Congressman French Hill joins banks in announcing $34K grant to University District

U.S. Congressman French Hill and representatives from Bank OZK, First Security Bank, Arvest Bank, Simmons Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas present funds to the University District Development Corporation and to World Services for the Blind, Jan 24, 2020. Photo by Business Wire.

U.S. Congressman French Hill, AR-2, recently joined representatives from Bank OZK, First Security Bank, Arvest Bank, Simmons Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) in presenting $34,500 in Partnership Grant Program (PGP) funds to the University District Development Corporation (UDDC).

UDDC, a nonprofit that administers a revitalization program benefiting the residential and commercial neighborhoods adjacent to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will use the funds toward operating costs such as building maintenance, permit fees, and taxes.

The ceremonial check presentation took place at a community development roundtable hosted Jan. 24 in Little Rock by FHLB Dallas and attended by local dignitaries. A $475,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant was also presented to World Services for the Blind, a nonprofit that operates one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation centers in the world for the blind and visually impaired.

“UDDC is an organization that does great work for the betterment of the Little Rock community,” Congressman Hill said. “The work they do cannot be done without the financial support of institutions like Bank OZK, Arvest, First Security Bank, Simmons Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.”

The grant will go a long way toward UDDC expenses.

“The Partnership Grant Program gives certain flexibility to organizations. It allows us to partner with FHLB Dallas members and apply those funds to impact the community,” said UDDC Executive Director Barrett Allen. “The PGP helps fill a critical gap for nonprofits and I’m thankful for the program.”

This is UDDC’s third PGP grant.

“There is an undeniable need for affordable housing and Bank OZK is honored and appreciates working with organizations like UDDC to address this need in the community,” said Lasha Marshall, community development manager for Bank OZK.

Andrea Lewis, assistant vice president, community outreach/business development and marketing at First Security Bank, said the bank is honored to help provide funds that will be reinvested in Little Rock.

“First Security Bank is very grateful to serve the community,” said Lewis. “We are proud to work with the UDDC to invest in the communities we serve and build relationships.”

Jim Cargill, president and CEO of Arvest Bank in central, northeast and southwest Arkansas, said the PGP will help restore the Little Rock community.

“This is a necessary endeavor that will restore the university area to the vibrant community it was only a few decades ago,” said Cargill. “The support we provide our neighbors often returns to us tenfold in the form of more hopeful and successful individuals, and stronger communities altogether. We share the mission of the UDDC of investing in people, as well as our city.”

Martie North, senior vice president and director of community development at Simmons Bank, said the PGP is an important part of relationship building in their community.

“Affordable housing is the cornerstone for strong and vibrant communities. The UDDC works hard every day to provide quality housing that is affordable and attractive within the University District,” said North. “Investing in the communities in which we operate, work and play is a priority of Simmons Bank. The FHLB Dallas Partnership Grant provides us a wonderful opportunity to financially support organizations like the UDDC in their efforts to strengthen our communities. We believe in the work the UDDC is doing and value our partnership.”

With the PGP, FHLB Dallas member institutions like Bank OZK, First Security Bank, Arvest Bank and Simmons Bank contribute $500 to $4,000 to a community-based organization (CBO), which FHLB Dallas matches at a 3:1 ratio. In 2019, FHLB Dallas awarded $300,000 in PGP funds through 25 member institutions to assist 27 CBOs. Combined with FHLB Dallas member contributions, a total of $442,500 has been awarded to the organizations.

“We are very thankful to our members Bank OZK, First Security Bank, Arvest Bank and Simmons Bank and Congressman Hill for showing support in the community,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. “FHLB Dallas is honored to partner with these institutions and continue to create affordable housing options for Little Rock residents.”


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