New board members buoy Thea Day of Giving theme


Becoming a member of the board of a nonprofit throughout a pandemic makes the same old studying curve for brand spanking new board members even steeper. Simply ask two of the most recent additions to the board for the North Little Rock-based Thea Basis.

“Every little thing has been digital, like all huge enterprise, carried out by way of Zoom conferences,” Alex Montez says.

The largest problem for him, says Jeremy Mitchell, has been “attending to know the regulars,” together with different members of the board, the workers and the shoppers.

The 2 are actively concerned in placing collectively the muse’s year-end fundraiser, the second annual Thea’s Day of Giving, at this time. The particular donation day takes place on the birthday of basis namesake Thea Kay Leopoulos, already achieved as a younger artist when she died in a automobile wreck in Might 2001.

The inspiration, based by her dad and mom, is now wrapping up its twentieth 12 months of serving Arkansas college students, offering artwork provides for Okay-12 lecture rooms {and professional} improvement for academics and funding scholarships for proficient kids.

“Dec. 6 coincides with the birthday of Thea,” Montez says. “It is a very big day for fundraising.”

It is also linked to assembly the muse’s year-end budgetary targets. “It is a dash to the end line,” Montez says.

Basis director of improvement Jennifer Owens Buie says the aim by the top of this 12 months is someplace north of $50,000.

Montez’ connection to the nonprofit got here by means of basis President Trish Roberson, who invited him to attend “Into the Blue,” a basis fundraiser specializing in the younger performers who’ve obtained Thea scholarships.

“I used to be simply amazed on the degree of expertise of those younger folks,” he recollects. “I used to be hooked then and there. I knew I wished to be concerned.”

Mitchell additionally linked to the muse by means of fundraisers, together with “Into the Blue” and “Blue Plate Particular,” the latter with a culinary focus. He was additionally beforehand acquainted with Buie.

Collectively, Mitchell and Montez body principal components of what the muse helps.

Mitchell’s focus is the visible arts; he professes a keenness for pop artwork and artwork “that makes an announcement,” particularly the works of Andy Warhol and Banksy.

Montez, in the meantime, leans extra towards the performing arts, “although I really like the visible arts as nicely.” His musical tastes vary from Chopin “Nocturnes” to the rock-blues guitar of Mark Knopfler. He took up the guitar as a baby, although he insists he was by no means actually any good at it, although his son, Stuart, is now “grinding out a dwelling” as a musician in Nashville, Tenn., because the lead guitarist in a band and doing the odd acoustic gig.

Mitchell grew up in a farming household in southeast Arkansas and attended Watson Chapel faculties, the place he participated in varied school-sponsored artwork packages. He attended the College of Central Arkansas and studied enterprise on the College of Arkansas at Little Rock. He says he is not presently holding down a 9-5-type job; his “enterprise,” he explains, is philanthropy. He spent a number of years volunteering for the Particular Olympics of Arkansas and the nonprofit’s Regulation Enforcement Torch Run.

Montez hails from Fayetteville and attended Fayetteville public faculties and the College of Arkansas. He was for greater than 20 years an funding banker, holding senior positions with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, Citibank and Morgan Keegan. He is presently the vice chairman of gross sales and enterprise improvement for EMK3, a privately-held software program firm headquartered in Plano, Texas, that gives software program options for the vitality trade. He has served on the board of Wildwood Park for the Arts.

Basis board members serve three-year phrases, with the choice of re-upping for one more three years. After six years’ service, they’ll roll off the board, wait 12 months, and rejoin in the event that they’re of a thoughts.

“Since their time as new board members has been very untraditional with Thea Basis being unable to carry our vital fundraisers, they’ve each labored diligently to [acquire] new supporters and donors in addition to common consciousness for our packages and Thea’s mission,” says Amanda Seevers, the muse’s director of communications. “We’re blown away by their real help and dedication to serving to us throughout this time.”

Since 2001, Thea Basis has handed out 437 scholarships, totaling $2.4 million, to Arkansas college students, primarily based solely on their expertise alone. The inspiration will maintain its 2021 competitors fully on-line beginning in January, and, says Seevers, “We’re nonetheless on observe to award all 36 annual scholarships by means of the net competitions.”

Thea’s Artwork Closet, which debuted in 2007, has despatched out $1.6 million in provides and inventive supplies to Arkansas public faculties and expects to now present $100,000 yearly for academics to submit their venture wants. Throughout the pandemic, Buie says, this system has been a a useful resource, particularly for assist securing provides for hybrid studying,

To provide on Thea’s Day of Giving at this time, or all through the month, go to, name (501) 951-0374 or e-mail at

Jeremy Mitchell (left) and Alex Montez, as new Thea Foundation board members, are marshaling forces for the annual Thea Day of Giving.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

Jeremy Mitchell (left) and Alex Montez, as new Thea Basis board members, are marshaling forces for the annual Thea Day of Giving.
(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)


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