Youth ranch photo

Participating in the 2020 Giving Tuesday event at Citizens Bank’s headquarters in Batesville are (from left) White River Now’s Teisha Bee and Eddie Woodruff; Citizens Bank’s Ashley Engles; White River Now’s Chad Whiteaker; and Matt Cleveland of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches.

“Giving Tuesday” generated impressive results this week for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, as more than $65,000 was donated by individuals and companies during a daylong collaboration with Citizens Bank and the White River Now family of radio stations.

Radio personalities and bank personnel broadcast live on the air all day from the Citizens Bank headquarters in Batesville to support the Youth Ranch organization. Listeners and others stopped by the bank’s parking lot during the day to contribute at the event’s broadcast location.

More than 135 donations raised at least $65,457 for the Youth Ranch.

“Thank you all so much for the role you played in the success of our Giving Tuesday campaign this year,” said Matt Cleveland, chief development officer at the Youth Ranch. “It would not have been possible without everyone helping us.”

Since 2015, the Youth Ranch has received nearly $170,000 through about 600 Giving Tuesday donations from local businesses and individuals.

Cleveland said Citizens Bank helped make this year’s record-setting day possible by initially pledging a matching gift of up to $5,000, and then increasing the match to $7,500 later in the day.

“We were glad to have Citizens Bank challenge our corporate community in the Batesville area and that Bad Boy, Intimidator, Batesville Walmart, Precise Heating & Cooling and many others answered the call,” Cleveland said. “Thank you to Citizens Bank for once again investing in the ASYR’s mission and for your leadership to make sure this campaign was a success,” Cleveland said.

He expressed appreciation to Micah Beard, Citizens Bank’s North Central Arkansas Market President, who is also president of the board of the Youth Ranch; and to Ashley Engles, the bank’s community engagement officer, “for pouring herself into this event each year to make sure it is a success.”

It was feared that this year’s donations might be limited due to economic strains from the almost year-long fight against the COVID-19 pandemic; however, individuals and area businesses began submitting donations at a consistent pace.

Fundraising is a critical need for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, which, since its inception in 1976, has provided children a place to call home.

Children often come to the ranch with a history of maltreatment, typically lacking nurturing family relationships. The ranch is a transformative family-style foster care program. It provides a healthy, emotionally-supportive home environment.

The ranch’s mission is to address, remedy, and prevent child abuse and neglect by creating safe, healthy, and permanent homes for children.

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