Photography by Wesley Hitt
Oh, I may wander, but when I do I will never be far from you. You’re in my blood and I know you’ll always be. Arkansas, you run deep in me.
A love of people and places, combined with a generous spirit, defines a true humanitarian. Every individual possesses this power of philanthropy to create positive change and a future that is bright. Arkansas Community Foundation is in the business of building better communities by making philanthropy simple, flexible and efficient. For more than four decades, the organization has cultivated the opportunity for all Arkansans to support meaningful initiatives. This kind of accessibility is only restricted by imagination + creativity. Part of this mission fulfillment work connects resources to build community, facilitating unlimited possibilities for all Arkansans. Songwriter Wayland Holyfield recently gifted his iconic song Arkansas You Run Deep in Me to the foundation. It has become a platform for gratitude as Arkansas Community Foundation releases the video later this month.
Arkansas You Run Deep in Me was written by Wayland as a tribute to the state and a celebration of its sesquicentennial. It’s become a state anthem and represents an undeniable devotion to many of the things that make Arkansas unique as the Natural State. Wayland was introduced to Arkansas Community Foundation through his friend and local historian Jim Pfeifer. “I wanted this song to have a forever home and be sure that future generations of Arkansans know it. Jim connected me to Heather at Arkansas Community Foundation. The team there took the gift of my song and is making it live beyond me,” Wayland emphasizes.
“There are so many ways to give, big and small. We love the unusual, like this song, which has the power to unite and strengthen us all,” Arkansas Community Foundation President & CEO Heather Larkin elaborates. “We consider ourselves experts in creating smart, philanthropic solutions and utilizing complex gifts that benefit the state. The donation of this song is just one example of a myriad of ways an individual can give back.”
Wayland comes from a humble beginning; he was born in Morrilton and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a degree in marketing. He soon moved to Nashville to pursue a songwriting career. Artists who have recorded his songs include Don Williams, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Conway Twitty and Randy Travis among many other country music stars. Arkansas You Run Deep in Me holds special meaning to Wayland. “It was created at my friend Ron Robinson’s request and became our official state song. It was used by Arkansas PBS for many years, and was played at the inauguration of President Clinton. If it weren’t for Ron Robinson, the song might not exist. But now, it is my favorite song I’ve ever written.”
The reintroduction of this fabled song will include a video featuring some of the state’s nonprofit organizations that partner with Arkansas Community Foundation to create impactful and meaningful contributions. Heather adds, “Layered alongside the beauty of the Natural State, nonprofit organizations. donors and other supporters will be featured in the video. November is philanthropy month, and it’s the perfect time thank our donors and celebrate the work we do together.”