New Beginnings of Fayetteville on Monday announced the largest donation in its history — $1 million from Jane Hunt, the daughter of J.B. and Johnelle Hunt, founders of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell.
The nonprofit said it will use the money to fund construction and operation of a housing community for the homeless in Fayetteville. The complex, which broke ground in 2019 but began construction last fall, will include 20 temporary shelters surrounding a shared building with a kitchen, shower house and laundry.
The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported in October that the complex will cost about $900,000 to build and operate for a year. It will allow people experiencing long-term homelessness to stay in a community where they can access resources to care for their health and connect with long-term housing.
"New Beginnings is overjoyed and grateful to Jane Hunt for embracing the vision of this project and her extreme generosity in supporting New Beginnings," said Aaron J. Marshall, the organization's board president. "This gift allows us to complete construction and the initial capital campaign and shift our focus to ongoing, sustained programming support for the staff and services that will make the difference in our residents' lives."
The Arkansas Community Foundation helped organize the Hunt donation. Hunt is a founding member of the foundation's northwest Arkansas Philanthropy Club.
"I have been exploring the complex issue of homelessness in our community for several years," Jane Hunt said in a news release. "When I learned about the plans for the New Beginnings Bridge Housing program, I felt that for the first time there was a real solution that could truly work. I am happy to lend my support to the New Beginnings team's efforts."
The complex is at 1900 S. School Ave. near the 7 Hills Homeless Center.