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Arkadelphia man serves on national United Way board with Clooney, Slater
In addition to serving as chairman, president and CEO of Southern Bancorp, the corporation that owns Elk Horn Bank and two others, Phil Baldwin serves on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis.
He also recently returned from his first national United Way meeting, where he was appointed treasurer and chairman of the of the finance committee.
“It’s a pretty interesting group of people,” Baldwin said of his fellow board members, who include the actor/director/producer/TV and movie heartthrob George Clooney, to fellow Arkansan Rodney Slater.
The board didn’t give Baldwin much time to get acclimated before choosing him as treasurer and chairman of the finance committee of the national charity. “They’ve thrown me into the fire,” he said. He estimates he’ll watch over about $6 billion a year. “That’s billion, with a ‘b’,” he said during a phone interview on Monday.
He conducts many meetings by phone, or via speaker phone while he’s driving. On Monday, he was traveling across South Arkansas to get to a board meeting at Delta Southern Bank in Ruleville, Miss., one of two other banks owned by Southern Bancorp. Later in the week, he’ll stop in Helena for a meeting at First Bank of the Delta.
After that, he will head for Arkadelphia, home base for the financial corporation and the Baldwin family. “They’re very understanding” of his travel requirements for work,” he said of his family. “I’m very lucky.”
In addition to being named treasurer, Baldwin’s first official United Way meeting was spent visiting with senators and representatives in Congress. “We talked to them about the United Way and what it can do.” They also talked about what the lawmakers could do for the United Way, so that it may help more and more people in the United States.
The national organization has “raised a lot of money” and given it to a number of “big charities” over the years, Baldwin said. The board has recently decided to focus more on individual communities, not just large charities, he said. “Hopefully, they can be a source of funding for the (Clark County) Strategic Plan.”
It’s ironic, he said, that Marianna native Slater is also on the United Way Board of Trustees. “Rodney’s on the Southern Bancorp Board,” Baldwin said. “I think he may have had something to do with my appointment.”
Baldwin said he hopes to learn more about the United Way over the next three to four months, so he’ll be better prepared for the group’s next meeting. He said he wants to use those connections to bring funding and support for projects in Clark County through the local chapter of United Way. He’d like to learn more about United Way of Clark County. “I guess I should get involved in the local chapter, shouldn’t I?”