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With $2.5 million in financial support from the Walmart Foundation and Walton Family Foundation, The Arkansas Community Foundation has launched a new three-year pilot initiative to Train, Report, Uplift, and Engage our community towards diversity and inclusion.

According to the initiative’s website, “TRUE Northwest Arkansas builds a shared commitment to enhancing the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas by seeking to build an ecosystem where diverse populations not only exist, but also have the resources to thrive and feel included in community. Uplifting the diversity and inclusion of the region is integral to the growth and flourishing of our full community.”

To kick-off the initiative, TRUE Northwest Arkansas is conducting a survey by phone and through the website to engage Northwest Arkansans about their perceptions on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The survey is designed to gather feedback on experiences in Northwest Arkansas, specifically the ways in which Northwest Arkansas is welcoming and inclusive of all members of the community. The survey also seeks to discover ways that Northwest Arkansas can be improved so that every member of the community can thrive.

Participate in the 10-15 minute online survey here.

Overseen by a 20-member advisory council, the program will also provide training and support for nonprofit groups and commission a study into the region’s inclusiveness.

TRUE will complement the recently announced 2018 – 2022 Strategic Plan developed by EngageNWA. Nearly 200 stakeholders participated in the strategic plan’s development this past year with the goal of enhancing the region’s ability to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone who makes Northwest Arkansas home. This resulted in 100 intentional actions to address the challenge across five priority areas: Economic Development, Government Leadership and Equitable Access, Community Civic Engagement, Safe and Connected Communities, and Education.

Specific regional challenges in the strategic plan include the need to attract, grow and retain workers, a shortage of diverse representation in the region’s leadership, a gap in newcomers’ understanding of local systems and how to access services, and the need for improved cross-cultural communication and cultural awareness.

For more details about each initiative, follow this post with the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s announcement of the TRUE initiative entitled “Walton-backed, $2.5M program aims for inclusion in diversifying region” and Talk Business & Politics article on the EngageNWA strategic plan entitled “Walmart, Tyson Foods, NWA Council unveil EngageNWA four-year plan.”

What Community Leaders Are Saying

A friendly, welcoming and inclusive environment is vital to our region's quality of life and our thriving economy with its diverse workforce

Steuart WaltonNWADG Feature

If we are going to remain competitive as a university, as a region, as corporations and even as a state, these are areas we need to excel in

Yvette Murphey-ErbyNWADG Feature

We really want to make a meaningful difference in communities that have traditionally been under-supported

Yvette Murphy-ErbyNWADG Feature

For Northwest Arkansas to continue ranking among the nation’s best places to live and work, we need everyone to feel a strong connection to our community

Nelson PeacockNWA Council Feature

We need to be able to educate, retain homegrown talent and we need to be sure we can attract talent whether it’s from Chicago, Indiana or overseas

Nelson PeacockNWA Council Feature

It’s clear from the close to 200 stakeholders who participated in the plan’s development this past year that many members of our community, particularly those from diverse populations, want a stronger connection to the broader Northwest Arkansas community and have access to the resources they need

Mergot LemasterNWA Council Feature