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The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas (WFA) and collaborating organizations convened a statewide summit, Changing the Story: Improving the Status of Women and Girls in Arkansas on March 4, 2016 at the Clinton School of Public Service. The focus of the summit was to create a blueprint for reform to improve the status of women and girls in Arkansas across four areas of disparity: health, education, workforce/economics, and politics/leadership. The summit was sponsored by Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Exodus Foundation and Sweet Candy and Gifts.

WFA was fortunate to have an amazing group of collaborating organizations who worked for months to plan and organize to ensure we had a successful event.

Collaborating Organizations:
  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital
  • American Association of University Women – Arkansas
  • Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
  • Arkansas Minority Health Commission
  • Clinton Foundation
  • Clinton School of Public Service
  • Delta Community Based Services
  • Exodus Foundation
  • For Arkansas Girls – Girls Up
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
  • Women Lead Arkansas

More than seventy-five (75) leaders and key stakeholders from across Arkansas attended the session. The day started with an address by Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. There was also a panel of participants from the 1973 Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Arkansas who shared their experiences with the group. The remainder of the day was spent in work group sessions where participants outline achievable goals and solutions that can be included in a blueprint for improving the status of women and girls in Arkansas.

Tjuana Byrd, President of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, wrapped up the day with a challenge to the participants to stay engaged to help us create the blueprint and lead and participate in the initiatives outlined there. Through the collective impact model, we can work together to make a difference in the lives of women and girls in Arkansas. No one organization can do it alone, but by working together and building on one another’s achievements and not duplicating efforts, change is possible.

The collaborating work group is already back at work outlining next steps. The notes from the meeting will be distributed to participants shortly and together we will develop the blueprint outline. We will continue to share the work we are doing to “Change the Story.”

 

Amanda is a WFA board member and founder of AMP•SEE Ideas. When not providing freelance communications and project management services to small businesses and nonprofits, she may be found promoting livable urban design, speaking up for equality & education, wandering about with her camera, or experimenting with local foods.

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