Luncheon honors two women, others at a philanthropic event

Shelia Vaught will receive Lifetime Achievement Award and Cynthia VanWinkle will receive the President’s Award at the National Philanthropy Luncheon on November 18. But the rest of the winners are a secret.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Arkansas Chapter is hosting the event at Embassy Suites in Little Rock. This year’s event is different from previous years – with the exception of Vaught and VanWinkle, the rest of the winners won’t know who will be honored until the day of the event.

Vaught is a wedding and event planner who donates her time to a number of organizations including CARTI, Ronald McDonald House and the Little Rock Junior League. She is a past president of Riverfest and the Riverfest Board of Directors.

VanWinkle is CEO and President of the Circle Communications Network. He advises Christian ministries, colleges, hospitals, and national, international and local non-profit organizations on strategic planning, training, event planning, fundraising, marketing, and more.

Ryan Miller, Donor Relations Manager at Arkansas Foodbank, is the event chair. Jessica Dunham, Director of Events at East Initiative, is the co-chair.

“The only thing I want to stress… all of the finalists could easily have been the winners,” Miller said. “Over the past couple of years we’ve seen so many people get nominated that we really realized we need to celebrate more people.

“It’s the only big change this year. People will come in and won’t know who wins, but we wanted to celebrate the other finalists because they do an amazing job in the state,” he said.

The finalists are:

Exceptional philanthropist:

• Carol Adcock and Bunny Adcock, longtime supporters of the University of Central Arkansas; he is a member of the board of directors of the UCA.

• Cindy and TJ Boyle – he is a CPA at Frost PLLC.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser:

• Christy and William Clark – supporters of many nonprofits including the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, CHI St. Vincent and the Children’s Hospital of the ‘Arkansas.

• Melissa Hawkins, community volunteer.

• The Middleton family – long-time supporters of many nonprofit organizations, including the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Exceptional group of young volunteers:

• Champions of Hope

• EST at Marshall High School

• Mount St. Mary Academy Junior Service Learning Group

Exceptional fundraiser for young volunteers:

• Kayla Gray

• Michael Jordan

• Madelyn Lawson

Exceptional volunteer organization:

• Arkansas Duck Derby

• Conway Rotary Club

• UAMS Medical Assistant Program

Exceptional foundation:

• C. Louis and Mary C. Cabe Foundation

• The Ross Foundation

• The Sunderland Foundation

Exceptional company:

• AT&T Arkansas

• Red department stores

• Fowler Foods Inc.

Outstanding Fundraising Professional:

• Shannon Boshears, Vice President and Director of Development, Arkansas Hospice

• Sherri Jones, Director of Annual Donations at Arkansas Foodbank

• Enid Olvey, senior vice president / director of operations at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Foundation

The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Arkansas Chapter represents over 200 nonprofit organizations. It provides training, professional development and networking among leaders of not-for-profit organizations. Dunham joined us in 2018 and particularly enjoys the mentoring program aspect of the organization.

“My mentor currently works at Ronald McDonald House and she organizes a lot of fundraising events,” says Durham. “I am able to choose his brain and have someone to turn to when I need to debate ideas.”

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, last year’s event was completely virtual. For this year, the organization is organizing a combined in-person / virtual event.

“We are hosting an in-person event but continue to provide a live broadcast so that people who cannot join us or feel uncomfortable for some reason can still celebrate,” said Durham.

And the covid-19 pandemic has been a game-changer for all nonprofits.

“I really think covid has dramatically affected the Arkansans’ need for food in Arkansas. It has shown that anyone, at any time, can have this craving for food and food insecurity,” Miller said. “They are everyone’s neighbors.”

On the bright side, Miller says the pandemic has highlighted philanthropy in Arkansas – which he says is a very generous state.

“People saw the need and got together,” he says. “I’m sure in 10 years people will study the data. They’ll say ‘Oh people haven’t traveled’ or they’ll say people haven’t had that much expense. That might be true, but I think. honestly the Arkansans saw this need and rose to the plate. “

Everyone is welcome to National Philanthropy Day, whether you are a fundraiser, a philanthropist, or just interested in going to lunch. More information is available at

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