Remainder of $1M pregnancy resource center grant will be distributed this month

23 facilities will have received funds after two rounds; repeat applicants will not get a second share

By: - January 4, 2023 1:55 am
Black woman holding newborn baby in hospital bed

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Arkansas’ grant for pregnancy resource centers will assist a total of 23 facilities after distributing the rest of the $1 million grant fund created in 2022, according to the state Department of Finance and Administration.

The taxpayer-funded grant supports “crisis pregnancy centers,” maternity homes, adoption agencies, and “social service agencies that provide material support and other assistance to individuals facing an unintended pregnancy to help those individuals give birth to their unborn children,” according to Act 187 of 2022.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the grant into law a couple months before the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. Since then, Republican state leaders have held up pregnancy resource centers as critical after the ruling made abortion almost entirely illegal in Arkansas.

Fourteen centers received a total of $454,191 from the grant fund in September 2022, and nine more will receive $488,108.43 later this month, Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said. The rest of the money “will be distributed equitably to all successful awardees” instead of being returned to the state’s general revenue fund as originally planned, he said.

Almost all the applicants have been crisis pregnancy centers, which are often religiously affiliated and discourage clients from ending their pregnancies. The exceptions are an adoption agency in Little Rock, maternity homes in Springdale and Berryville, and a West Memphis nonprofit that focuses on helping impoverished communities.

Seventeen applicants applied in November for the second round of funds, with requests totaling $494,973.91. The nine facilities that will receive funds did not in the first round. Eight of them did not apply the first time. The ninth facility, Acts of Hope in Blytheville, applied for round one in August but was denied funding due to the rules of the grant.

The nine centers that will receive funds are:

  • Acts of Hope, Blytheville: $26,230.95
  • HopePlace, Fordyce: $32,000
  • HopePlace, Monticello: $31,224.50
  • Informed Choices Women’s Center of the Ozarks, Harrison: $29,343.60
  • Informed Choices Women’s Center of the Ozarks, Mountain Home: $31,257.18
  • Alpha Centers, Batesville: $26,800
  • Pregnancy Help Clinic, Clarksville: $30,420
  • Pathways Resource Center, Texarkana: $31,996.18
  • Compassion House, Springdale: $32,000 of its $38,865.48 request

The applicants that were denied a second share of the grant all received funds in September. Each repeat applicant, including Acts of Hope, asked for less money in the second round than in the first.

The eight centers that were rejected in the second round received these amounts in the first:

  • Hope of the Delta Center, Pine Bluff/Stuttgart/West Memphis: $32,225.00
  • Pregnancy Resource Center for Southwest Arkansas, Arkadelphia: $39,954.71
  • Caring Hearts Pregnancy Center, Little Rock/North Little Rock: $39,960
  • Open Arms Pregnancy Center, Huntsville: $39,998
  • HopePlace, Newport: $40,000.00
  • St. Joseph’s Helpers of Pulaski County d/b/a Arkansas Pregnancy Resource Center, Little Rock: $40,000
  • Changepoint Pregnancy Care & Parenting Center, Hot Springs: $11,600 of its requested $40,000
  • New Beginnings Pregnancy Center, Benton: $34,600 of its requested $40,000

The six facilities that received funds in the first round and did not apply for the second are:

  • The Cradle Maternity Support Center, Berryville: $5,880
  • 1st Choice Pregnancy Resource Center, Hope: $10,501
  • Hannah Pregnancy Resource Center, Camden/El Dorado/Magnolia: $39,510
  • Arkansas Baptist Children & Family Ministries, Little Rock: $39,962.50
  • Heart to Heart Pregnancy and Family Care Center, Fort Smith: $40,000
  • PLUM Foundation, West Memphis: $40,000

Digital advertising was a shared priority among the applicants in the first round. Several centers that received money said they would use to target ads toward Arkansans whose online activity suggests they might have an unplanned pregnancy. HopePlace Newport, Caring Hearts in Little Rock and North Little Rock, and Arkansas Pregnancy Resource Center in Little Rock all received funds in round one for Google Ads contracts.

Some of the second-round applicants also focused on advertising, including Hope of the Delta. The center received funds in September in order to expand its prenatal education program from Pine Bluff to the other two locations.

Pregnancy resource centers also hope to use some of the grant to pay for physical advertising, rent and utilities, baby supplies, parenting classes and more staff, among other things, according to both rounds of applications.

If the grant program were to continue, the state Legislature would have to pass another bill and incoming Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders would have to sign it into law.

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Tess Vrbin
Tess Vrbin

Tess Vrbin came to the Advocate from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where she reported on low-income housing and tenants' rights, and won awards for her coverage of 2021 flooding and tornado damage in rural Arkansas. She previously covered local government for The Commercial Dispatch in Mississippi and state government for the Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri. A Midwesterner by birth, she graduated from the University of Missouri's journalism school in 2019.

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