Recently, the NW Arkansas metro area was named one of the top 10 places to live in America by US News and World Report. Our low cost of living compared with household income, strong population growth due to net migration and high quality of life scores all contributed to the No. 8 ranking this year—and while the following numbers were not factored into our ranking, they probably tell you more about our community than any “best-of” list ever could.

Cover photo by @elissasontag on IG

100

Local Man Helps Over 100 Marshallese Register to Vote

You would be hard-pressed to find a resident more active in support of his local community than Albious Latior. Since the pandemic hit, Albious has partnered with Good Shepherd Luthern Church to help raise over $45,000 for Marshallese COVID-19 relief efforts—funds that have been allocated to help Marshallese households with various emergency needs brought on by the pandemic including rental/utility assistance due to loss of income, medical expenses for elders, funeral expenses and essential grocery items.  In addition, Albious has been actively helping families navigate language barriers with landlords/property managers to help avoid evictions, negotiate payment arrangements, and in some instances secure new housing.

If all that wasn’t enough, Albious has spent the past month going door-to-door to help Marshallese-Americans register to vote. To date, he has ensured over 100 Marshallese-Americans can make their voices heard in the 2020 election!

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10

New Beginnings

On October 6, 2020, New Beginnings experienced a huge milestone in their journey to building the region’s first bridge housing community for the homeless in Northwest Arkansas. In 4-6 months, the region will see the transformation of a parcel of overgrown land into a place where we can help bridge the chasm between people who are experiencing homelessness to needed services in the community.

Once individuals are in a safe, secure, and clean environment, New Beginnings will work with community partners to provide the appropriate services to work toward permanent housing solutions.

In addition to this milestone, New Beginnings, along with 7 Hills, The Salvation Army, and the City of Fayetteville, spent the last month walking alongside 50+ individuals at their Safe Camp Project. The Safe Camp Project is a response initiated and led by leaders in the homeless community, with the support of non-profit organizations, so unsheltered people can keep themselves safe during the COVID pandemic. With city-approved funding, the Safe Camp Project will be able to operate until the beginning of November.

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10

New Beginnings

On October 6, 2020, New Beginnings experienced a huge milestone in their journey to building the region’s first bridge housing community for the homeless in Northwest Arkansas. In 4-6 months, the region will see the transformation of a parcel of overgrown land into a place where we can help bridge the chasm between people who are experiencing homelessness to needed services in the community.

Once individuals are in a safe, secure, and clean environment, New Beginnings will work with community partners to provide the appropriate services to work toward permanent housing solutions.

In addition to this milestone, New Beginnings, along with 7 Hills, The Salvation Army, and the City of Fayetteville, spent the last month walking alongside 50+ individuals at their Safe Camp Project. The Safe Camp Project is a response initiated and led by leaders in the homeless community, with the support of non-profit organizations, so unsheltered people can keep themselves safe during the COVID pandemic. With city-approved funding, the Safe Camp Project will be able to operate until the beginning of November.

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1,592,450

Northwest Arkansas Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund NWA is a short-term financial assistance program created by Excellerate Foundation and Walton Family Foundation that focuses on preventing households that are generally stable from spiraling into crisis. Since launching in March, over $1.5 million has been distributed to help financially stabilize 2,112 households in Northwest Arkansas.

The Catalyst Fund is just one of several initiatives spearheaded by the Excellerate Foundation. Since its inception, Excellerate has invested more than $115 million to improve the lives of all those who call Northwest Arkansas home. To learn more about these various initiatives, visit below. To dive deeper into the data behind who they are currently serving, what their needs are, and which organizations are providing clients critical services, visit HERE.

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16.35

A Dream Job

Here is a summarized version of an inspiring local story that was recently published in the Times of Entrepreneurship, the full story is linked below.

Abwe Abedi and his family spent 22 years in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania before arriving in Northwest Arkansas in 2018. In late-March, the father of six was working at Chik Fil A as a dishwasher for $13/hr when he received a phone call from his friend Khalid Ahmadzai, the director of economic advancement for a nonprofit called Canopy NWA. Ahmadzai knew Abedi’s passion for sewing and saw an opportunity presented by the pandemic to setup a mask-making operation. The idea proved successful with the demand to purchase Abedi’s masks coming in from California to New York to Florida. That said, Ahmadzai knew Abedi’s ultimate dream was to create a business that would teach women, especially immigrants and refugees, how to sew. The fulfillment of that dream came a short time thereafter when Ahmadzai connected Abedi with the Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum (AAFF). AAFF received a grant to produce masks, invited Abedi to come and teach a class, and ultimately, extended him a full-time job offer as Director of Sewing Operations making $16.35/hr plus benefits!

Since joining AAFF, the organization has been able to distribute thousands of hand-sewn masks to people throughout the region.

Full Story
16.35

A Dream Job

Here is a summarized version of an inspiring local story that was recently published in the Times of Entrepreneurship, the full story is linked below.

Abwe Abedi and his family spent 22 years in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania before arriving in Northwest Arkansas in 2018. In late-March, the father of six was working at Chik Fil A as a dishwasher for $13/hr when he received a phone call from his friend Khalid Ahmadzai, the director of economic advancement for a nonprofit called Canopy NWA. Ahmadzai knew Abedi’s passion for sewing and saw an opportunity presented by the pandemic to setup a mask-making operation. The idea proved successful with the demand to purchase Abedi’s masks coming in from California to New York to Florida. That said, Ahmadzai knew Abedi’s ultimate dream was to create a business that would teach women, especially immigrants and refugees, how to sew. The fulfillment of that dream came a short time thereafter when Ahmadzai connected Abedi with the Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum (AAFF). AAFF received a grant to produce masks, invited Abedi to come and teach a class, and ultimately, extended him a full-time job offer as Director of Sewing Operations making $16.35/hr plus benefits!

Since joining AAFF, the organization has been able to distribute thousands of hand-sewn masks to people throughout the region.

Full Story
3,200

Trees Added to the Urban Canopy

With it being fall and all, this number seemed like a fitting note to end on. For the fourth consecutive year, the Walton Family Foundation is supporting efforts to bring new trees and shrubs to Northwest Arkansas. The grants will help increase and diversify the region’s tree canopy and complement its widely used outdoor offerings.

According to the press release, the foundation will provide more than $900,000 in grants to help plant 930 trees and shrubs in Benton County. In addition, participating communities will host giveaways for residents to receive 2,250 smaller trees in 3- to 5-gallon pots. Socially distanced giveaways will be held between mid-October and early November in Avoca, Bella Vista, Bentonville, Centerton, Decatur, Gentry, Gravette, Pea Ridge, Rogers and Siloam Springs.

To date, the foundation has provided funding for more than 10,000 new trees in Benton County. The plantings have helped boost interest in urban forestry, increase engagement in outdoor beautification efforts and improve shade along the region’s trails and the Razorback Regional Greenway.

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As we’ve said before, Northwest Arkansas is truly one of the most generous communities in America.