Innovation Competition Winners Announced
In January, we launched the Innovation Competition – a program that supports local partners and their ideas for improving downtowns and promoting healthy living in Benton County, Arkansas.
After reviewing more than 40 proposals from nonprofits, we were excited to announce the ideas that will receive funding during a luncheon honoring our newest grantees.
Main Street Rogers
Main Street Rogers and its new Farmers Market will develop a certified commissary kitchen for farmers and the local community. From partnerships with restaurants to demonstrations on how to cook locally grown produce, this concept builds on the momentum happening in Rogers’ booming downtown.
Samaritan Community Center
The Samaritan Community Center will expand its garden and increase the amount of fresh unprocessed food that is offered in its Snack Pack Program – an initiative that provides food for the weekend to approximately 3,100 low-income kids in Benton County. The grant will also support the center’s café and market, which provide families in need with meals and pantry items.
International Mountain Bicycling Association and Camp War Eagle
It’s no secret that we love bikes, so we are excited to support a partnership between the International Mountain Bicycling Association and Camp War Eagle. The organizations will work with after-school programs in Benton County to introduce cycling to underserved youth. Participants will earn the opportunity to attend Camp War Eagle and learn about cycling by fulfilling 20 hours of community service.
Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks
We are partnering with Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks to provide bike racks in the downtown areas of Northwest Arkansas’ four largest cities – Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers. While we initially intended the focus of the Innovation Competition to be in Benton County, this idea from BCO had the clear potential to motivate local residents to consider cycling as an active transportation option across the region, if we could amplify its reach. We made the decision to increase the amount of funding so both Washington and Benton counties could benefit from this project.
Hearing directly from local leaders about what is needed to improve Northwest Arkansas and maintain our close-knit community was a rewarding experience. But this is just the beginning. We look forward to seeing the programs in action and what these organizations can achieve.