2017 Governor's Patron Award
Johnelle Hunt, Rogers
Johnelle Hunt is the chairman of Hunt Ventures, and she and her late husband, J.B. Hunt, founded J.B. Hunt Transport. She has provided personal support and corporate contributions from J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., to arts organizations and other nonprofits in Northwest Arkansas for many years. Hunt donated six acres of valuable land to build the Walton Arts Center’s Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion, a permanent outdoor amphitheater that accommodates more than 9,500 people with 3,200 covered seats and additional general admission seating on a sloped lawn. Additionally, she provided a $3 million interest-free loan that contributed to the total funding needed to construct the outdoor facility. She also provides a busing subsidy that makes it possible for area schools to take field trips to see educational performances at the Walton Arts Center. Since 1997, she has donated $360,000 in assistance for nearly 40 schools and 200,000 students. Recently, she was honored as 2016 Arkansas Woman of Inspiration by the Children's Advocacy Centers. The award is given to “a woman who has made a contribution to society for the benefit of children and serves as a substantial fundraiser for the CAC of Arkansas.” She was also inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015.