Union County

Excel by Eight in Union County

The E8 coalition in Union County, led by the SHARE Foundation and United Way, identified four priority areas in alignment with their organizational goals and the Excel by Eight resource grid.

Priorities include child care availability, mental health, parent and family resources, and affordable housing. In 2023, the steering committee will approve goals, guide needs assessments, and review and evaluate strategies that are locally appropriate, feasible, and impactful for children ages 0-8 and their families.


Located on southern state border

Major industries include oil and gas and chemicals 

Home to Murphy Arts District, an arts and entertainment district in downtown El Dorado

Largest county in Arkansas, in terms of square miles

Steering Committee

E8 Core Team

Karen Hicks, Lead Facilitator, El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce

Roy Bullock, El Dorado City Council
Amy Sturdivant, SHARE Foundation/South Arkansas Regional Hospital Foundation
Tyler Turner, United Way of Union County
Jill Weinischke, SHARE Foundation

Committee Members
Kaila Emery, The CALL

Brittany Furhmann, Goodwill Industries of Arkansas

Sheila Holland, El Dorado School District

David Lee, Boys & Girls Club of El Dorado

Lorenzo Loston, Victory Childcare Center
Kristi Lowery, Hope Landing

Bill Luther, El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce
Debbie McAdams, El Dorado School District

Angela Means, SHARE Foundation

Arnitera Meeks, Women Moving Forward

Kim Newman, El Dorado School District
Jennifer Schroeder, South Arkansas College
Jackie Stratton, Union County 100 Families
Vikki Ward, CASA for Children

Michelle Wayne, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services

Jennifer Wylie, The Eagle Foundation

Read more about E8 Communities

Excel by Eight hosts Spring 2024 Learning Community

Excel by Eight hosts Spring 2024 Learning Community

Representatives from our E8 communities came together in April for our semiannual Learning Community. The agenda for the two-day event focused on identifying resources to support the development and implementation of their community plans, specifically in the areas of early care and education, maternal health, and K-3rd grade literacy.

Jefferson County hosts Fall 2023 Learning Community

Jefferson County hosts Fall 2023 Learning Community

Representatives from each of Excel by Eight’s six communities came together in Pine Bluff for two days of relationship building, learning, and idea sharing at the Fall 2023 Learning Community. Thank you to the Jefferson County steering committee and the team at the Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative for being such gracious hosts!

How an emphasis on early childhood helped usher in a $25 million investment for the city of Batesville

How an emphasis on early childhood helped usher in a $25 million investment for the city of Batesville

During an August 2023 special election, residents of Batesville voted overwhelmingly in favor of four ballot issues that marked a turning point for the city. These issues secured a $25 million investment for the expansion and improvement of the city’s parks and recreation facilities as well as an additional $110 million to go toward the construction of a new water treatment system. Opportunities to reshape a city’s infrastructure and enrich its social and recreational offerings without a tax increase seldom arise. But when they do, seizing these moments requires more than a stroke of luck; it demands collaboration, a willingness to learn, and data-informed planning.