Ask The Experts: Council of Churches of the Ozarks

Posted online
March 9, 2020

Mike Pruett, Elliott Robinson & Company

Question: How can businesses benefit from NAP tax credits?

Answer: The state of Missouri allots funds for
completion of community service projects through Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) credits. When a business makes a charitable contribution to a nonprofit program that is associated with NAP credits, that business then receives a 50% tax credit certificate which can be applied to state income tax liability.

February 10, 2020

Paula Adams,  President Penmac

Question: How do you remove the stigma attached to hiring homeless people?

Answer: It’s a great idea to try not to distinguish between homeless and not homeless. We’re looking for the best candidate. If they have the skill set and the willingness to be there on time and get the job done, that’s what we’re all about. Every situation is different so we try not to use that as a reason not to hire someone. So many other things come into play prior to that.

January 13, 2020

Jamie Jacobsen,  Owner Fazolis

Question: How can business owners connect with community through charitable organizations?

Answer: As a small business, I feel it’s very important to support not for profit organizations in the community. I would suggest doing some research. Look for an organization that really utilizes the resources in a proper way to support and to help elevate people out of poverty.” It’s going to take us working together.

December 9, 2019

Tom Faulkner,  Director of Crosslines

Question: How can business owners help alleviate poverty in Springfield?

Answer: 1 in 4 people are living at or below the poverty level in Springfield. While the cost of living in Springfield is relatively low, so are wages. But not all businesses can afford to pay higher wages. Employers can offer additional training in order to help employees earn pay raises. Investing in non-profits financially and physically is also a great way to help fight poverty. Partnering with one of the local agencies in town that are working to eliminate poverty is a great way to get involved and give back.

November 11, 2019

Kelly Harris,  Director of Safe To Sleep

Question: How can employers help if an employee is or becomes homeless?

Answer: There are many reasons people fall into homelessness. Things like a prolonged illness and missed work or death of a spouse can be all it takes for someone to lose everything. Employers can help connect employees with resources like Safe to Sleep. We have tips for helping employers make a work enviroment that protects and helps employees. Most importantly, be understanding and withhold judgment.

October 14, 2019

Nicole Piper,  Director of One Stop for Early Childhood

Question: How can business owners foster an environment of caring in the workplace?

Answer: Have open communications with your staff. Make sure they understand that they are safe and can speak freely with no fear of judgment or retribution. Let people come to work and be themselves. That goes a long way to keeping your employees loyal and they will, in turn, help keep customers loyal.

One of the things we focus on at The One Stop is conscious discipline. Conscious discipline requires you to look within and focus on yourself. It’s important to center yourself before you can take in the needs of the other person. Odds are if you haven’t centered yourself, then you’re not listening to the other side of the conversation. Make a conscious effort to be involved in the conversation and seeing someone else’s point of view.

One of the techniques we use is called STAR breathing, which reminds the participant to Stop, Take a deep breath, And Relax. This allows the opportunity to calm down and start to think about how to respond and think about what is important to your coworker. By stopping to center yourself, you ensure the conversation will be productive and get to the root of the problem. It’s important to focus on yourself first and then make the other person feel safe and secure.

September 9, 2019
Keke Rover 
Question: How can businesses make accommodations for employees who are fostering children?
Answer: There are over 13,000 children in foster care in Missouri. People who choose to become foster parents face many challenges. Allowing flexible work schedules and offering extra days off that don’t come out of vacation or sick days when employees are going through training and when they start fostering children is a great way for employers to support these foster families. Businesses can also get involved by having clothing drives or sponsoring events in support of foster families.
August 12, 2019
Kristy Frans 
RSVP Director
Question: How can businesses help current and prospective employees who may be struggling with literacy?
Answer: Be open to hiring someone with a literacy issue. Invest in programs that help work with adults and children to combat low literacy and prevent the problem before it starts. Business leaders need to understand that just because someone struggles with low literacy that doesn’t mean they won’t be a great employee. Invest in employees who have a low literacy level by providing them with the numerous adult literacy resources that exist in Springfield. When you invest time in employees, they will be more loyal to you.

July 8, 2019

Mark Struckhoff
Executive Director
Question: What are ways employers can help motivate employees to get involved in volunteering?
Answer: Create a safe space for people in your organization to go out and volunteer in the community. Help them find their own passion, whether rescuing animals or reading to children or helping to end hunger or homelessness. There are so many great organizations working together in the community to try to tackle some of the issues that really require some heavy lifting. This lifting doesn’t get done without the work of volunteers. It’s about recognizing that life is interconnected. It takes all of us together, lifting together to make the quality of life here better.