Matt Cleveland – Outstanding Fundraising Professional

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Photography by Rett Peek | Shot on location at the UA Little Rock Windgate Center of Art + Design

   A native Arkansan, Matthew Cleveland believes there’s no place like home. “My family loves Arkansas because of its natural beauty. We can drive to lakes, rivers, mountains and the convenience of the big cities. The people also make living here and my line of work so meaningful.”

   Matt’s work in development and fundraising improves the lives of fellow Arkansans. At Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, he shares the opportunity to transform the future of children who have experienced abuse. He recognizes this kind of support as a civic responsibility of every citizen. “There are many generous people, even if they don’t always have a lot to give. One of the reasons I love raising funds for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches is that every donor who contributes makes a difference in the lives of the children we serve. Our average gift is around $100, but when enough people join their intentions together to fight for a common purpose like children, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.”

   The legacy of the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch reflects this philosophy. Established through the collaboration of the 75 sheriffs serving throughout the state, the organization offers boys and girls a safe and loving place to call home. It’s a family-style foster care program that garners support through the advocacy efforts of county sheriffs. Matt elaborates, “We receive small donations from every county in the state. And when you put all of those gifts together, along with the mission to protect and serve children, we have been able to transform thousands of lives since 1976.”

 width=   Throughout his career, Matt’s idealism has remained steadfast. “The power of philanthropy lies in the power of community action. Just like combining our voices, combining our resources and action allows us to tackle seemingly impossible tasks.” Matt continues, “Huge obstacles that are overwhelming for an individual are easily overcome through collective action, whether that is combining resources to fund a cure, tackling homelessness or a healthcare crisis. When we put our imaginations and resources together strategically, we can do anything. At Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch that means providing a home for children who have nowhere else to go.”

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