JPMS Cox, PLLC Named Arkansas Corporate Humanitarian

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – JPMS Cox, PLLC has been named 2016 Corporate Humanitarian by the State of Arkansas as part of the Arkansas Community Service Awards for its commitment to volunteerism.

Ten years ago, the firm’s partners made the decision to be more intentional about community involvement, taking the steps to integrate that commitment throughout the firm. One of the first steps was giving employees time off to do community service. Another step was putting expectations in place for employees of how they should serve their community.

“We don’t dictate what they do, but we say, ‘Listen, we’re Arkansas people, we’re an Arkansas company serving Arkansas clients, so we feel a real obligation to go out and serve the community,'” said Gary Cooper, the firm’s managing partner. “You know you’ve attracted the kind of people you want to attract — people that live in a community that they want to serve.”

Now from day one, new hires are encouraged to explore what they’re passionate about and find a way to use that passion to make a difference. JPMS Cox marketing director, Laura Connor, helps match employees with at least one organization where they are encouraged to volunteer or join a young professionals board or board of directors.

By hiring people who are willing to get involved in their community and giving them the time and resources to do so, the firm sees a high level of employee satisfaction, Cooper said.

The JPMS Cox staff respond to the call to service with enthusiasm.

“You know we all have other talents and gifts besides just numbers so its kind of nice to be able to use those gifts,” said Mandy Brown, tax manager.

Many employees described a sense of family among the staff, and that can be attributed to the common bond they share while volunteering.  In addition to regular involvement on the individual level, each year, the ties come off and the entire staff spends a service day together out in the community.

No employee embodied the spirit of community service more than  spirit more than senior manager Jacob Wells, who died in 2014 after participating his 145th marathon. Community service was Wells’ passion, and he used his talents with numbers to serve two different the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence and Nonprofit Resources, Inc.  He also organized and volunteered at innumerable community events, and founded the annual Three Bridges Marathon in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Shortly before he died he was selected for the  2014 ASCPA Outstanding Public Service Award

Wells’ legacy lives on at JPMS Cox. Staff members wear his image on their shirts when volunteering. The firm renamed its Community Action Committee the “High Fives” in tribute to Jacob’s enthusiasm and encouragement of others.

The firm gives the High Fives $15,000 a year to allocate to various non-profits, and employees can apply for funds on behalf of the organizations they serve.

The expectations placed on the staff are welcomed, particularly because the tone is set by the partners at the top.

“They are all involved, and we see how much effort and work they’ve put into the organizations that they are a part of,” said tax supervisor Barret Balew. “That’s just reinforcement of the priorities that the firm puts on being involved in the community.”

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