Grants awarded to help with tornado recovery efforts

Grants totaling $241,836 have been awarded by the Arkansas Community Foundation to support the ongoing recovery effort in Faulkner County following the devastating April 27 tornado.

These grants, selected through a community-based process, will fund long-term planning and rebuilding projects in Mayflower, Vilonia and the surrounding areas.

“Funding for these grants comes from generous Arkansans and local business partners who stepped up in the weeks after the storm,” said Heather Larkin, president and CEO of the Arkansas Community Foundation. “The needs of our neighbors in Faulkner County will continue for months and years to come, and we hope these grants will serve as a starting point for future investments in the ongoing recovery of these communities.”

“We’re grateful to ExxonMobil, Pfizer and Arkansas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners, whose generous gifts to the fund in the days following the tornado enabled Arkansas Community Foundation to leverage the support and guidance of dozens of other supporters and to maximize the impact of these grants,” said David Johnson, the Community Foundation’s vice president of community investment.

Grants from the Faulkner County Disaster Recovery Fund were selected by a committee of Faulkner County residents. The committee included Preston Scroggin, Faulkner County Judge Allen Dodson, Fred Fowlkes, Lindsay Henderson, Kent Stubbs and Charles Weaver. A common theme among the grants awarded is their emphasis on rebuilding public landmarks and planning ahead for future safety and economic growth.

Grants will support the following projects:
•    Support for Long-Term Recovery Committees: Both Mayflower and Vilonia have established committees to oversee long-term rebuilding efforts. Grants to the Vilonia Disaster Recovery Alliance and Mayflower Interfaith Partners Alliance will support the ongoing operation of these organizations and assist with construction projects already under way.
•    City Planning Efforts for Vilonia and Mayflower: A grant to Central Arkansas Planning and Development District will enable the completion of comprehensive rebuilding plans (including street plans, architectural renderings, planning documents and marketing strategies) for Vilonia and Mayflower.
•    Repairing White City Park: A grant to the Faulkner County Long Term Recovery Board will fund repairs to the badly damaged White City Park.
•    Rebuilding Vilonia Veteran’s Museum: A grant will assist in restoring the contents of the museum facility, which was virtually destroyed by the tornado.
•    Building a Community Safe Room: A grant to Faulkner County will support the construction of a low-cost underground storm safety room for Vilonia.
•    Rebuilding Vilonia Playground: A grant to the City of Vilonia will enable the city to repair and/or replace damaged playground equipment at City Park.
•    Storm Alert Siren: A grant to the City of Mayflower will support the purchase and installation of two new omnidirectional sirens to ensure preparedness in the event of an imminent future natural disaster.

In the aftermath of the April 27 tornado, Arkansas Community Foundation created the Faulkner County Disaster Recovery Fund specifically to support intermediate and long-term recovery needs. The fund is intended to help bridge the gap between the initial burst of giving during the earliest days of recovery and the ongoing needs that will continue to emerge as residents rebuild homes and businesses, communities evaluate public infrastructure and zoning and new safety measures are put into place.

“We’ve learned from past disaster recovery operations that there is a strong, immediate charitable response to disasters, but over time those investments slow,” said Laura Olson, a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency working on the rebuilding effort in Faulkner County. “It’s important for local community foundations to invest in recovery projects in order to open the door to further funding from national philanthropic organizations and investment from long-term partners.”

Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps.  

Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $108 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state. Contributions to the Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 27 affiliates are fully tax deductible. Learn more at