Serving the community for nearly two decades, Inviting Arkansas continues to recognize philanthropic + civic leadership in Central Arkansas. As we begin this new decade, we have some buried treasures to share from the archives. These are just a few illustrious covers that reflect the continued mission fulfillment work in our community. Enjoy the memories, read about a few of the Capital City’s beloved foundations and remember to vote for your favorite cover – one of these nonprofit organizations will win a complimentary ad in the magazine. The contest will close on May 31st… #MakingPhilanthropyFUN
LuAnn Ashley for the American Heart Association – January 2013 Issue
By Jillian McGehee | Photography by Sara Blancett | Wardrobe from Applause | Makeup by Vannette Vititow for Barbara/Jean | Jewelry from Cecil’s Fine Jewelry | Shot on location at the North Little Rock Municipal Airport
With her Southern charm and contagious smile, LuAnn Ashley is the driving force behind this year’s Heart Ball, the major fundraiser of the American Heart Association in Central Arkansas.
At her birthday party last month, LuAnn Ashley’s smile became even bigger when she received her dream car. Her friends and family were standing in front of the candy apple red 1961 Cadillac convertible as she walked out to her driveway and discovered her birthday surprise. Giddiness overwhelmed her when her friends separated, revealing the vintage vehicle – a grand car for a woman with a grand heart. And as fate would have it, the retro coupe, with authentic whitewall tires and white leather interior, arrived just in time for LuAnn’s cover shoot.
Receiving this car was a big gesture of love toward LuAnn, who’s used to giving so much to others. While her Cadillac provided a dreamy prop during the photo shoot and fun for all, the purpose of the day was never lost for LuAnn. She was willing to do anything to promote the 2013 Heart Ball, which she is co-chairing with her husband Rick Ashley.
“The event is one of our favorites,” LuAnn says, “and we have supported it for many years, so when Michelle and Hugh McDonald (last year’s chairs) asked us to join the Heart Ball team, we were honored.”
The Heart Ball is the largest annual fundraising event for the American Heart Association in Central Arkansas. Proceeds support the organization’s mission of building healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Heart disease hits home for LuAnn and Rick. “My grandparents and Rick’s dad all suffered from heart disease so we know first-hand the importance of the work done by the American Heart Association,” LuAnn says.
With the theme Southern Hearts, LuAnn says she is planning to throw an “unbelievable Southern gala” and hopes to raise $1 million at the Heart Ball. The event will take place on Feb. 9 at the Statehouse Convention Center. “You will definitely know that you are in the south,” LuAnn notes. “From the signature drinks, mint juleps, to the Southern meal, you will think that you are stepping back in time. I am so excited that the evening will end with dancing to tunes from my favorite band, The Rockets.”
Two of the premier live auction items are an art-deco inspired diamond Riviera-style necklace from Cecil’s Fine Jewelry, and a fabulous week-long trip to the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, WY, with travel on a private jet.
The American Heart Association allocates 75 cents of every donated dollar to research, says Tammy Quick with the local organization, “because it offers the best hope for helping the millions of American adults who have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.” Research is only part of the battle, she notes. “Education is the other main component to prevent and survive heart disease and stroke.”
The education aspect of the American Heart Association is something that peaked LuAnn’s interest in the organization. “As a former teacher, I was excited about the educational aspect of the American Heart Association,” she says. “I want everyone to be educated about the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke and every graduate to be trained in CPR.”
The Heart Ball also serves as the formal presentation of the girls involved in the Sweetheart program. The Sweethearts are high school sophomore students who, from August through February’s Heart Ball, participate in this program designed to teach them about heart disease and living a healthy lifestyle. They not only learn heart disease prevention practices, but they also volunteer for the organization and develop civic responsibility.