The Hot Springs Village Chamber of Commerce welcomed The Entertainment Foundation with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 17.
Representing the 501c3 organization at the ribbon-cutting were President, Audrey Finlen and Ken Goodman, Lead Entertainer. Formed in November of 2018, Finlen said, “We saw the need for entertaining veterans and senior adults.” Almost everyone is connected to a veteran. She said it took a year to research the needs before forming the organization. They have entertained over 4,700 veterans, senior adults, and underserved individuals in three and a half years.
Having produced over thirty shows just this year, the shows may not always be stereotypical but can be very interactive and engaging, utilizing the art of storytelling, joking, and dancing. “This is what people need,” explained Finlen, and “The Entertainment Foundation aims to make its audience feel valued and heard.”
Primarily providing entertainment in Garland and Saline Counties, they also have ventured into Pulaski and Faulkner Counties. Goodman said, “The goal is to cover Arkansas and eventually add states as we grow in our pursuit of donors and grant writing. There is no reason why we can’t just be a nationwide organization.”
Finlen said she has many friends across the country who think this is a fabulous idea and it is exactly what is needed in their states, too. Laughing Finlen said, “Let’s get situated here first.”
Goodman said it is a sad fact that for “a lot of our senior adults who live in assisted living or nursing homes and veterans as well, the budget that is allocated for entertainment is very poor. It is heartbreaking. Often times they just wait for a church group or a school group to come and that is great. But one of the goals of The Entertainment Foundation is to provide excellence and professionalism in entertainment. We use professionals. Sometimes we get a donation from the facility, but if their budget for the month is $50, and they give us a $25 check, that is wonderful. That has happened a number of times.”
Finlen added, “Most of the time.”
The group has a fundraiser planned for Thursday, September 15 at the Woodland’s Auditorium. Ken Goodman and his band, Ken and the Good Men will be featured, along with singer, Marybeth Byrd. Byrd, the recipient of the 2021 Arkansas Country Music Young Artist of the Year Award, was mentored by Usher and Taylor Swift. Finley said this event will be an “extraordinarily entertaining evening.” Advertising for the fundraiser will begin in mid-July and sponsors are still needed.
The Hot Springs Village Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors participating in the ribbon-cutting event were Donna Hoffman, KVRE; Brenda Langley, RE/MAX of Hot Springs Village; Deb Siebert, Hot Springs Village Real Estate; Alice Weatherly, Trademark HSV Real Estate; and Alanna Owen, chef, and owner of Melinda’s Cafe and Coffee.
Donations to The Entertainment Foundation can be made by sending checks to P.O. Box 22754, Hot Springs Arkansas, 71903, or online at The Entertainment Foundation dot Org. Click here to donate online.
Click here to visit The Entertainment Foundation online.
By Cheryl Dowden, Photography and Video by Joe Dowden