Photography by Lori Sparkman Photography
Fellow Arkansans – neighbors, colleagues and friends – are sharing a light of peace, kindness and generosity that makes The Natural State a little brighter. Inviting Arkansas and Methodist Family Health celebrate individuals who illuminate our community with goodness. Nominate someone today for a future feature that SHINES.
Derek Lewis II affirms, “Our best days are ahead.” Together, the Lewis family is taking action for a healthier Arkansas today and tomorrow. Derek learned the power of civic leadership from his father. He shares the values with his children, constituents and community.
Established by his father in 1993, the Derek Lewis Foundation began as a summer tutoring program at St. John Church in Little Rock. The foundation addresses health disparities among disadvantaged communities and collaborates with industry leaders to improve health equity throughout the state. Derek acknowledges, “We have the opportunity to make a transformational impact in our state through our family’s collective passion and purpose. It’s an honor and a great responsibility to serve in this capacity for the Derek Lewis Foundation.” Now president of DLF, Derek continues his father’s vision to improve the welfare of fellow Arkansans.
Following the Derek Lewis Foundation mantra – Preparing Today for Tomorrow – Derek set his academic career as a priority. After receiving a BA in Finance from University of Central Arkansas, he pursued higher education at the University of Phoenix obtaining an MBA. Derek is an active member of his alma mater where he serves with the University of Central Arkansas Alumni Association as well as the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Physician Assistant Program and the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention.
Through a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, Derek Lewis Foundation has expanded and evolved during its three decades. The scope includes three education endowment funds as well as 2nd generation family giving. Camps and programs throughout the year provide additional resources. Bike for Kids donates bicycles to elementary-level kids and a Community Health & Wellness Expo provides health services to low-income communities.
Most recently, Derek established the Arkansas Black Philanthropy Collaborative, a new initiative to support black-led and black-serving nonprofit organizations. As chairman, Derek hopes to create a space for Black philanthropic leaders to network, connect and plan. He explains, “Its goal is to design black-led solutions for social change and to be a partner in building equity in all communities.”
Derek and his wife Karen continue the family legacy of community service for their three children Derek III, Karis and Kyra. The philosophy is simple: collaborate, give and challenge to be better agents of change. “One of my father’s mottos is to give back to the community that has given to you. We are not a large foundation, so we have realized we can only do so much alone. Collaboration with other agencies on health and social equity can transform the entire state and level the playing field for communities across Arkansas.”
Sponsored by Methodist Family Health | Nominations accepted at Foundation@MethodistFamily.org
methodistfamily.org | #ShareTheLightandSHINE