The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial pain for many businesses in 2020, but the spirit of helping others remains strong.
Just one example — the owners, management and tenants of Village on the Creeks (VOC) in Rogers joined together in a challenge grant to raise $46,122 to support Bentonville nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter.
The shelter is a private, nonprofit organization that provides 24-hour residential care to children and teens who are victims of abandonment, abuse or neglect. When a child is removed from their home, the shelter is often the first place they go before being placed in a foster home.
Since 1993, the shelter has served more than 11,000 children throughout Arkansas.
Carla Laing, the shelter’s development manager, said VOC’s donation came out of the blue when needed to make up a deficit caused by event cancellations.
“It shows the incredible generosity, which is evident throughout our wonderful community,” Laing said. “We had no idea this was coming.”
The shelter holds three major fundraisers each year: Starlight Gala, Golf Classic and Kickball 4 the Kids. Starlight Gala went as planned on March 7, before the onslaught of COVID-19. Canceling the other two events resulted in a loss of more than $50,000.
Less than 18% of the nonprofit’s funding comes from the state. Its three annual events contribute more than 30% of the additional 82% that the group must raise to provide its services.
Steve Brooks and Conner Eldridge — partners with Rogers law firm Eldridge Brooks — and Tom Gordon and Greg Smart — founders of Fayetteville-based restaurant chain Slim Chickens — lead OZRE Capital, a real estate fund that owns about 220,000 square feet of the 300,000-square-foot Village on the Creeks development. Devereux Management, led by Dewitt Smith, manages the property, which includes multiple owners.
Leslie Logan, part of the Devereux Management team, said 21 businesses donated to the fundraiser, in addition to contributions from all the owners.
“We know that some of our tenants have certainly seen challenges to their businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they were still willing to reach out and share with such a worthy institution as the Children’s Shelter,” she said.