TV Background Set Stage For Career in Fundraising

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 224 views 

In 15 years in a successful television career in her hometown of Fort Smith, Kelly Kemp-McLintock says she literally “grew up in everyone’s living room.”

Starting while still in college as a reporter for KFSM-TV, she eventually anchored the noon news program and hosted several popular shows — and had three children along the way.

“I became very much a ‘personality,’ if you will, throughout Northwest Arkansas,” she said.

But when her twin daughters were about 2 ½, she said, “The opportunity to transition to another career field landed in my lap.”

That job was a newly created position — chief advancement officer at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale. She is responsible for the center’s fundraising and public relations, and develops and nurtures relationships with donors and sponsors.

Kemp-McLintock’s years in television “afforded me wonderful familiarity in the community,” she said. “That’s been a wonderful asset and benefit for the role I have now, for being the face of the Jones Center and working on behalf of Bernice and Harvey Jones.”

Just a year into the job when she was named to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class of 2005, she had already raised $1 million for the nonprofit community center.

Founded in 1995 with an endowment by Bernice Jones after the death of her husband, Jones Truck Lines founder Harvey Jones, the Jones Center offers recreational activities for youth and adults as well as plenty of meeting and conference space in its 220,000-SF facility.

The Jones Center has an operating budget of $3.2 million, and serves 1 million visitors each year.

But its reach spreads far beyond its Springdale location. The center provides health, educational, recreational and community programs and services throughout the region.

The Jones Center carries out some of these through its Family Resource Center in Springdale and the Center for Nonprofits in Rogers.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has deemed the Jones Center a “mission critical” organization for this part of Arkansas, Kemp-McLintock said.

“When you look at that tremendous reach the Jones Trust has across Northwest Arkansas, I think it’s quite remarkable how Bernice’s legacy is living on,” she said.

An accomplishment she’s proud of in her years at the center is attaining her Certified Fundraising Executive credential in 2010. Only about 30 people in Arkansas have it, she said.

To get the credential, she explained, a person has to have worked in fundraising for five continuous years, and explain in a written application such factors as leadership experience, extent of one’s community involvement and the amount of money raised.

“Then you study and study and study for a four-hour exam,” she said.

Having the credential “has given me a great deal of endorsement and credibility in this community,” she said.

For the last eight years, she’s represented the Jones Center on the Springdale Chamber of Commerce board.

A longtime Rotarian, Kemp-McLintock now serves on the Springdale Rotary board of directors. Her work with Rotary includes handling public relations for the annual Burlsworth Trophy Award.

She also enjoyed speaking to Hoyt Purvis’ journalism students at the University of Arkansas in April.

For the last 2 ½ years, she has returned to her journalistic roots in her spare time, with her byline appearing regularly in Celebrate magazine.

“I enjoy being very descriptive, and you can’t do that in TV,” she said.

“I love to write about people, interesting places to visit, restaurants and companies,” she said. “It’s a really neat hobby because you can do that from home, on your own time.”

Her husband, Ben McLintock, is in his third year of law school. But when they can get away, they enjoy exploring Arkansas, maybe hiking at Devil’s Den or canoeing on the Buffalo River.

Between her family and her activities, Kemp-McLintock doesn’t have much free time. She jokes that she has two speeds — fast and sleep.

Still, she says, “I’ve been blessed with getting to do many things in my life, and I think they build important layers when you’re going through life. It makes you a more well-rounded individual.”