The Arkansas Banker July 2018

Page 26

Giving it All Back:

Investing in Children and Youth in Arkansas by Donna Spakes Foundation Life Insurance of Arkansas

The Robbie Westphal Family has long been known for their philanthropic activities in Fort Smith, western Arkansas and the state. Many of the company’s efforts are focused on children. “My family believes in giving back to the community. I have a philosophy: the first-third of your life you learn how to make money, the second-third you make it, and the final-third you give it all back,” said Bennie Westphal, president of the family’s business, which owns Foundation Life Insurance Company of Arkansas. Among the Westphal family’s efforts at giving it all back by investing in children and youth in Arkansas is working with Antioch for Youth & Family, Inc., the Community School of the Arts in Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Boxing Association.


The Westphal family helps support the cause of Charolette Tidwell at Antioch for Youth & Family, Inc. in Fort Smith, where she uses much of her pension from her nursing career to provide nutritious food that a family can prepare and serve at home. 12,000 to 15,000 children and adults benefit from her countless hours of service each month. “You’ve heard of the Farm to Table movement? Well I believe in Family at the Table, where all enjoy fresh nutritious food,” said Tidwell. Bennie Westphal, who is a successful honey farmer in the area, donated bee hives to the organization so fresh honey can be provided to families. And when a local hotel recently remodeled, he was able to acquire and donate the furniture so that Tidwell could place those items with families who were in need.

Tidwell runs the largest food pantry in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. Learn more about this organization at


The Robbie Westphal Family gifted the Community School of the Arts (CSA) almost 11 acres of land along Riverfront Drive in downtown Fort Smith to build a large arts facility. The location of the future CSA will be adjacent to the future site of the United States Marshals Museum, where over 16 acres was also donated by the Westphals. The U.S. Marshals Service selected Fort Smith as the site for the estimated 50,000-squarefoot national museum. The Community School of the Arts is a non-profit organization serving the Fort Smith area and surrounding region by providing high-quality instruction in music, theatre, dance and visual art. Artistic excellence is at the core of all teaching as CSA hires top artists and professionals to work with students. Dr. Rosilee Russell, classical pianist and well-known voice for the arts, is the Founder and Executive Director of CSA Fort Smith. “I am deeply grateful to the Westphal family for their philanthropy and their vision for developing the next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Russell. “Like us, they understand the importance of the arts in shaping young lives. I’m pleased to be part of something that promotes both artistic excellence and quality entertainment for the entire family.”

Charolette Tidwell and children display the harvest in one of the Antioch for Youth & Family gardens.

26 The Arkansas Banker


July 2018

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