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Then and Now: Peggy Boyles Helps Crystal Bridge Grow

Editor’s Note: The following article appeared in the August 1st issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then and Now” is a profile of a former member of Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 class.


Over the past 20 years, Peggy Boyles has fundraised for several organizations in Northwest Arkansas, including the University of Arkansas and most recently the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

She joined the Bentonville Museum in October as Development Officer and was promoted to Senior Development Officer in February.

After learning about a job opening at the museum last year, she wasn’t sure she would have a chance in the position among the large pool of applicants.

“I’ve always wanted to work at Crystal Bridges, but it’s Crystal Bridges, so I’m like, ‘Okay, Crystal Bridges won’t hire you.’ I’m sure the pool is huge,” she said. “But I was like, ‘Okay, let’s try.'” I tried, and I got the job. And I love it there. “

When the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named Boyles to the Under 40 Class in 2008, she was director of development for UA’s Student Affairs Division. She started working at the university while attending her classes and started her fundraiser in 2002.

Boyles, 53, pointed to where her fundraising career began as a highlight so far. During her 21st century campaign for the college, Boyles played a key role in helping her college raise more than $223 million in Sam M. Walton Business.

“It was a good time,” she said. “The University of Arkansas raised her $1 billion in an unprecedented fundraising campaign, something Arkansas has never done before.”

In 2012, she left UA to become director of development at The New School in Fayetteville. She wanted her change, but the opportunity led her to her new role.

“It was a new challenge to work with different families and voters,” she said. “I had never worked in a private, independent school before, so it was a different opportunity and a different challenge for me.”

After his role at The New School, Boyles attended graduate school full-time. In 2015, she received a Master of Business Administration and Leadership degree from Webster College. A native of De Queen, previously she had a BA in Communications from UA. She doesn’t plan to start any time soon, but she said she would like to pursue her Ph.D.

After graduating from graduate school, she had some savings and spent her time traveling and volunteering in the community.

Boyles is a board member of Outcomes Inc. and the Northwest Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Council. For the past two years, the organization has helped him get vaccinated against COVID-19 and provided a volunteer pantry with back-to-school activities. She is also a member of her Northwest Arkansas Alumni Association chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

In 2018, he joined the Arkansas Support Network as Director of Development. After she started looking for her job, a friend of hers recommended her for the role.

Boyles joked that savings don’t last forever.

“It was great while it lasted,” she said. “I had a good time.”

Prior to joining Crystal Bridges, she received job postings on social media. She said Emily Ironside, who eventually hired her, sent the information about her work via LinkedIn.Ironside, head of philanthropic strategy, said that she will be working on her Under-40 for 2021 Forty. is the winner of

In her current role, Boyles does a fundraiser for the museum. This position includes donor development and stewardship. She also oversees three developers.

About six months after announcing plans to add 100,000 square feet to the 200,000 square foot building, increasing its size by 50%, she stepped into her first role at the museum. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

She said growth will lead to more executives, more exhibit space and more funding.Boyles said her goal is to expand the program and make it even more successful. plans to work at the museum until she retires, she joked that she would retire in her 80s.

Boyles enjoys a show on the Investigation Discovery channel. She also likes reading. She and her daughter Autumn Blakely live in Springdale.