning Breakthrough Solutions partnership – under the direction of Dr. Mark Peterson at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service – and the expertise of Dr. Roby Robertson, retired professor of public administration and former director of the Institute of Government at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Jackie Sikes, owner of the Dirty Farmers Market and Greater Good Café in Clinton, said her involvement in Uncommon Communities has been invaluable.

“The connections I’ve made, the people I’ve met, it has opened up a whole new window of information and opportunity,” Sikes said. “You have to get out there and get with other people who have the same struggles and the same concerns. This program has given us that chance.”

The first session of year two will be held Friday, Sept. 9, and Saturday, Sept. 10, with a focus on leadership development. For more information, visit RockefellerInstitute.org/uncommon.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at RockefellerInstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

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Commitment to diversity, pre-K expansion among top priorities in Under 40 Forum report

PETIT JEAN MOUNTAIN, Ark. (July 20, 2016) — In a report released today, leaders under the age of 40 from across the state identified key issues for retaining and recruiting young talent to Arkansas.

The report, composed by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, is the result of the Under 40 Forum, a two-day summit held April 1-2 by the Institute and the Clinton School of Public Service. The summit brought together the 2015 40 Under 40 honorees as designated by Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. More than 30 of the honorees attended and participated in a facilitated discussion about opportunities and hurdles related to talent recruitment and retention. This was the first meeting of its kind with the Under 40 honorees.

Among the highlights of the report are recommendations for businesses and government to do more to embrace diversity; expansion of the state’s pre-K opportunities; and commitment to increasing broadband access across the state.

“This report is important because it represents the next generation of leaders in Arkansas,” said Dr. Marta Loyd, executive director of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute. “These leaders chose to make a life in Arkansas, and they were forthright in articulating the challenges and opportunities they’re facing. Through participation in the Forum, they came to realize their role in being a part of the solution. We hope state and community leaders will heed their recommendations.”

Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, said that while many of the issues addressed in the report are not brand-new concepts, what makes it meaningful is the group from which it comes.

“These young leaders represent the future of our state," Rutherford said. "They are engaged; they are smart; and they know what it will take for Arkansas to realize all of its potential. This is a group whose voices need to be heard.”

Copies of the report are being sent to each member of the Legislature, as well as other government and business leaders across Arkansas, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Hutchinson kicked off the Under 40 Forum in April with an address and question-and-answer session with the attendees. In his address, he praised the group for their willingness to engage in a search for solutions to the state’s most pressing challenges.

“You are really a key part of the success we’re going to have in the future,” Hutchinson said to close his address to the honorees.

The report can be downloaded by visiting www.rockefellerinstitute.org/Under40Report. Plans for the second annual Under 40 Forum have been set for March 2017.

About the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

In 2005, the University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. By integrating the resources and expertise of the University of Arkansas System with the legacy and ideas of Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center creates an atmosphere where collaboration and change can thrive.

Program areas include Agriculture, Arts and Humanities, Civic Engagement, Economic Development, and Health. To learn more, call 501-727-5435, visit the website at www.rockefellerinstitute.org, or stay connected through Twitter and Facebook.

 

About the Clinton School of Public Service

The first school in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service gives students the knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer or private sector service.

A two-year graduate program with a real-world curriculum, the Clinton School is located on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Ark. The school embodies former President Clinton’s vision of building leadership in civic engagement and enhancing people’s capacity to work across disciplinary, racial, ethnic and geographical boundaries. For more information, visit www.clintonschool.uasys.edu.

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