What started as a sorority fundraiser has become a lifelong career and passion for Enid Olvey, ‘03.
As the Vice President of Philanthropy for Arkansas Children’s Foundation in Little Rock, Olvey was introduced to philanthropy and fundraising when she was a Lyon student over 15 years ago.
“When I joined the sorority Phi Mu,” Olvey said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but the decision would lead me to a fulfilling career in fundraising through Phi Mu’s national philanthropy of choice—Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH).”
CMNH partners with children’s hospitals, and at the time, its only Arkansas partner was Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Little Rock.
“I became really involved with Phi Mu’s philanthropy committee, and we were raising funds for CMNH...So through that work I had the opportunity to partner with the fundraising team at ACH and was given exposure to fundraising as a profession.”
During that time, Olvey also became very “passionate and connected” to those she was fundraising for. She and her sorority sisters knew or had family members who had been patients at ACH.
“Because of my philanthropy work as a student, I knew that I was interested in fundraising and really wanted to work at Arkansas Children’s.”
The summer after graduating from Lyon, Olvey applied for and was offered an entry-level position at Arkansas Children’s Foundation, where she has been ever since. She has served as the VP of philanthropy for over two years.
“I work with generous donors around the state who want to make a difference in the lives of kids and who understand the vital impact of philanthropy on child health issues.”
Olvey also recently co-chaired the Woodmark Summit in Toronto, Canada. The conference is hosted annually by the Woodmark Group, a not-for-profit organization consisting of children’s hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.
“We shepherded the entire conference experience for more than 400 attendees—a record attendance number,” she said. “We hosted two and a half days filled with professional content, networking and learnings, especially in the ways we can be better partners and fundraisers for children’s hospitals.”
Olvey said besides the conference, one of her proudest accomplishments was being part of the team that opened Arkansas Children’s Northwest Hospital in Springdale. The hospital opened in February 2018, becoming Northwest Arkansas’s first and only pediatric hospital in the region.
“It’s not every day that you build a new children’s hospital. It’s not every day that you help create something that will make such a tremendous impact—not only for children today but generations to come,” she said.
Olvey’s fundraising journey has come full circle. She now serves as the philanthropy advisor for the Phi Mu chapter at Lyon.
“I have been incredibly impressed with the students I’m working with… It’s been a real joy to reconnect.”
She added that her Lyon education continues to help her today.
“Around the state, when you tell an individual you studied at Lyon College, it lands an impressive note,” Olvey said. “But the liberal arts also made an impact on me by exposing me to different disciplines and opportunities.”
“I have a unique opportunity to go to work every day for a mission I’m extremely passionate about—to champion children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow. I have this dynamic in my day-to-day life: I champion a mission that I love, and I spend time with incredible families who bring meaning to every philanthropic conversation and every dollar raised.”
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