Simmons Bank announced a $1 million donation to Arkansas Children’s to support its construction of a new pediatric clinic in Pine Bluff. The new pediatric clinic will be established by Arkansas Children’s in association with Jefferson Regional and located on the Jefferson Regional campus.
“It is first and foremost in our mission as a network of community banks that we take care of our community,” Chairman and CEO of Simmons Bank George A. Makris Jr. told Arkansas Money and Politics. “Where you find a Simmons Bank, you’ll find very involved associates and generous community contributions working to make life better for the citizens there. This was needed in Pine Bluff.”
The idea of the clinic started less than a year ago, as Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) recognized a need in their community. While pediatric care was critical in Pine Bluff, the presence of pediatricians was low. The JRMC Board, which Makris serves on, decided a partnership with Arkansas Children’s was the best long-term solution. From there, Simmons Bank became involved.
“Simmons Bank was founded in Pine Bluff over 100 years ago,” Makris said. “Our investment there is significant. It was natural that we would have the discussion to help. Arkansas Children’s has done a phenomenal job in their total fundraising efforts for this project, and we are just proud to be the lead gift.”
Makris noted the Simmons First Foundation, an established effort to give back to communities, and its pre-existing mission to improve the lives of children through education and healthcare. He included that because of this, it would be “very possible” if Simmons Bank continued to play a role in children’s health, especially after working with Arkansas Children’s on this project.
Initial plans for the Arkansas Children’s Pine Bluff Clinic (ACPBC) have the facility sitting at approximately 10,000 square-feet with 14 exam rooms, a team collaboration space and a kid-friendly lobby. In addition to serving as a pediatric clinic, the ACPBC will provide crucial care to newborns currently in Jefferson Regional’s NICU.
“Arkansas Children’s is grateful to Simmons Bank and their commitment to support child health in Arkansas,” Arkansas Children’s Vice President of Facilities and Support Services Amy Cress told Arkansas Money and Politics. “Because of champions like Simmons Bank, Arkansas Children’s can continue to deliver on the promise of providing unprecedented child health, especially during these challenging times.”
The new clinic will require an investment of $17.5 million in order to fund construction and operating expenses for the first five years.