How H&R Block and St. Jude events started with Detroit connection

January 08, 2020 : Annelise Wiens

 

In 2017, Jeff Lovasz wanted to help raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in their fight against childhood cancers. Jeff manages H&R Block offices south of Detroit and wanted to get all of the offices involved.

It was so difficult for me to envision as a dad going through that process. I was thinking that I don’t think I could make it. I don’t think I have the strength to endure this,” Jeff said. “It came to me that then I can do everything that I can to make sure that people who are going through this have a better chance.”

Jeff and his office leaders wanted to find something engaging to do to support St. Jude and created Jeans for Jude. H&R Block associates could donate $5 to wear jeans for one day or $10 for two days. To his surprise, people in the office donated as much as $50 or $100. One tax pro donated $500 every time they did Jeans for Jude.

When Jeff reached out to thank her, she suggested that next year they should expand Jeans for Jude from the Detroit-area offices to the region.

It was that suggestion that spread Jeans for Jude from about 150 participants in the Detroit area to nearly 2,000 participants across H&R Block offices in Michigan and Ohio.

Jeff and his boss, James Oldenburg, didn’t stop there.

The next year I was talking with James and I said, ‘why don’t you ask your peers if they want to do this? Challenge them to do this as well,’” Jeff said.

Oldenburg brought the proposal to Calvin Ricks, vice president of the central market for H&R Block.

“So when [James] came to me and talked to me about doing it at the entire market level, I was 100% bought in. I went online and started doing a lot of research on St. Jude. I was actually able to talk with a couple people from the St. Jude organization. It got me really excited,” Calvin said.

That year, 40,000 people from H&R Block offices across 23 states raised money through Jeans for Jude and a 5K walk/run event.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud to work at a company that can stand behind something like this. This is something that grew from people really feeling a connection growing into a company-wide effort and it’s really exciting. It’s just giving back to the community that has given so much to you,” Jeff said.

 

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Annelise Wiens

Annelise Wiens

Former Editor and Producer

As the former newsroom editor, Annelise Wiens was interested in more than just tax and industry news, but the stories of H&R Block's 80,000 associates, their communities and H&R Block's world headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Wiens joined H&R Block in 2014 from a public relations agency, where she worked with clients in the financial services industry. Before that, she worked as a communicator for a senior member of the United States House of Representatives. She graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA with a bachelor's degree in history.

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