LR Women Making History – Pat Lile

Pat Lile has worked to make Little Rock, and indeed all of Arkansas, a better place.

A native of Hope, she attended Hendrix College.  After marriage and her husband’s law school, Pat and John Lile settled in Pine Bluff.  For nearly three decades she devoted herself to improving that city. She served in many volunteer leadership positions, so it is no surprise that in 1981, she and John founded Leadership Pine Bluff to help cultivate the next leaders.  She served as its executive director for nine years.

In 1990, the Liles moved to Little Rock.  From 1990 to 1995, she was the Executive Director of the Commission for Arkansas’ Future.  Then in 1996, she became President and CEO of the Arkansas Community Foundation.  Until her retirement in 2007, she led that organization as it grew.  Since her retirement, she has not slowed down.

Among the organizations she has founded or co-founded since the 1970s include Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, and the Arkansas Non-profit Alliance.  She is on the Board of Trustees of Philander Smith College, U.S. Marshals Museum and Joseph Pfeifer Kiwanis Camp. She is also very active in her church, First United Methodist.

Lile has received a number of other honors including the Arkansas Community Foundation’s Lugean Chilcote award in the late 1980’s and the “Roots and Wings” Arkansas Benefactor award in 2008. Entergy, Inc. awarded her its “Distinguished Leadership Award” in 1997. Appointed by then President Bill Clinton, she was the only Arkansas delegate to the 1999 White House Conference on Philanthropy. In 2004 the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Arkansas Commission named her the recipient of a “Salute to Greatness” Community Service Award. In March of 2009 Lile was named by Arkansas Business, the state’s premier weekly business publication, as one of the top 25 Arkansas women leaders over the past 25 years, one of only two from the philanthropic sector. In March of 2010 Lile was presented the Father Joseph Biltz award from Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA).  In 2016, she received the James E. Harris Nonprofit Leadership Award.

The real reason Pat Lile has been successful is her determination and dedication. She is an encourager who works to bring out the best in others. Whether she is serving as a Brownie leader in Pine Bluff or attending a White House summit, Pat Lile believes that everyone in the room has the capacity to change lives by showing love for others. And then she does not give up!


Arkansans have a heart for giving. On April 2, 2015, let’s join together to grow the love for our state’s nonprofit organizations. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., we’re challenging all Arkansans to give to the charities of their choice.

During this one-day event, each donation you give will help your favorite nonprofit organizations qualify for additional bonus dollars from Arkansas Community Foundation. All participating nonprofits will receive a portion of a $250,000 match pool; the more a nonprofit raises, the more of the bonus dollars it will receive.

There are many worthwhile non-profits participating.  But since this is a Little Rock culture blog, here is a listing of cultural non-profits serving Little Rock which are participating.

Fund set up to ensure sustained support of July 4th Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Pops on the River featuring ASO

popsonriverAccording to an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, a fund has been set up to ensure long-term sustained support of the paper’s Pops on the River music and fireworks spectacle.  The Pops on the River Charitable Fund has been established at the Arkansas Community Foundation. The first gift was a donation of $100,000 by the Hussman Foundation.

The state’s largest Fourth of July celebration, Pops on the River is a day-long observance that draws around 30,0000 people to the River Market district and First Security Amphitheater in downtown Little Rock. Fireworks and a free concert by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra highlight the celebration.  The celebration was started in 1983 by the then-Arkansas Democrat just as Riverfront Park was first developing.

“The idea is to try to set up an endowment fund over the years that will generate enough income so that it could pay for Pops on the River,” Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter E. Hussman Jr. said in the article.  He envisions that the fund will build year by year toward a goal of $1 million.  The goal amount would generate $50,000 per year to cover the costs of Pops on the River.  Though the Hussman Foundation plans on annual donations of $100,000 as economically feasible, the fund is set up to take donations from other foundations as well as corporations and individuals.