First cohort chosen for TRUE Northwest Arkansas initiative

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 704 views 

Twenty organizations have been chosen to participate in the inaugural TRUE Northwest Arkansas Train Cohort.

The TRUE Northwest Arkansas initiative is a three-year pilot program announced last year.

The purpose of the cohort is to “build leaders for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the region through peer learning, coaching and development of DEI plans for each organization,” according to organizers.

TRUE Northwest Arkansas is supported by the Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation, administered by the Arkansas Community Foundation and guided by a diverse community advisory board of 20 stakeholders.

“Participation will enhance our capacity to advance DEI work on our campus and in the community and to allow us to learn alongside others by engaging in a community of practice model,” Dr. Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion at the University of Arkansas and one of the participants in the cohort, said in a news release. “We will both learn from and contribute to this effort. We are beyond thrilled to participate in the Train Cohort.”

Members of the cohort include BikeNWA, Care Community Center Inc., Circle of Life Hospice, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Downtown Bentonville Inc, Downtown Springdale Alliance, Fayetteville Public Library, Fayetteville School District, John Brown University, Northwest Arkansas Council, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, NWA Rape Crisis Inc., Ozark Literacy Council, Scott Family Amazeum, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas Inc., Sunshine School & Development Center, TheatreSquared Inc., Tricycle Theatre for Youth, University of Arkansas Office for Diversity and Inclusion and Walton Arts Center Council Inc.

Cohort participant Patty Sullivan, executive director of Ozark Literacy Council, noted in the release that the Council “has seen a 350% increase in students in the past decade, and 95% of those students speak languages other than English. Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to our mission since we work with people from around the globe every single day.”

The Train Cohort’s work will begin this month and continue throughout 2019.