Community Impact Initiatives

Achieving Community Impact

Community impact means improving lives by mobilizing communities to create sustained changes in community conditions. Its positive impact made possible when people come together to make a difference. These partnerships illustrate the community impact and the commitment made by caring donors and organizations to build a brighter future.

Books and Badges

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library books are placed in local law enforcement and emergency vehicles, so that first responders can provide a child accident victim a book to help comfort them and build rapport.

Step Up, Speak Out

Step Up, Speak Out!” was formed in early 2012 by Sam T. Sicard, President of First National Bank of Fort Smith. Sicard was inspired to start the awareness initiative after learning the alarming statistics related to child abuse. Spring block parties were held at several locations in the United Way six-county coverage area. Working to bring awareness to the problem of child abuse, the group goes in to the schools and speaks with the students prior to the event. At the block parties local children and parents are treated to a day focused on both fun and on educating them about the issue. Admission to the block parties was free. Families were invited to enjoy a free meal and numerous activities. Participants were invited to register to win a free bicycle or skateboard. As part of the block parties, volunteers and participants wore shirts with the phone numbers of hotlines that victims, or adults who are aware of abuse, could call to report it.

Touch A Truck

Whether looking out from the cab of a massive dump truck, or running your hands along the claw of a tough bulldozer, the United Way of Fort Smith Area’s 2nd Annual “Touch a Truck” offered participants an opportunity to connect with a variety of different modes of transportation. This annual event was held Wednesday, June 14th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, at Van Buren High School. There were over 500 children that attended. Fort Smith and Van Buren Boys and Girls Club’s brought their kids out, as well as a group from Cedarville. “Touch a Truck” gave children and adults the thrill of a lifetime by letting them experience what it’s like to climb into a variety of trucks and vehicles. Fire trucks, ambulances, loaders, garbage trucks, police cars and construction vehicles are just some of the dozens of vehicles that were on display. There were also 17 booths with safety and wellness information for children and families. We would like to thank our food sponsors, Arvest Bank, Generations Bank and Morgan Supply, Dr. Jeffcoat and Van Buren Public Schools, and all who brought vehicles, set up tables, or volunteered in any way. We could not put this event together without the help of our community.

Rising in the River Valley

River Valley Rising was organized to bring awareness and education to the community on the issue of sexual assault and domestic violence. Every 98 seconds, another person experiences sexual assault and on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Those attending this event can get information from local agencies that provide services related to this issue.

Born Learning

It’s easy and fun to provide early learning opportunities for young children with United Way’s Born Learning tools. You can do it anytime, anywhere – it’s learning on the go!

Visit the web at www.bornlearning.org for a few ideas to turn ordinary activities into eye-opening experiences for children.

Day of Caring

Day of Caring, held during National Volunteer Week in April, is a community-wide event benefiting community partners in Crawford, Franklin, LeFlore, Logan, Sebastian and Sequoyah counties. Each year, Day of Caring unites generous, community-focused people under the common mission of creating real, lasting change in the lives of children, families and seniors, right where we live.

On Day of Caring, volunteer teams from local companies and businesses, families and individuals work together to complete projects and conduct special programs for United Way’s community partners who, much of the time, lack the necessary resources and manpower to tackle the projects. These projects range from reading to children or painting a room to engaging in outdoor activities such as landscaping or washing windows.

Participating in Day of Caring provides an opportunity for building stronger relationships among employees, family members, friends and other community members, while providing an introduction to United Way’s impact and importance in the six-county area.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

United Way of Fort Smith Area is committed to supporting learning and development and a sense of belonging for children and youth so that they become responsible and contributing adults. We want to ensure children have positive developmental opportunities so that they can start school ready to succeed. We want to grow success in learning and in life.

Studies show that when kids are given regular ‘lap-time’ not ‘laptop’ time, but time spent reading books before kindergarten their vocabulary can reach 10,000 words before age 5. For a child who hasn’t had this experience, their vocabulary is about 3,000 words. We must as a community level this playing field.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides one book each month to children in Crawford, Franklin, Logan and Sebastian counties from birth to their fifth birthday whose parents register to receive them. These sturdy, colorful, age appropriate books are delivered directly to the child. Each book is selected for the developmental benefits it brings – and for the fun. There is no cost to the family.

  • The local cost of the program is $30.00 per child per year.
  • There is no charge or fee or donation required or expected for enrollment.

To enroll using a printed form to be mailed, click here.
To donate using a printed form to be mailed, click here.

FamilyWize Free Prescription Discount



80 million people in the United States are uninsured and under-insured.  In the last two years, 40% of the U.S. population either didn’t buy medicine they needed or reduced the required dosage because of the high cost!

Health care coverage is one of the top concerns for people in our community.  United Way of Fort Smith Area is committed to helping increase access to affordable health care and getting everyone the medicine they need.  Many people who live and work in our community struggle to pay their bills and have to choose between getting the medicine they need and paying for food, rent or utilities.

We are pleased to partner with FamilyWize to offer this important free prescription discount card program to help everyone in our community.

Since FamilyWize began in 2005, this free prescription assistance program has helped over 4.5 million people save money on their prescription medications.  As you can see from the counter on our homepage, our United Way and other United Ways across the country are working with FamilyWize every day to help more people.

Who Can Use The Prescription Discount Card?

The FamilyWize prescription drug discount cards can be used by everyone in the community for prescription medicine.  Not just people with no insurance. There are no usage, age, or income limits.

How Does the Card Work?

Simply give the card to the pharmacist with your prescription.  An instant discount— varies by medication—is applied to the prescription medicine.  The card provides pharmacy discounts (up to 75%) on all FDA approved prescription medicine not covered by insurance, Medicaid, Medicare or other benefit plans.  You pay either the discounted price or the pharmacy’s retail price, whichever is lower.

Where Do I Get A Card?

Just click the free prescription discount card on our homepage to print your own.  Or text the word “family” to 700700 and receive card information on your phone.  Take it to one of the 60,000 participating pharmacies to begin saving immediately.

Click here to visit the FamilyWize website.

NALC Food Drive

Each year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, United Way of Fort Smith Area partners with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in the largest annual one-day effort to combat hunger in the United States. Every year, families, letter carriers, postal employees and volunteers do their part to provide tens of thousands of pounds of food to those who are most in need in Crawford and Sebastian counties. Letter carriers deliver the donations to the post offices where volunteers take them to area food banks or pantries.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

If you don’t have prescription coverage and can’t afford your medicines, you could get help paying for them. United Way of Fort Smith Area is a partner with Partnership for Prescription Assistance of Arkansas to help Arkansans get prescription drugs.

PPA provides a single point of access to public and private patient assistance programs that provide assistance for more than 2,500 brand name medicines and a wide range of generics.

Visit the PPA website here.

Fill the Bus

Many children look forward to arriving on the first day of school with new notebooks, backpacks and pencil boxes, but it’s a different story for children whose families can’t afford these items. Toward the end of July, United Way of Fort Smith Area asks individuals to help them fill a bus full of supplies to be donated to at-risk children in the six-county area it serves.

Not only do the donated supplies help children with their studies, having a new backpack or notebook can really help raise a child’s self-esteem. Feeling good about themselves and having the tools they need to complete their school work helps children get off on the right foot as they start a new school year.