By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair by Caitlin Neumann with Face Your Day Salon | Makeup by Antonio Figueroa with B. Barnett
The Rockefeller family has a rich history in Arkansas. From the initial 927-acre Winrock Farms atop Petit Jean Mountain – established in 1953 – the vision expanded with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and Winrock International. Programs and services include a network of local, national and international constituents with a finite focus and deep understanding of social justice and meaningful change.
As president and chairman of Winrock Group Inc. and Winrock Farms Inc., Lisenne Rockefeller continues the family’s legacy of philanthropy in Arkansas. Vicki Saviers, who served on the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation Board of Directors with Lisenne for several years, notes, “I continue to marvel at her work ethic and serious desire to make Arkansas a better place for children and families.” For her commitment to the welfare of the children of Arkansas, Lisenne will be celebrated as this year’s Arkansas Woman of Inspiration by the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas.
“We are excited to honor Lisenne for her decades of commitment to children’s issues,” says CACA Executive Director Elizabeth Pulley. “Her support of our mission helps expand our services and provide additional children’s advocacy centers across Arkansas.”
Lisenne recognizes the transformative power of investing in the lives of others. With a heart for children and improving the community, she devotes time to Easter Seals Arkansas and The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas among many other organizations. She treasures the beauty of the natural world and the potential of all people. She believes, “We can’t necessarily change obstacles in life, but we can make a difference – and make the best possible – in the future.” Along with her late husband Winthrop P. Rockefeller, Lisenne established The Academy at Riverdale – a school for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and multiple learning differences. Lisenne notes she became acutely aware of these kinds of challenges so many families face when her own family had to make some important decisions concerning education and individualized needs. “All children deserve a nurturing environment for personal development and success.” She adds, “We have a civic responsibility to provide opportunities for all children to flourish, regardless of circumstances.”
Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson, whose support of the organization spans nearly a decade, persuaded Lisenne to accept the honorary role at this year’s event. “Susan is incredibly passionate about the critical services that the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas provides,” Lisenne explains. “She’s truly an ambassador and believes we should all join in the mission to protect children and help them thrive.” CACA served more than 5,000 children last year.
With its headquarters in North Little Rock and centers throughout the state, CACA is an accredited member of the National Children’s Advocacy Center. Each of the state’s 15 centers offers a safe environment where law enforcement, child protection services, prosecution, victim advocacy and health professionals develop coordinated strategies to address each child’s specific needs. Elizabeth explains, “We strive to bring hope and healing to all young victims – offering a healthier and happier future.” All services are free.
The Arkansas Woman of Inspiration Dinner generates necessary funding for CACA members and centers to provide critical prosecution and related services that address child abuse and neglect. This inaugural dinner event will showcase a Carolina Herrera fashion show presented by Barbara Jean. Guests can expect an evening of elegance and opulence – intrinsic to the drama of New York City. Lisenne notes that Carolina Herrera is one of her favorite designers and the endless possibilities of The Big Apple are always appealing, but the fundamental purpose of it all is “furthering the organization’s mission” and offering inspiration in spite of difficult circumstances that might destroy a life. “There’s hope in every situation,” she explains. “It can be difficult at times, but realizing hope – and creating a hopeful tomorrow for others – is a part of our family’s philosophy.”
“For generations the Rockefeller name has been associated with philanthropy out of a sense of caring and responsibility. Lisenne Rockefeller has embraced that legacy especially with her attention to children with special needs as well as those who have suffered traumatic abuse.” – Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson