Harps Food Stores Inc.*

City: Springdale
Category: Arkansas Community Foundation's Outstanding Philanthropic Corporations
Year: 2001

Harps Food Stores Inc. of Springdale was founded by Harvard Harp in 1930 and has since grown to include 42 stores and 2,500 employees.

But despite the growth, Harps retains its focus on its communities and its employees.

The stores, located in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, have donated more than $700,000 over the last seven years to charitable programs in the communities they serve, said Roger Collins, Harps president and CEO. The money is raised through golf and fishing tournaments and is given to local fire departments, libraries and other organizations.

Last year, the Muscular Dystrophy Association received $53,000 from a fishing tournament and the sale of signed cutout shamrocks that were pasted in the store windows. And the United Way Day of Caring raised $125,000 through Harps.

"If the community isn't strong where we have stores, it'll hurt our company," Collins said.

In the months following September 11, Harps stores donated $37,000 to the American Red Cross raised through customer donations and flag purchases, he said.

Harps gives awards to managers who are active and exhibit leadership skills within their communities.These employees are recognized at a banquet each year.

Harps also recognizes the importance of its employees, Collins said. Employees may opt to donate 50 cents or more per pay period to an Employee Crisis Fund that aids workers who have experienced a significant setback such as a fire, death of a family member or high medical expenses.

In five years, Harps awarded more than $360,000 to employees in need, Collins said.

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