Community Member

Arkansas Community Organizations & Arkansas Community Institute

Little Rock, Arkansas

Arkansas Community Organizations envisions an Arkansas and a country where everyone has access to affordable healthcare, secure housing, a living wage, and a nurturing community. ACO builds solidarity and supports community among those in need of better healthcare coverage, healthier housing, or more services in their communities. Formerly known as the Arkansas chapter of ACORN, ACO was incorporated by community leaders in Little Rock and Pine Bluff in the wake of ACORN’s demise at the end of 2009 to continue serving low income and working families. Campaigns include Healthcare for ALL, Secure & Healthy Housing, and Livable Income. Other community services include free tax preparation, help for those seeking debt relief, and eviction defense assistance for those facing unscrupulous landlords. As a home base for those working to build community power for what many would consider basic human rights, ACO provides a crucial support network for Arkansans in need.

ACO community has for decades fought to protect rights to healthcare.
ACO community has for decades fought to protect rights to healthcare.

ACO is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that brings low-income and working families together to fight for social and economic justice, while the related Arkansas Community Institute is a 501(c)(3) that assists with fiscal management. As membership organizations of low-income Arkansans, the leadership and boards for ACO and ACI come from the community. ACO believes in making change happen by helping those in need to build new leadership, by connecting local and national organizing together with partners like the Center for Popular Democracy, and by working to register and engage voters to build out a more empowered electorate. Environmental health work has included assisting renters with basic tenants rights concerning lead paint abatement, mold, natural gas leaks, and respiratory problems due to pollution from proximity to highways. A related program is a growing call for Green housing with ACO campaigning for new housing to be constructed in an eco-friendly and affordable manner.

Pine Bluff community members deliver a message to DHS: fix problems folks have in signing up for Medicaid.
Pine Bluff community members deliver a message to DHS: fix problems folks have in signing up for Medicaid.

ACO’s tax services alone have helped people prepare more than 16,000 tax returns at no charge, helping people receive more than $12 million in Earned Income Tax Credits and $25 million in federal refunds, and saving community members an estimated $3.4 million in tax preparation fees. ACO has also taken input from nearly 13,000 low-to-moderate income Arkansans about the issues they’re facing through voluntary surveys at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites and has helped to inform voters by holding candidate forums in Pine Bluff and Little Rock for candidates running for city offices and school boards. ACO’s lobbying also helped pass the 2010 Wall Street reform legislation that set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and helped to pass Medicaid expansion in Arkansas.

ACO’s Healthcare for ALL community celebrated the program’s 57th anniversary by delivering cupcakes to a busy Department of Human Services office, July 2022
ACO’s Healthcare for ALL community celebrated the program’s 57th anniversary by delivering cupcakes to a busy Department of Human Services office, July 2022

For more information:

Arkansas Community Organizations advocates for those losing Medicaid coverage, Arkansas Times, May 2023

Opposition grows to sales taxes, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 2023

Medicaid recipients demand answers from DHS, THV11, March 2023

Little Rock apartment tenants plead for city’s help; Big Country Chateau losing utilities, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 2023

Arkansas Community Organizations back Little Rock millage extension, Fox 16, August 2022

Greg M. Schwartz

Greg M. Schwartz

Greg is an award-winning investigative reporter who specializes in covering environmental justice issues with a track record for shining a light on crooked science and regulatory capture. He has a Master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Kent State University in his native region of Northeast Ohio, where he also served on the May 4th Task Force. He has spent most of his adult life in California, where he's also a freelance music journalist with a preference for socially conscious rock 'n' roll bands.

Contact

Neil Sealy, Executive Director

Website

Social Media

Climate Impacts

Drought, Flooding, Heat, Tornadoes

Environmental Justice Concerns

Air Pollution, Coal/Coke Plants and Emissions, Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Groundwater Contamination, Hazardous/Toxic Sites, Lead Contamination, Port/Transit/Highway Contamination/Noise, Sewage/Sewage Treatment

Strategies

Community Farm/Gardens, Community Land Trusts/Land Conservation, Community Organizing and Education, Direct Relief and Aid, Green Infrastructure, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions, Policy Reform, Renewable Energy

501c3 Tax Deductible

Yes

Accepting Donations

Yes