Healthy Connections, Inc., and its CEO Tony Calandro were selected as finalists for the Nonprofit Organization of the Year awards.

Healthy Connections, Inc., and CEO Tony Calandro have been named finalists in the Arkansas Business 33rd Annual Business of the Year awards.

Healthy Connections, Inc., is a finalist for the Nonprofit Organization of the Year, while Calandro is a finalist for the Nonprofit Executive of the Year. The winners of each category will be revealed at the awards ceremony and published in a special supplement of Arkansas Business on March 3, 2021.

Finalists were selected by an outside panel of judges and coordinated by Arkansas Business. Thirty-two finalists are selected from across the state in seven categories. See the complete list of finalists at

Healthy Connections is a Mena-based nonprofit community health network with clinic locations in Mena, Hot Springs, Little Rock, Malvern, Arkadelphia, Mount Ida, and De Queen. Since its founding as a home-visiting program in 1998, Healthy Connections has been able to provide much-needed health, dental, behavioral health, and social services to families of every lifestyle.

Over the past year, Healthy Connections took its services to more places than ever before. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Healthy Connections provided completely-free testing at stops in 10 different Arkansas counties, including some without clinic locations like Texarkana, Gurdon, and Nashville. These day-long events took place in blazing heat and driving rainstorms as employees braved the elements to ensure anyone who wanted to be tested could be tested.

The year also saw an expansion in services with the addition of the Health For Life Clinic and Evolve Behavioral Health and Medication Management. Health For Life Clinic, which provides addiction treatment and testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients in Little Rock, joined the community health network in February and has been among the busiest clinics in the network. Evolve brought individual, family, and group mental health therapy to patients across west and central Arkansas just before the pandemic took off.

Cars line up at the mass testing event held in Texarkana in July.

In January, Healthy Connections opened the Franklin Community Health Center in the parking lot of the old Franklin Elementary School in Little Rock. This neighborhood clinic location provided much-requested medical services in a location that was considered a medical desert. And when the pandemic hit, this clinic was at the heart of the Covid-19 testing program.

In May as stay-at-home orders were being issued throughout the state, Healthy Connections quickly expanded its telehealth program to make sure as many patients as possible could be seen from the comfort of their own home.

“We are honored to be recognized alongside the other nonprofit organizations in this category,” Calandro said. “This year has been like no other. Our employees have faced many challenges and consistently found ways to overcome them, ensuring that our patients continue to receive the highest level of care.”

In the Nonprofit Organization of the Year category, Healthy Connections joins Arkansas Research Alliance, Arkansas Immigrant Defense, Children’s Advocacy of Benton County, and The Venture Center as finalists. Healthy Connections was also selected as a finalist in 2018 and 2019.

Calandro joined Healthy Connections 10 years ago and has overseen growth from about 3,000 patients served to more than 23,000 last year.

“I am excited to be a finalist for this award, but know that it would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our Healthy Connections staff,” Calandro said. “My philosophy has always been to provide employees with the tools and resources they need to do their jobs then stand back and watch them succeed. This award is a reflection of the job they did throughout the past year.”

In the Nonprofit Executive of the Year category, Calandro is joined by Shannon Boshears of UA-Pulaski Technical College Foundation, Wayne Miller of The Venture Center, Christian O’Neal of the UA-Little Rock Foundation, and Fred Scarborough of the Arkansas Children’s Foundation.

Learn more about Healthy Connections at