For Immediate Release….

Fort Smith, Arkansas (March 27, 2020) …United Way of Fort Smith Area Launches COVID 19 Community Response Fund for River Valley

The United Way of Fort Smith Area has launched a COVID 19 Response Fund to provide micro-grants directly to area non-profits and faith based organizations that are working directly with individuals and families that have been impacted by the Corona Virus.

Lead gifts from Arvest Bank and OG&E helped establish the fund  for the River Valley Community. United Way of Fort Smith Area supports  four counties in Arkansas (Sebastian, Crawford, Franklin, Logan) and two  counties in Oklahoma (Sequoyah, LeFlore).

“These are very taxing and uncertain times for our community right now and we have had companies and individuals reaching out asking how they can help. We are very thankful to Arvest and OG&E for their unsolicited generosity to kickoff this fund. It is not our intent to fundraise at this time, but rather provide an opportunity for those that have the resources and want to help,” stated Eddie Lee Herndon, President and CEO of United Way of Fort Smith Area.

Non-profits and Faith Based organizations that are serving those that have been affected by sickness, layoffs, and financial burdens as a result of COVID 19 are asked to go to  to gather more information and complete the application process.

Rob Ratley, Community Affairs Manager – Arkansas, had this to say when asked about OG&E’s response,” Less than a year ago our community faced a 500 year flood  that destroyed homes, displaced numerous  families, affected our local businesses, and placed an extreme burden on everyone involved. We were strong then and we will be strong now. We appreciate everything that our United Way and local agencies are doing to once again help our community. “

“‘People Helping People’ has been part of Arvest’s mission for more than 20 years. That’s why we have decided to provide one million meals – in the form of direct monetary donations – to our 80-plus food partners as quickly as possible,” Roger Holroyd, president of Arvest Bank Fort Smith said. “United Way of Fort Smith Area is one of our food partners and we are proud to support their efforts to assist individuals and families in our communities during  this time.”

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, individuals and families throughout our community will be impacted. As bars and restaurants close or reduce their capacities, schools and childcare centers are unable to open, and businesses see diminished revenues, the economic effects will be immense, particularly for those living paycheck to paycheck. To make a donation  to this response fund, you can text the word “response’ to 91999, go online to, by calling the United Way office at 479-782-1311 or by email at  .  100 percent of donations will go to agencies and organizations addressing the immediate needs.