VEBF Kicks Off New Year with New Board Members and VP 

Happy New Year! And, welcome to the first of 10 newsletters we will publish this year to keep you up to date on what’s happening with the Village Employees Benefit Fund.

At our December board meeting, we elected our officers for 2024. Returning will be myself as president; Carol Freeland as secretary; and Bill Luerssen as treasurer. New to the position of vice president will be Donna Jared. Please take a look at Donna’s board member profile in this newsletter and read her reaction to attending her first Appreciation Day gift envelope distribution to our POA hourly employees. 

Former board president and immediate past vice president, DC Reed, remains on the board for 2024.

Your VEBF added two new board members at our January board meeting: Lloyd Sherman and Lee Ann Branch. Our next newsletter in March will have photos and background information on these newcomers.

However, we note that board member Barbara Zavrel resigned effective December 31, 2023. Barb served the VEBF for several years, and we appreciate her contribution.

At the January board meeting, we recognized that 2023 was a successful year for us and, by extension, the hourly employees who received Appreciation Gifts of $320 for full time and $160 for part time workers. One of the statistics we look at closely to measure success is the percentage of Village residents who donate to the VEBF. That percentage holds stubbornly at around 14%. While we realize that a fundraising effort with a participation rate of 14% is a very good result for any campaign, our persistent hope is that many more Villagers would want to say thanks to our hourly employees for their many contributions to our way of life. And it’s up to us to try to find ways to increase that percentage.

The board also discussed some things we may consider this year we think might help us going forward. As we bring our new board members into the process, I’ll discuss in future newsletters some of the ideas that are developed. 

Finally, thank you for reading this newsletter and being part of the VEBF family. And remember...

“Nothing happens in Hot Springs Village, until a POA employee comes to work.”

John Chapman, VEBF Board President

A Note from Our New Board of Director's Vice President

A great way to start the New Year is to reflect on what we accomplished in 2023!

In December, I had the privilege of attending our Appreciation Day distribution of cash gifts to POA hourly workers. Because of the generosity of Village residents and business sponsors this year, the Village Employees Benefit Fund was able to increase the annual cash appreciation gift to $320 for every full-time hourly employee and $160 for every part-time hourly employee.

As POA employees arrived for their annual holiday luncheon, lines began to form at the VEBF distribution tables to check-in and receive their gifts. It was a great honor to personally meet many of our wonderful POA employees and share our gratitude on behalf of Village residents and business owners!

We heard from employees that the cash appreciation gift makes a meaningful difference for their families; others shared their feelings of tremendous pride and some, overwhelming gratitude. 

I saw firsthand that the generosity of Village residents and businesses who contribute to VEBF means so much to our POA hourly workers. Please know that you are making a difference for our employees and our community. Thank you!

by Donna Jared, VEBF Board Vice President


Teresa Shellstrom

Teresa Shellstrom has been with the Public Utilities Department for two years as the Building and Fleet Maintenance Coordinator. Referring to the annual Appreciation Gift she receives from Village residents through the VEBF, Teresa says "I use the money to pay bills and buy groceries. I appreciate the gift from VEBF. It helps a lot!"

Bailey Cox

Fleet Maintenance Tech 1 Bailey Cox has been employed by the Public Utilities Department for only a year, but has already become a fan of the VEBF and the Villagers who support it. "I plan to pay some bills and put some money in a savings account. I really appreciate the generosity of the VEBF."


NAME: Donna Jared, CFRE        

SPOUSE’S NAME: Donald Jared

WE MOVED HERE FROM: Central Arkansas

BECAUSE: To enjoy retirement in this beautiful community of lakes and golf courses!


WHAT WAS YOUR PROFESSIONAL OCCUPATION BEFORE YOU RETIRED? Nonprofit management and fundraising for health and hunger organizations.

WHAT PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? I hold the Certified Fund-Raising Executive credential; a high achievement in my profession that demonstrates knowledge and experience, as well as a commitment to ethics and accountability.

MY BIGGEST SOURCE OF INSPIRATION CAME FROM: Seeing firsthand the difference that philanthropy can make to help meet the needs of communities and families.

WHAT APPEALS TO YOU ABOUT THE VEBF, AND SERVING AS A BOARD MEMBER? POA employees are the unsung heroes of the Village. They work tirelessly behind the scenes to make HSV a beautiful and welcoming community. Our work at VEBF to provide these folks with appreciation gifts, education assistance, and catastrophic support in times of need is the best way we can show our gratitude and help keep HSV POA an attractive employer.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A VILLAGE RESIDENT WHO THINKS A CONTRIBUTION TO THE VEBF IS NOT NECESSARY? HSV POA employees are the backbone of the Village. We are not a city or county government that can provide competitive pay and benefits. Residents are the POA owners, and we must do all we can to attract and retain great employees that help make the Village the beautiful and vibrant community we all love and enjoy. 


Hot Springs Village Employees Benefit Fund was established on September 22, 1999, to receive and disburse appreciation funds contributed by the property owners of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

These funds are for the benefit and support of all qualified POA employees (excluding Top Management) as defined in the by-laws.

Our intent is to demonstrate the recognition, appreciation, and respect that our property owners and others have for all those who work to support and maintain Hot Springs Village.

The Village Employees Benefit Fund newsletters are sponsored by

Dannet Botkin, CEO & Owner of

Designs Group Consulting.

Facebook  YouTube