Q&A with Jacquelene Ott with Johnson County Community Foundation for 1 Million Meals

Wednesday, April 26 at 05:10 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We’re kicking off our seventh annual 1 Million Meals initiative with Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF), an affiliate of the Arkansas Community Foundation, which  has been serving people in Johnson County, Ark. for 14 years. Our initiative seeks to raise one million meals for the children, elderly and others in need across the 120+ communities we serve in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Jacquelene Ott, executive director with JCFF, got us up-to-speed on the great work her organization is doing.

What's your involvement with Johnson County Community Foundation, and how did you get started?
I am the executive director of JCCF and have served as such for three years.Before that, I served on the board of directors for 11 years. I learned quickly that JCCF is an effective, efficient way to make the biggest impact for people in Johnson County in the most helpful ways. Understanding this, I have been a part of this organization now for the last 14 years.

What's a compelling experience you've had during your time with JCCF?
JCCF provides grants to all legitimate nonprofits in Johnson County, Ark., including schools, government entities, all 501(c)(3) organizations, churches, food banks, etc. As executive director, I have seen thousands of people fed during the holidays. I have had the pleasure of providing freezers to local food banks for added storage capacity. I have seen families lined up outside churches waiting for food. In particular, I talked with a little boy on Christmas Eve and told him that in just a few minutes he would be served a lot of wonderful food and sweets later. His response to me was extremely sad. He looked up and said, "I don't ever think about food, that way I don't get sick so much when I don't have any."

How can people get involved with JCCF?
We have a Stop Hunger Endowment that has a little over $1,000 spendable balance. If people could contribute to this endowment, the spendable balance will grow and (in tum), we will feed more people. We try to provide funds for food banks, churches, and school backpack programs twice a year to keep families and children fed as best we can.

To donate to JCCF:

  • Contact Jackie Ott at (479) 754-5842.
  • Contact the Arkansas Community Foundation Office at 1400 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72201 or arcf.org* or (888) 220-2723. Tell them you want to contribute to hunger relief in Johnson County, Ark.

We’d love to have you involved in our 1 Million Meals initiative to help Johnson County Community Foundation and our other food partners.  

Four Easy Ways to Donate:
  • Donate via Phone – Customers can make a $1 (or more) donation by calling (866) 952-9523. Funds will be drawn directly from your Arvest account.
  • Donate via Mail – Mail a check to Arvest Bank Operations, ATTN: 1MM, P.O. Box 799, Lowell, AR 72745. Include 1 Million Meals in the memo line of the check.
  • Donate in a Branch – Stop by your local Arvest Bank branch. Cash and check contributions accepted.
  • Donate Arvest Flex Rewards™ – Customers can redeem points for a 1 Million Meals donation. Log in at arvestflexrewards.com, and click on the banner for 1 Million Meals to get started!
We’ll Donate $1 Each Time You:
  • Follow us on Instagram.
  • Like or share our 1 Million Meals Facebook posts.
  • Retweet our 1 Million Meals tweets on Twitter on April 21 and May 10.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.      

Tags: 1 Million Meals, Arkansas, Charitable Giving, Community Support, Fort Smith
 

Foti Shares Arvest’s Commitment to the Community

Friday, April 07 at 07:55 AM
Category: Arvest Community News
Rick Foti may be retired, but he still carries a business card. 

"Rick Foti. Retired. 40 Years in Education. 8 Years Feeding the Hungry."

Those are the words on Foti’s card, and its sentiments resonate in a particularly strong way this time of year. That’s because the fact many children don’t have access to the same meals during the summer that they receive at the schools they attend during the academic year is one of the reasons Arvest Bank is conducting its 1 Million Meals campaign during April and May for the second consecutive year.

Foti served as CEO of Community Services Clearinghouse in Fort Smith, Ark., for eight years. Among its many programs that benefit five counties in Arkansas and two in Oklahoma, Clearinghouse currently serves more than 2,400 children with its Meals for Kids/Backpack Program.

When Foti retired, Arvest gave him two small tokens of appreciation for his impact on the community and fighting hunger in particular – an Arvest ball cap and an Arvest beanie. Since then, Foti has traveled all around the globe, taking his Arvest headwear nearly every step of the way.

From sporting the cap at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii to donning the beanie in Iceland, Foti has taken the Arvest name far from its four-state footprint. It was during a walk around his neighborhood lake, though, that Foti almost lost one of his treasured hats.

A gust of wind, it seems, blew the ball cap into the lake and out of Foti’s reach. Resigned to the fact he’d lost the cap, Foti continued his walk, only to spot it washed ashore farther along his path.

Now Foti is ready to take his Arvest caps on new adventures, and we applaud his spirit. More than his fun-loving side, though Arvest salutes Foti’s longtime commitment to his community, one that we and Clearinghouse share.

If you’d like to show your commitment to the community by joining our fight against hunger, please visit arvest.com/millionmeals to learn how you can help. 
 
Tags: 1 Million Meals, Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith
 

Arvest Hires Drennan as Regional Investment Officer in Fort Smith, Ark.

Thursday, March 02 at 05:55 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Industry veteran to serve Fort Smith, River Valley and Eastern Oklahoma.

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Darin Drennan has been hired as a regional investment officer for Arvest Wealth Management (AWM).

Drennan has worked in the financial services industry since 2001, helping clients with their financial goals. As regional investment officer, Drennan will focus on working with high net worth clients on asset allocation, risk management, diversification and legacy planning.

