By Alexis Nalley | Photography by Sarah Oden
Makeup by Bridget Baltimore with Barbara Jean | Hair by Taylor Harris with Joels | Wardrobe from Barbara Jean | Shot on Location at The Whimsy Cookie Company
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas is one of the most notable nonprofit organizations in Little Rock. What started as a six-room house in 1980 has grown into a nonprofit that assists more than 1,100 families annually through the Ronald McDonald House as well as the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. Inspired by the foundation’s mission, Susan Miller joined the Board of Directors in 2006 and has fulfilled many additional roles. From mentoring fellow patrons and encouraging staff to her leadership roles, Susan’s heart is invested in this “home-away-from-home” for Arkansas families. For her unwavering commitment, Susan will be honored at this year’s Chocolate Fantasy Ball.
Susan is a partner at BKD, LLP and currently serves on the RMHCA Board of Directors as well as its Executive Committee and Development Committee and is encouraged by the strength of the families Ronald McDonald House helps. “Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas’ focus of providing a ‘home-away-from-home’ for families whose children have been sent to Little Rock for life-saving medical care inspires me to do more, give more, and serve more,” Susan explains. “We have amazing donors, volunteers and staff who work hard to help the organization fulfill its mission. I consider myself very fortunate to have been involved for the last 12 years.”
The work of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas spans beyond the 32,000 square foot home adjacent to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Executive Director Janell Mason elaborates, “We not only have the Ronald McDonald House that keeps families close to their critically ill child at Arkansas Children’s, Baptist Medical Center or UAMS, but we also have the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a 40-ft mobile clinic that provides free dental care and education to underserved children in their own neighborhood.”
The Chocolate Fantasy Ball is the sweetest and most delicious annual event in the Capital City. This “Eat Dessert First” gala features more than 6,000 pieces of delectable treats, a live and silent auction, a multi-course dinner and entertainment. “It’s a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day…a sweet evening with your sweetie,” Janell jokes. Proceeds from the gala support RMHCA operations and continued work throughout Central Arkansas. “Susan’s dedication to our mission, and the families we serve, is unparalleled. Every day we are inspired by her leadership, strategic thinking, and focus on the success of our organization. All of this, combined with her generous financial support and more than a decade of involvement, make Susan the ideal honoree for the 2019 Chocolate Fantasy Ball.”
It’s the remarkable resilience of the families that come to the Ronald McDonald House that keeps Susan devoted to the organization. “It warms my heart to help keep families together in a time of need when it is so important to help in their child’s healing process and favorably impact outcomes,” Susan explains. “To be able to alleviate the worry of food, shelter and comfort by providing the Ronald McDonald House means so much to me.”