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January 9, 2014

Thrive ( was founded by two young design school graduates who desired to put their training into practice by helping one of the poorest counties in the USA---Phillips County, and its main town, Helena--to thrive. Located on the MS River, Helena was once a bustling community but changes in agriculture and other industries brought the region to its knees economically. What followed was a decaying of a beautiful history and culture of the blues, the river, arts, Civil War history and more. Now its coming back. Thrive started a successful entrepreneur training center to give business skills to people with ideas, to give them web and logo designs, and help them be ready to get a loan to open. They are the regional Kiva reps too. Thrive also works to improve the general quality of life locally through Helena Second Saturdays--a street festival for arts and artisans to sell their wares, by providing below-cost design services to clients, and by working with the local community to dream of a better future. The next phase of Thrive is to set up an office in the 20 poorest counties in the US and replicate the work. These Thrive leaders could be working anywhere and making money, but they choose to help the least of these and make a difference. They are heroes.

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If I had to make changes to this organization, I would... Thrive with fundraising efforts, and helping them spend some time each week to sit down with potential funders to share their dream. They work so hard that its difficult to find time for this. I'd also help them organize a major fundraising event at least once a year. I'd help Thrive contact potential donors to share their great story.

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General Member of the Public

Safe Places Little Rock
June 6, 2012

Arkansas has one of the highest rates of child abuse and domestic violence in the US. Families and individuals need the important life-saving skills provided by the professional staff at Safe Places. They also receive life-changing encouragement and hope to face the future. Safe Places has an outstanding director, Kathy Manis-Findley, and a team of dedicated and professional counselors on staff to help in any situation. Thanks to Safe Places for providing critical services to our most vulnerable people.

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