SBC Southwestern Bell Arkansas*

City: Little Rock
Category: Arkansas Community Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropic Corporations
Year: 2001

Phone company people just expect to serve their community, according to Cynthia Brinkley, president and CEO of SBC Southwestern Bell Arkansas.

"We get involved and support those communities in which we live and in which we work," she said. "We contribute not only with providing valuable service but also what we [give to charity] and through the work of our employee volunteers."

The company's community service efforts have landed it the Arkansas Community Foundation's Award for large companies.

SBC, through the SBC Foundation and the company's corporate budget, contributed more than $1.5 million to Arkansas charities and nonprofit causes, including $166,150 to United Way.

Volunteers are "the type of person that's attracted to working at SBC," Brinkley said. "We are a service company. We do provide a service to the public, and I think that just bleeds over."

Active and retired SBC employees contributed more than 75,000 volunteer hours last year, Brinkley said.

"Our employee group is called the Pioneers," she said. "We have a very strong base here."

Building wheelchair ramps in parks and at homes; helping with the Boy and Girl Scouts, Easter Seals and March of Dimes; and working at the Arkansas Arts Center are some of the activities in which SBC volunteers participated last year.

The company makes a major effort in economic development as well, starting with the $1.5 million technology center at the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. Other SBC development contributions in 2001 included a $250,000 grant to the Clinton Presidential Foundation for

and $51,600 to the Fayetteville Town Center.

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