Drennan prefers a holistic approach of guiding clients through the intricacies of pursuing their life goals, and will work with a team of AWM client advisors and trust officers to properly manage their resources. He will serve the Fort Smith, River Valley and eastern Oklahoma regions for AWM.

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Fort Smith, Press Release
 

Malinda McSpadden Feeds Hungry – People Helping People Series

Thursday, February 16 at 01:40 PM
Category: People Helping People

Malinda McSpadden has found a niche with helping to feed the hungry – delivering food to people’s homes. 

"We figured out several years ago that we would have to deliver to really get it to the people who really need it," McSpadden said in regards to the Thanksgiving meal she served to over 200 Alma, Ark., residents in 2016. But, she doesn’t stop there. Malinda also focuses her volunteering efforts on young families.

To learn how Malinda helps feed the hungry and build up young families, read her story at the Times Record*. 

Malinda’s story is part of Arvest Bank’s People Helping People series featuring citizens giving back to their community. 

Keep an eye on our social media channels for more stories highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves. 

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith, People Helping People
 

Six Banks Collaborate to Award $29K in Grant Funds to Revitalize Downtown Fort Smith, Ark.

Monday, December 12 at 06:25 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Grant funds to be used for urban planning development plans.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Downtown Fort Smith, Ark., is getting a boost with the help of $29,900 in Partnership Grant Program (PGP) funds, presented today to Strategic Community Investments (SCI). The grant funds will be used for research and studies related to the development of the urban planning development plan for downtown Fort Smith. 

Mayor Sandy Sanders joined representatives from Arvest Bank, Bank of the Ozarks, Centennial Bank, First National Bank, Simmons Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), as well as other project stakeholders, to award the grant. 

“Great change cannot occur without great partnerships,” said Mayor Sanders. “Through the Partnership Grant Program, these six banks exemplify the true meaning of partnership and commitment to community. I look forward to the changes that will occur as a result of the grants.” 

SCI Development Officer Talicia Richardson worked with the banks during the grant application process. Through project collaborator 64.6 Downtown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the economic development of Fort Smith, SCI is funding the services of Gateway Planning, an urban design, planning, and development consulting firm, to finalize the plans to revitalize downtown Fort Smith. The Dallas-based urban planning company also spearheaded revitalization projects in Rogers, Arkansas, and McKinney, Texas. 

Ms. Richardson learned about the grant through a community investment workshop in January hosted by FHLB Dallas. She then approached five of FHLB Dallas’ member institutions to pursue funding. 

“We wanted to leverage the fact that we’re a community and we’re connected,” Ms. Richardson said. “Our goal is to build communities that are vibrant, sustainable and most of all united.” 

Arvest Bank is one of the five FHLB Dallas member institutions Ms. Richardson approached. 

“These grants will make a lasting impact on many individuals and families for years to come,” said Rodney Shepard, president of Arvest Bank in Fort Smith. “When we invest in our community, we invest in our future, and Arvest is honored to be part of this project.”

Through the PGP, member institutions contribute $500 up to $4,000 to a community-based organization (CBO). FHLB Dallas matches the contributions at a 3:1 ratio, which provide up to $12,000 in grant money to a CBO. In 2016, FHLB Dallas awarded $225,000 in PGP funds to assist 23 CBOs. Combined with the $96,200 from member institutions, a total of $321,200 was awarded this year.

“The involvement of each bank in this effort is a testament to the true intention of the PGP,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. “We’re happy to have played a role in giving our members a chance to connect with the community through the PGP.” 

Ms. Richardson said that without the grant, she would have had to seek other sources of funding for the $257,000 project. While she is confident she would have found the additional capital to fund the project, she is grateful for PGP funds. 

“We’re very blessed to have been able to receive this grant through FHLB Dallas because it allowed things to go a lot faster to have those guaranteed funds coming our way,” said Ms. Richardson. 

PGP grants are offered annually through FHLB Dallas’ member institutions via a lottery system. Funds may be used for research, organizational capacity-building, grant- and funding-application assistance, or contractual services.

Morgan Farmer from the office of U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (AR), Janice Scaggs from the office of U.S. Representative Steve Womack (AR-3), and Kelsey Kelton from the office of Senator John Boozman (AR) also attended today’s event. 

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith
 

Bunnell Promoted to President of Arvest Equipment Finance

Thursday, December 08 at 06:15 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We're excited to see Eric Bunnell grow his career with Arvest!

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Eric Bunnell has been promoted from Senior Vice President and Sales Manager to President of Arvest Equipment Finance (AEF).

Bunnell, a Certified Lease & Finance Professional who is a member of the CLFP Board of Directors, has been with Arvest since 2012 and in the commercial lending industry since 2001. He also serves as a member of the National Equipment Finance Association.

In his new role, Bunnell will provide leadership and overall day-to-day direction and administration of Arvest’s commercial equipment finance division, among other duties.

“Eric’s industry experience and track record here at Arvest made him a natural choice to lead AEF,” said Craig Rivaldo, President and CEO for Arvest Bank in Benton County. “We are excited about what Eric will bring to his new role, and know that AEF is in good hands as that segment of our business continues to grow.”

AEF ended 2015 with $187.6 million in loans and leases. That was up 28 percent from 2014’s $146.4 million, according to MonitorDaily, a leading publication of the equipment leasing and finance industry. AEF’s loans and leases totaled $223.7 million at the end of October.

Bunnell is a native of Trenton, Mo., and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at the University of Missouri. Bunnell has been active in numerous community organizations in Greater Kansas City and is relocating to Fort Smith. He and his wife, Kristin, have two daughters.

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Fort Smith, Press Release

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