The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas (WFA) was launched in 1998 when Arkansas Business Publishing Group CEO Olivia Farrell and Pat Lile, then President of the Arkansas Community Foundation, initiated the efforts of a group of prominent women leaders to create a charitable fund dedicated to investing in projects for women and girls in Arkansas. In 2002, the WFA became its own 501(c)(3) organization.

Arkansas Business Publishing Group began selecting and honoring the “Top 100 Women in Arkansas” in 1995. Each year ABPG sponsored a luncheon at which these women were honored. In 1998, the women were challenged to come up with a way they could collectively make a difference in Arkansas. The idea of a foundation for and by women emerged. The Arkansas Community Foundation and ABPG were asked to lead the effort.  They organized a committee, developed plans for the foundation and raised the initial contributions establishing the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. The WFA proposed to improve the educational status of Arkansas women and girls by encouraging women and girls to improve their skills in math, science and technology.  Further, the purpose of the WFA would be to train women and girls for emerging occupations, promote mentoring of women and girls in rural communities, as well as urban areas, improve the economic status of Arkansas women and girls, and promote philanthropy by and for women.

All current and former Top 100 Women and other prominent Arkansans were challenged to become founders of WFA with $1,000 contributions. More than 150 women responded. Those listed below contributed $1,000 or more to become founding members of WFA.


Betty Abbott // Dr. Dana Abraham // Sharon K. Allen// Sandy Alstadt // Virginia Bailey // Shelby Baker // Emma L. Bass // Dr. Carolyn Blakely // Jan Bolton // Sissi Brandon // Ellen Brantley // Patricia Rhine Brown // Dolores F. Bruce // Joan R. Campbell // Mary Cantrell // Charlie Cole Chaffin // Sandra Cherry // Ellon R. Cockrill // Ethel Cook // Judi S. Dawson // Lynn DeVault // Mary Dillard // Dr. Lee Lee Doyle//  Joy Drummond // Helen T. Dyke // Audrey R. Evans // Olivia Farrell // LaVerne W. Feaster // Karen E. Flake // Maribeth Frazer // Sue Frueauff // Marion W. Fulk // Rebecca Garner // Greer Grace // Dr. Karen G. Grant // Barbara M. Graves // Ellen M. Gray // Jane Hardin // Diana T. Hueter // Catherine L. Hughes // Johnelle D. Hunt // Janet Jones // Myra Jones // Sissy Jones // Brownie W. Ledbetter* // Sharron Johnson Leslie // Jo Knight Light // Betty Lile // Pat Lile // Linda Linn // Margo Low // Diane S. Mackey // Cora McHenry // Dr. Shirolyn Moffett // Dorothy Morris // Beverly Morrow // Billie Ann Myers // Susan Newkirk // Wanda L.N. Hartz // Martha Ann Norton // Kay S.  Patton // Stacy B. Sells // Karen E. Potts // Carolyn Pugh // Janet L. Pulliam // Lisenne Rockefeller // Judge Judith Rogers // Jane Ross // Amy Rossi // Jane P. Saunders // Charlotte T. Schexnayder // Helen Selig // Lottie Shackelford // Mary Gay Shipley // Billie Jo Starr // Jean D. Stockburger // Patti Upton // Cynthia VanWinkle // Sherry Walker // Helen R. Walton // Millie Ward // Carolyn B. Witherspoon

Wo(men) of Worth Support a Second Decade

The 100 women of the first decade made a personal statement about their own values by establishing the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. They were driven by a desire to improve the state and improve the lives of women and girls living here. We, in the second decade, have the luxury of simply following their lead and continuing this great work. In honor of the Foundation entering its second decade, the Wo(men) of Worth campaign was launched in 2008 to build on the vision of WFA’s founders.

Wo(men) of Worth donors include individuals from across the state who each gave $2000 to help make the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas an even stronger organization, positively impacting the lives of more women and girls across our state. In its first decade, the Women’s Foundation was able to give out almost $200,000 in grant money. Wo(men) of Worth donations supported WFA’s grant-making, Joan Rule Campbell Girls ofPromise®, and operations endowments, while also providing a modest amount of support for current operations.

Sharon K. Allen //Leila Alston // Anonymous // Kay Kelley Arnold // Deborah Baldwin // Dr. Carolyn Blakely //  Dr. Margaret L. Bogle // George Campbell // Martha B. Chowning // Cynthia L. Conger, CPA // Dr. Lee Lee Doyle // Stacy Duckett // Olivia Farrell // Maribeth Moore Frazer // Dr. Cynthia Frazier // Sue M. Frueauff // Dr. Karen Grant // Dr. Sue T. Griffin // Jonathan Groff // Maria Haley // Dorothy Hall // Catherine L. Hughes // Johnelle D. Hunt // Marla Johnson Norris // Linda Linn // Gena Lovett // Dr. Betty Lowe // Melanie Masino // Dorothy Morris // Rosalind Mouser // Debby Thetford Nye // Amy Pierce // Karen Potts // Bryce W. Reveley // James B. Rule // Helen Selig // Mary Gay Shipley // Barbara Sugg // Cynthia Van Winkle // Lynnette Watts // Drs. Robert and Jane Wayland // Carolyn Witherspoon