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The Board of Directors for the Union County Community Foundation (UCCF) announced the hiring of Jean Reynolds Hadley as the new executive director.

Hadley succeeds Elise Drake, who is retiring after 20 years of service to UCCF. Drake was the first executive director hired by UCCF in 1998 and announced her retirement to the board of directors in May.

Since 1998, UCCF has awarded over $10 million in grants and scholarships to the community.

To fill Drake’s position of executive director, the foundation created a search committee.

“The UCCF Board is excited to have Jean join UCCF as our new executive director,” said Rodney Landes, chairman of the UCCF board. “Finding new leadership for UCCF was a true search, especially since Elise Drake, our retiring executive director has done such an outstanding job.”

Hadley began her job as executive director on Dec. 17.

“UCCF is one of our treasures in Union County,” Hadley said. “It is one of only three community foundations in Arkansas. I will strive to continue working with our community to grow and promote UCCF so it can continue to serve our community”

Hadley described the position as her dream job, “because UCCF gets to help people establish a scholarship or charitable fund that allow them to achieve their philanthropic goals.”

Hadley said her experience with nonprofits and volunteering in the community would be beneficial to UCCF.

Before UCCF, Hadley worked in the public relations department of the SHARE Foundation for about six and a half years. She is also a member of the Master Gardeners, Keep El Dorado Beautiful, plus other volunteer organizations in the community.

“Jean’s work experiences, leadership skills, volunteering in our community and a heart for service will allow her to step right into the UCCF as executive director,” Landes said. “We are excited that she will continue to serve and work to promote our mission.”

Hadley said she wants to try to have UCCF be more in the community and to get the name out.

She said her goal is to just keep everything going and growing. “Just keep things growing and touching lives,” she added.

“I feel certain Jean will bring to UCCF her energy, passion and commitment to serving,” Drake said.

UCCF will hold it’s annual grant awards ceremony in April, where they will award the grants. The day will be announced at a later date.

UCCF will accept online grant applications from local nonprofits for the Union County Public Trust Fun beginning Feb. 1 and lasting until Feb. 16.

For more information on the foundation or to find out how to apply for a grant, visit www.uccfar.org.

Kaitlyn Rigdon can be reached at 870-862-6611 or krigdon@ eldoradonews.com.

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