Fort Smith, AR (August 4, 2021) – The Board of Directors of the United Way of Fort Smith Area wish to announce the resignation of President and CEO Eddie Lee Herndon, effective August 13. Mr. Herndon will be joining OG&E in the position of Community Affairs Manager. This move will allow him the opportunity to continue representing the Fort Smith and River Valley region in matters of economic development, crisis management, policy advocacy, and community leadership. His resignation will be a significant loss for our agency, but we respect and support his decision and wish him all the best.

“I am excited for Eddie Lee’s opportunity with O G & E! He will be an asset to them, and we wish him the best! His work with the Fort Smith Area United Way has been exemplary; therefore, this is a huge loss. However, Eddie Lee has built a strong team of individuals who will carry on the work and continue to make a difference in the future”, said Suzy Wilson, United Way Board Chair.

Since joining the United Way of Fort Smith Area in February 2015, Mr. Herndon’s leadership qualities have been a valuable asset for our staff and the community. His contribution to the United Way of Fort Smith Area has been a great success and an essential part of our growth in the community. With the assistance of a great committee, he brought the All Pro Tour and the United Way Classic to Fort Smith. This charity golf tournament raised $145,000 for United Way Partner Agencies and over a million dollars in economic impact to the Fort Smith Area in the last two years. He played an integral leadership role in the statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and 211. In partnership with Restore Hope and the State of Arkansas, the 100 Families initiative was brought to Sebastian and Crawford counties. In addition, new programs and initiatives such as Rising in the River Valley, Touch A Truck, the Tyson Summer Internship program, Cooking Matters, and others were developed. Mr. Herndon brought United Way of Fort Smith Area to the forefront in crisis management during the Flood of 2019 and the Covid 19 pandemic. Among the lasting accomplishments of his time as President and CEO is the acquisition of a new facility for the United Way of Fort Smith Area service center and the United Way endowment reaching over 10.9 million dollars. 

Eddie Lee Herndon added, “I am very thankful for the incredible support and opportunities that the United Way of Fort Smith Area Board of Directors has given me during my 6 ½ year tenure at United Way. I have been blessed to have such a capable, talented, and fun staff to work with that make it a joy to go to work every day. Our donors give from the heart, our volunteers’ work ethic is second to none, our area agencies do incredible work through their programs serving those in need. As I move on from this chapter, OG&E is an incredible champion for United Way. I am excited to join their team to continue supporting UWFSA as an advocate, donor, and volunteer. Springboarding from United Way, I am very excited for this new opportunity where I will be using my talents to represent OG&E. United Way has over 93 years of success serving the community with great directors before me, and I am proud to have been a part of this history. United Way will no doubt continue an upward trajectory serving those in need under the new leadership.”

The Executive Board and the Board of Directors will meet in its monthly meeting on August 5 to begin the process of naming an interim director and outline the process for choosing a new President and CEO.