Jeremy C. Park: The Entrepreneur on a Mission to Power the Good (via Yahoo! News)
Updated: Oct 3
Below is the article from Yahoo! News on September 14, 2020. Click here to read the column on Yahoo! News.
Jeremy C. Park is a social entrepreneur, media personality, and author with a keen interest in philanthropy, volunteerism, and corporate social responsibility. Park is an advocate of the corporate sector’s role in strategically leveraging resources to strengthen and bring about positive change in communities.
He is the CEO and catalyst behind an organization, cityCURRENT, which empowers and engages leading corporations in the United States to align community-focused efforts to create collective impact. The organization focuses on fostering collaboration among business and community leaders, providing enrichment through events, creating turnkey volunteer opportunities, producing positive-oriented media, financially supporting nonprofits, and helping more companies find and define their purpose. The American entrepreneur benefits from more than 20 years of experience, ranging from careers in media, marketing and even tennis, having served as the head tennis professional at the Beverly Hills Country Club in Los Angeles, California. For more than 12 years now, though, he has been based in Memphis, Tennessee and leading his organization, cityCURRENT.
Park graduated magna cum laude in 1999 from the University of North Texas. He acquired a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in the field of Marketing. He was distinguished as the Top Undergraduate Student in Marketing and served as President of an international honor society for business students, Beta Gamma Sigma.
CEO and catalyst behind cityCURRENT
cityCURRENT is widely known as a privately funded catalyst with a socially motivated mission to “power the GOOD.” The organization has had longstanding partnerships with some of the world’s largest employers, including FedEx, AutoZone, Verizon, Kroger, and Smith+Nephew, which join forces and funds through cityCURRENT to host a number of philanthropic initiatives, to financially and physically support nonprofits and to lead efforts centered around strengthening and improving communities.
Significant fundraising and charitable work has been carried out in the Mid-South and Middle Tennessee, where cityCURRENT has teams working full-time. Examples include mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to wash the feet of thousands of youth and to provide them with new socks and shoes; helping to mobilize a cleanup effort with more than 15,000 volunteers; hosting a telethon for the Red Cross; and giving away a mortgage free home to a wounded Veteran Hero. The organization also is a longtime supporter of nonprofits that work in communities around the world, like Samaritan’s Feet International.
Park has pioneered infusing purpose into corporate events, marketing and day-to-day operations. Finding ways to help businesses measure and deliver a return on investment for their charitable efforts has led to increased corporate support for social causes and increased donations to nonprofits. It also has led to cityCURRENT’s growth and expansion into new markets, like Nashville, Tennessee in 2018; and has led Park to speak often at events and consult with other companies, sharing the cityCURRENT model, best practices for corporate philanthropy, and strategy for engaging companies to create collective impact in the community.
Author and media personality
In 2010, Park started writing a weekly newspaper column called, “Giving Back,” as a way to highlight nonprofits and to share lessons learned and tips for volunteerism. The column is published each Sunday in The Commercial Appeal, a Memphis newspaper.
Park released his first book, “Giving Back with Purpose” in 2013. Two years later, he published his second book, “Giving for Growth” with an updated edition following in 2017, and another update coming later in 2020. Through his books, Park has been able to help individuals find their purpose and better understand how they can leverage their volunteerism and community efforts to both make a difference and grow personally and professionally, as well. Park highlights the transformative power of serving others and serving in the community and offers tips on how easy it can be for companies and individuals to weave purpose into every event, effort, and day. With proceeds from both books supporting youth literacy programs, Park’s books about giving back also give back, which is a special, added benefit.
Beyond his writing, Park produces and hosts a weekly radio show that airs on all four Cumulus Media Memphis stations and a show that airs on all five Cumulus Media Nashville stations; the ChangeMakers podcast; a monthly television show on PBS’s WKNO, called “The SPARK;” and an annual televised awards show, called “The SPARK Awards.” He also hosts the television show “A Conversation With,” which airs across the PBS network in Tennessee and profiles figures like NASA astronauts and Shark Tank investors.
GROWTHcurrent – a step in a new direction
On July 10, 2020, Jeremy C. Park and his team unveiled a step in a new direction for cityCURRENT with the launch of a new business division, called GROWTHcurrent. GROWTHcurrent is a subscription-based online learning and personal development platform, serving as a hub for success secrets, exclusive content and virtual events. The platform is designed to help individuals grow personally and professionally, and it features learning modules, interviews with industry experts and thought leaders, and access to virtual events and online Q&A sessions with popular speakers, best-selling authors and well-known figures. Recent speakers have included Alex Banayan, author of the international best-seller, “The Third Door,” and Alden Mills, the three-time Navy SEAL platoon commander and author of “Be Unstoppable” and “Unstoppable Teams.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic began and then started to halt the economy, Park was faced with the dual challenge of not being able to hold in-person events and unraveling financial support from businesses, which themselves were struggling. Park and his team immediately shifted all of their cityCURRENT events online and began hosting virtual workshops and seminars, panel discussions, nonprofit tours, and larger virtual signature breakfast events with guest speakers. With his media background, the transition to hosting online events was natural, but the new opportunity it presented to engage a larger, global audience is what led to establishing GROWTHcurrent.
“It was a rare convergence where I had people reaching out to me on social media, like Instagram, from around the world, asking for help and advice; so, I saw a need and desire from those individuals who wanted to learn and grow and just needed access to opportunities. Then, I saw where we could give them access to all of the relationships we’ve built over the years with experts and speakers, who want to help, by leveraging the online events, media interviews and learning modules. And then, I saw the reality that if we wanted to keep moving forward and fulfill our mission to power the GOOD and help nonprofits, which were and are still struggling, we needed to innovate and change our model, our way of doing business. So, that became the genesis of launching GROWTHcurrent,” notes Park.
“I knew that we could either bang our heads against the wall and hope things would change, or we could change our organization and try to make the best of a very challenging situation. Knowing that so many people and organizations depend on us, I personally view it as a responsibility to both lead by example with a positive attitude and do whatever it takes to deliver on our mission. It has been a 24/7 commitment, but looking at what we are creating with GROWTHcurrent, the feedback we’re already receiving, and our potential to engage and help people around the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if GROWTHcurrent doesn’t outgrow cityCURRENT someday soon,” Park adds. He then concludes, “I think it would be only fitting that our brightest light comes out of the darkest time.”
For this level of leadership and his dedication to community service and impact, Jeremy C. Park has received many honors and accolades including recognition as a Top 40 Under 40. He is widely covered and featured on notable media outlets like Forbes, Fortune, The Huffington Post, and Leader’s Edge.