Arkansas Center for Independence (ACI) announced today that the non-profit organization will host its 2nd annual ‘Building for the Future and Impacting Lives’ Fundraising Banquet on Tuesday, October 24th at 6 p.m. The banquet will be held at Newport County Club with special guest/keynote speaker and Newport native, Will DuPree, headlining the event. DuPree is an Emmy-nominated reporter and anchor for KJRH the NBC Affiliate in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He recently won Best Solo Journalist at the Arkansas-Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters Awards for a story that he shot, wrote, and edited all on his own, and also received two Emmy nominations for his reporting. ACI invites local community leaders and ACI supporters to the exclusive fundraising event.

Glenda Rutledge-May, ACI Executive Director said, “We are so excited to have Newport native Will Dupree come home to support ACI. I got to know Will a little when he was a reporter for KAIT8 and did a feature on the Center. He is so personable and really cares about his hometown. He will be a great keynote speaker and one that everyone should

come to support.”

Throughout the evening, silent and live auctions will be taking place with social hour beginning at 5 p.m. The banquet will begin at 6 p.m., with DuPree to begin the keynote note address around 7 p.m. Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance no later than Tuesday, October 17th. Individual tickets for the banquet can be purchased for $30 and reserved tables can be purchased for $300. Reserved tables include 8 seats per table with seating towards the front.

For those who purchase reserved tables, your contribution will also help send four clients from ACI to the event. Tickets can be purchased at More Old Treasures Thrift Store in Newport, online at or by calling ACI. Additional ticket information can also be found on the ‘Arkansas Center for Independence’ Facebook page. For more information, please contact ACI at 870.523.8488 or email

ACI, formerly known as the ‘Jackson County Learning Center’, is one of the oldest non-profits of its type in the state whose mission is to provide supports and services for adults with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism. The Center’s building was built in 1959 and is now in disrepair. All money raised for this event will be used to benefit the building fund for a new facility. Modern Woodmen will be graciously matching funds raised up to $2,500 for this fundraiser.