A group of people in Ashley County are building an organization that they hope will benefit cancer patients and caregivers of cancer patients in the area.

“Hope at Home” is a new non-profit organization that will fundraise annually, but will keep 100 percent of the proceeds in Ashley County.

“We want to see where the money is going and see our area benefit from it,” Hope at Home board member Stephanie Craig said.

Craig and other members of the Hope at Home board have been discussing the idea for a while. Craig said she, as well as other members of the board, have worked with other benefit organizations in the past and have experience with large fundraising events.

Hope at Home is a non profit organization and has filed for 501(C)3 status with the IRS. The organization will be governed by a board of nine members with an additional “selection board” made up of five people, who are not on the board of directors, and those five will review benefit applications once submitted.

The new non-profit will be structured very similar to Ashley County Alzheimer’s, a volunteer organization that also raises funds to keep in Ashley County. Residents may submit an application to the Hope at Home selection board to request funds to aid with the high expense of cancer treatment. The applications will be approved on a case by case bases and the expenses covered will vary depending on the number of applicants and amount of funds that the organization has available.

Hope at Home will be strictly a volunteer organization, which will cut down on the expenses that other non-profit organizations have.

Hope at Home will not have salaried employees and some of the other overhead and operating expenses that larger benefit organizations incur throughout the year.

Organizations like American Heart Association and St. Jude’s Hospital list their chief executive officer’s salaries at $1.7 million and $1.3 million including their bonus, incentive compensation. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reported in 2017 that their CEO was paid $5,303,958, which included bonuses, incentive packages and other compensation. Therefore, if Ashley County raises and donates $40,000 to charities such as this or similar the money raised would only equal a fraction of the CEO’s monthly salary, which for some charities could range from $144,000 per month to $441,000 per month.

“Now that we’ve created Hope at Home, not only will our money stay here, but so much more of it will be used for the cause,” board member Tonya Cooper said.

Hope at Home will also use community locations to host meetings and plan, therefore won’t have building or utility expenses.

“We have raised a lot of money right here in Ashley County for other organizations, and now we have a true volunteer organization to fundraise for,” Cooper said.

Hope at Home is planning a large spring event to raise funds and honor those in the community who have both survived cancer or passed on.

“We will do some type of candle lighting ceremony or a survivor ceremony,” Craig said.

The board met and voted Tuesday to decide whether the event would be a festival, block party or benefit walk or run, but the board’s decision was not available at press time. Those interested in learning more about the event or participating may attend the open meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Jan 31 at the Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce building.

Cooper said she hopes the community will support the organization and their efforts to raise money that stays in Ashley County.

“We hope the community will join together for those local who are battling cancer or have love one battling cancer this organization because that is what Hope at Home is about, supporting those in our community who need us,” Cooper said.

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