Top H&R Block Franchisee Continues Father’s Legacy with Focus on Illinois Community
Leading by example, Mary K. Harris’ late father, David, introduced her to H&R Block and community service at a young age. David owned an H&R Block franchise in a small Illinois town until 2015. Mary then worked at franchise owned by Rosemary DaCosse, and later purchased that franchise in 2018, just one year after her dad’s death. Although she’s in a different location than her dad’s original franchise, she has continued his leadership with her team and community.
“It’s like a dream,” said Harris. “We had a three-year goal to get to where we are now, and we did it in one year.”
She notes her team thrives in hospitality. From helping a client with mobility issues navigate their office and feel at home, to getting familiar with H&R Block’s virtual tools, this Anna, IL team is dedicated to gaining the trust of new and existing clients.
David had a strong work ethic and was committed to treating his clients and employees with care. He went the extra mile with community involvement, which is exactly how Harris is continuing his legacy.
“My motto has always been, ‘leave it better than you found it,’ and that’s the principle we follow with our community,” said Harris. “I want my small business to have a hand in making every block better.”
Make Every Block Better is H&R Block’s community impact platform. Harris’ franchise personally focuses on the platform by leading two large community activations in Anna:
- Giving Parade
She successfully proposed the “Giving Parade” to the Anna city council in 2019, in partnership with Pay it Forward, to collect holiday presents that support more than 300 families in the community. The now annual event concludes with the Giving Parade hosted on Small Business Saturday to bring residents to “Main Street” to support local businesses.
- Block Out Hunger
A community tradition and “client favorite” is “Block Out Hunger,” where the franchise collects food donations that go to the local food pantry. Collection boxes are placed in the office each year, allowing clients to easily make their contributions.
“These two programs are close to my heart, because I understand what it feels like to struggle with food insecurity and financial insecurity. I was a single mom of three and we went through a rough time for two years. I am fortunate to have wonderful parents that were able to help me, but even with that, it is so hard to ask for help,” said Harris.
Through these community events, Mary hopes to create a support system that allows her to further assist residents and clients in need. “My dad would be proud,” Harris said. “He emphasized doing our best for others and always doing the right thing even when it was not the easiest thing to do. It aligns with H&R Block’s purpose, which means a lot.”
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