We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeremy C. Park and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeremy, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I grew up in Weatherford, Texas, which is just west of Fort Worth. I didn’t realize how much it shaped me and my younger brother at the time, but looking back years later as an adult, our lives and careers were both greatly impacted by our parents’ open door policy. At all hours of the day or night, individuals who were facing challenges and needed support would come over to our house. Our door was open 24/7, and it was commonplace for people to pop in and join us for dinner needing something to eat, sit with us on the couch watching tv needing to decompress, or talk with my parents for hours in my father’s home office needing counsel. In almost all cases, their challenges had nothing to do with my father’s career in the insurance industry or my mother’s background in education, but it was their genuine desire to help others that created so many new relationships and friendships, which enriched our family in countless ways. So, my brother and I saw firsthand, at an early age, the power of giving. We learned that helping others and serving in the community can transform your life personally, professionally and even spiritually. Carrying that theme forward, my brother honorably served our country for two decades in the U.S. Marine Corps, and I’ve built my life and career on a mission to power the GOOD. As a college student and graduate of the University of North Texas, I was heavily involved both on and off campus with community efforts. Professionally now, I’m the CEO of cityCURRENT, a privately-funded philanthropic organization comprised of more than 100 businesses, including some of the world’s largest employers, like FedEx, AutoZone, Kroger and Verizon, which join forces and funds to support nonprofits and make a difference in our communities. We host more than 300 events each year for enrichment and collaboration, along with an array of philanthropic initiatives and positive-oriented media. We’ve been able to give a mortgage free home to a wounded Veteran hero, wash the feet of thousands of youth and provide them with new shoes and socks as part of our Samaritan’s Feet shoe distributions, help coordinate more than 12,000 volunteers to pick up litter, scrub graffiti off bridges and buildings, host a telethon, tutor students after school, and so much more. I also host and produce three tv shows, two radio shows, and a podcast that are all focused on spotlighting how individuals and organizations are giving back and serving as The SPARK; and I’ve written two books around the power of purpose and how to achieve success in a way that benefits others and the community. Personally, I have served and continue to serve on many local and national nonprofit and school boards, and also volunteer coach my younger son’s middle school tennis team. It all goes back to my upbringing and how I was raised, that the path to purpose and success share a similar foundation of putting others first and raising your hand to physically become part of the solution, to become a catalyst. The more you give, the more you grow! Put another way, the energy you give to others is the energy you will receive back from your community. These are all powerful life lessons that I learned at an early age, which have profoundly impacted who I am today and the difference I seek to make in our world.
What should our readers know about your business?
cityCURRENT is a privately-funded catalyst with a mission to power the GOOD. We are powered by Higginbotham, which is based in Fort Worth, along with Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and more than 100 other partner companies, including some of the largest employers in the world, like FedEx, AutoZone, Kroger, Verizon, and Smith+Nephew, to mid-size and smaller firms, that have joined forces and funds to make a difference in many ways. Overall, cityCURRENT hosts more than 300 events each year, along with an array of philanthropic initiatives and positive-focused media aimed at enriching and impacting our communities. We host business seminars and workshops, weekly executive lunches, social mixers, a signature speaker series with national guest speakers, and a variety of other events that provide valuable content and foster collaboration among business, nonprofit, government, education, and faith leaders. During the pandemic, all of the events are virtual and as things normalize, most will be hybrids with both in person and virtual experiences, which enables people around the world to participate. We provide turnkey opportunities for organizations and individuals to get engaged in the community and we leverage our collective resources to make an impact through strategic corporate philanthropy, volunteer days, action projects, nonprofit tours, fundraising events, board placements, and more. Examples include tutoring youth after school; washing the feet of thousands of youth and providing them with new socks and shoes; helping to mobilize a citywide cleanup with more than 12,000 volunteers; scrubbing graffiti off buildings and bridges; hosting a telethon for the Red Cross; and giving away a mortgage free home to a wounded Veteran hero. cityCURRENT produces and hosts two weekly radio shows; produces and hosts a monthly television show, The SPARK, along with a televised awards show, The SPARK Awards; and we have two books, Giving Back with Purpose and Giving for Growth. We also contribute to Forbes and have a podcast called ChangeMakers. All media efforts serve to celebrate community efforts, spotlight nonprofits, and those individuals and organizations leading by example and making a difference. The goal is to celebrate the GOOD and to activate and engage citizens to help make a difference. cityCURRENT’s latest venture is GROWTHcurrent, an e-learning and online personal development platform designed to help individuals grow personally and professionally. Being online, anyone around the world can subscribe for a small monthly fee and access virtual events with guest speakers, learning modules, and much more. GROWTHcurrent leverages the media power and relationships of cityCURRENT to engage a much larger audience, and to power the GOOD in an even larger way. The process of building cityCURRENT has been a 13 year journey for me, personally. The first steps of building the relationships and getting business leaders to buy into the vision of creating a charitable, city-building organization focused on philanthropy, events and media was something that took considerable time and dedication to solidify. It has become a 24/7 mission and responsibility, at this point, but it’s something I truly enjoy and love. To see the impact you can have on someone’s life or on the efforts of a nonprofit, is rewarding and inspiring. Over the years and over all the different service projects and community efforts, I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing people and form countless friendships with individuals who I now consider part of my family. It’s amazing how serving others brings you closer together with those in your community!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I know others will focus on the more popular, trendy spots, but I’m going to go a different route and go lowkey, laid back and more of a flashback approach. I’m going to head to Weatherford and spend time with my parents, offering a home cooked meal. I’m going to take them to Hutch’s Pie Shop for lunch for a sandwich and a fried pie (apricot is my personal favorite), then do Golden Moon or Pizza Place for dinner with some Braum’s ice cream for dessert. We’re going to walk the Fort Worth Botanic Garden with my mother and have her point out her favorite spots. We’re going to play tennis at Ridglea Country Club, where I used to take lessons from Mike Estep, or hit at one of the local courts in Weatherford, where I used to coach with my friend, Rocky Walker. If it’s football season, yes, we’ll catch a Dallas Cowboys game. I grew up watching all the games with my dad. With my wife being a Mississippi State grad, we also love supporting Dak Prescott! If it’s a summer trip and it’s hot, we’ll take the boat out and go waterskiing and wakeboarding. To me, it’s all about family, friends and fun in Texas!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife, Meredith, deserves ENDLESS credit and recognition for ALL that she does for me, our family, and our community. She is my best friend, my source of inspiration and support, and my partner in philanthropy and charitable efforts. She works tirelessly with her own full-time career in education yet always finds the time and energy to pour into others, to make sure our household is running smoothly, to keep our two boys on track with their academics and activities, to take care of our two dogs and so much more. During the pandemic, both of our boys have been doing virtual learning, and she spends every day working with our younger son to make sure he remains on pace with his learning. It’s truly amazing how much she does for our family and for others. She is my superhero and everything I’m able to do and accomplish, the difference I am able to make in our community, is a direct result of her support and efforts. So, I hope this shoutout is an opportunity for her to get some of the HUGE credit she really deserves. Beyond my wife, I do want to let my two boys know that I love them and also say a special thank you to my cityCURRENT team, my teammates at Higginbotham in Fort Worth and beyond, Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance (a Higginbotham Company) and all of my cityCURRENT partners and friends who work with us to power the GOOD! Thank you!
Other: GROWTHcurrent: www.GROWTHcurrent.com
The professional headshot and images from the cityCURRENT signature speaker series were taken by Donny Granger from Creation Studios.