H&R Block Honors Associates Who Go Above and Beyond to Make Every Block Better
Some might only think of H&R Block as a tax company, but we’re really a community company. We have been recognizing associates for their outstanding community service since 1985, and our commitment to building connections among neighbors and supporting small business owners across the country is the basis of our Make Every Block Better community impact platform. At the heart of it all is the people of H&R Block — associates, franchisees, and tax pros, who give back in exceptional ways. Volunteering is core to Make Every Block Better and, as part of Block Horizons, the company’s transformation strategy, we have a goal of investing 1 million volunteer hours by 2025.
The annual Make Every Block Better Volunteer Award honors outstanding volunteers and the impact they’re making in their local communities. In 2022, three winners and three runners-up were recognized for their inspiring volunteer efforts.
“Since joining Block in April, I’ve been completely inspired by how our people go above and beyond in service to community,” said Jill Cress, chief marketing and experience officer at H&R Block. “It’s exciting to recognize these six associates for their exceptional community service.”
In addition to receiving a trophy, each awardee won the opportunity to direct a grant, funded by The H & R Block Foundation, to the approved charity of their choice. This year, Make Every Block Better Volunteer Award honorees will direct $30,000 in grants.
Find out more about how each person is making an impact by volunteering in their local community.
Michalann Archey, District General Manager | Sacramento, California
Michalann Archey has been with H&R Block for 32 years in various roles. Most of her volunteer efforts during that time have been dedicated to the Roseville Theater Arts Academy, a community theatre for children and adults. She formerly was a volunteer coordinator for performances, and she now has moved on to serve as head costumer for the theatre.
Michalann directed her grant to Roseville Theatre Arts Academy.
“Roseville Theater Arts Academy is a 550-seat theater, and to be able to have children and young adults from ages four to five up to their mid-20s and put them on a stage to show the community what they’re able to do has been the most rewarding experience of my life,” said Michalann. “To be able to donate my Make Every Block Better award to them was the right thing to do and I’m very proud of it.”
Scott Ostrander, Infrastructure Engineer | Kansas City, Missouri
Scott Ostrander, a lifelong volunteer, has organized more than 70 volunteer events for H&R Block in less than two years, including coordinating and managing regular volunteer opportunities for the IT department and making them available to all Block associates. An Adopt-a-Highway project is among the events he has spearheaded. In his off time, Scott also volunteers at ShelterKC and Harvesters.
Scott chose ShelterKC, to receive his grant.
“It makes me happy to win because Henry Bloch always gave back,” said Ostrander. “Henry always did a lot for our community, and H&R Block has been a very good place to work for almost 21 years.”
Susan Thompson, Franchise Office Manager | Nevada, Missouri
Susan Thompson, a Tax Associate who has worked at an H&R Block office for 35 years, regularly volunteers in her spare time. All of her small efforts have amounted to a lot over the years. Susan currently volunteers for a local community betterment organization, serves food at a local homeless shelter, and is actively focused on suicide prevention. She was recently featured on a Joplin, Missouri, TV station for winning this year’s MEBB Volunteer Award.
Susan chose Community Foundation of the Ozarks to receive her grant.
“I was very honored that Block selected me,” said Thompson. “It’s inspiring they recognize the value and efforts of employees volunteering in their communities.”
Roshelle Fetzer, Director of Ready to Serve and Ready to Lead | Kansas City, Missouri
Roshelle Fetzer’s volunteer journey began after a phone conversation she had with Henry Bloch in 2012. When she shared with Henry how working at H&R Block helped give her kids a better life, he challenged her to pay it forward by helping others. Roshelle volunteered with several organizations before she found her passion project at Inclusion Connections, Inc., an organization that helps children and adult with disabilities.
She directed her grant to Inclusion Connections, Inc.
“I’m super excited and honored that my name and story were selected. I emailed the CEO [of Inclusion Connections, Inc.] immediately and asked what they’d spend the money on,” Fetzer said. “We had a happy moment and we celebrated. Then, since winning, I realized I had to get back on volunteering. I scheduled some time to outline the next phase and ask what we can do. Now we’re on three new projects.”
Rachel Martinez, Pre-Season Manager | Oxnard, California
Rachel Martinez was nominated for the skills-based volunteerism she provides at the Mexican Consulate, where she helps with tax talks and provides guidance to the Mexican community throughout the county. She also volunteers at the Lighthouse for Women and Children and leads toy drives, while maintaining a year-round connection with the shelters so Block can help with other events or activities. Additionally, Rachel organized a canned food drive, collecting more than 700 pounds of food.
Rachel chose Lighthouse for Women and Children to receive Make Every Block Better grant funds.
“It’s exciting to be recognized for something like this,” said Martinez. “I just do it to help the kids, but it’s encouraging to get the recognition and it feels good. Besides the Mexican Consulate, we’re going to expand to help kids in our county hospital soon.”
Carmela McTyre, Multi Unit Team Leader | Ypsilanti, Michigan
Carmela chose Black Girls CODE to receive her grant.
“I really had no idea [being able to direct the grant] was going to happen,” said McTyre. “I called Black Girls CODE and they were excited.”
For the third consecutive year, H&R Block and Nextdoor are partnering to Make Every Block Better in communities across the United States.
Fifteen ambitious high school students from across the country will each receive a $10,000 scholarship as the 2022 winners of H&R Block’s Children of Associates Premier Scholarship (CAPS) program.
The City of Kansas City, Mo. proclaimed Saturday, July 30, 2022, Make Every Block Better Day in honor of late co-founder Henry Bloch's legacy of giving back to his community.
Tulsa's Skyline Ridge community project one of 11 chosen nationwide to improve the spaces and places where neighbors connect.