Ken Hubbell, Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation and the Uncommon Communities Program recognized with highest honors at annual community development conference
By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
June 19, 2017
- SOAR Awards given to communities, regions, or individuals who best exemplify the Breakthrough Solutions principles and spirit in their community development work
- The Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation, the Uncommon Communities Program, and Ken Hubbell each honored in 2017
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LITTLE ROCK – One Arkansan and two community development organizations each received one of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Community and Economic Development program’s highest honors.
The Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation, the Uncommon Communities Program, and Ken Hubbell each received 2017 SOAR Awards at the recent 2017 Breakthrough Solutions Conference in Little Rock. Breakthrough Solutions is a program of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, with a purpose to equip communities and regions to prosper in the 21st century economy and partners in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Mark Peterson, Professor of Community and Economic Development for the Division of Agriculture, said the Breakthrough Solutions SOAR Award is given to communities, regions, or individuals who “best exemplify the Breakthrough Solutions principles and spirit in their community development work.”
“We can all learn from them because of their tremendous work,” he said.
The accomplishments of Hubbell and the two organizations were recalled at the conference, where the awards were presented.
The Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation raised more than $400,000 through funding events for the Highlander Community Center, a former public school campus within city limits.
“Eureka Springs is becoming a national model for how to re-purpose buildings and an entire high school campus, for its community involvement, architectural design, organizational framework, and funding mechanisms,” Peterson said.
The Uncommon Communities Program brought together Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren, and Yell counties to participate in a two-year pilot program, in coordination with the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, designed to support the respective communities as they engage in a community and economic development process back in their counties. Each county formed a broad-based steering committee, with the responsibility to send five representatives to each of the seminars and lead the development process in their counties.
Within the framework of the program, each of the participating counties saw improvements in development. Conway County developed and launched Leadership Conway County, a leadership program for emerging community leaders in the county. Perry County committed to multiple renovation projects throughout the county.
Pope County partnered with Yell County in the “Let’s Paint the River Valley” project, leading to 16 buildings in 4 communities painted, plus clean-up projects in city parks and much more. Van Buren County, including We Love VBC, cleaned up Clinton, painted 11 buildings downtown, attracted several new businesses, held a “Survivorfest” to celebrate the community’s resilience after two tornados, a flood, a snowstorm, and loss of two major employees, and several other projects.
Ken Hubbell, founder and president of Ken Hubbell & Associates, a consulting firm in Little Rock, was honored for his long history of contributions to Breakthrough Solutions.
“Ken has a wide range of experience with multi-stakeholder collaboration, social innovation, economic development, business strategy, and equitable approaches to grassroots civic participation and poverty alleviation,” Peterson said. “He has worked in urban neighborhoods, rural regions, and in Namibia in southern Africa.”
To learn about Breakthrough Solutions and other aspects of the Division of Agriculture’s Community and Economic Development program, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service