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tr ailblazer

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.” –Walt Whitman

james Gripka, CPA

Getting to know


Tough teen homelessness is difficult to measure, the U.S. Department of Education said the state of Oklahoma had more than 26,000 homeless youth and children during the 2016-2017 school year. In a January 2019 article in Te Oklahoman, the executive director of Te Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City, Dan Straughan, was quoted as saying, “Te continuum of homeless services is really geared toward adults. So, young adults tend to avoid regular service providers for fear of being victimized. Tat’s why we don’t have good numbers on that population.” Trough the nonprofit organization

Pivot, James Gripka, CPA, hopes to help some of those teens. “I truly appreciate the opportunities that my parents had provided me when I was growing up and I look back fondly on my youth,” Gripka said. “While I currently do not have children of my own, I wish nothing more than to be able to enable others to have similar opportunities growing up.” Gripka serves on the board of

What would we never catch you doing? Deep cleaning the house

What would we never catch you wearing? Socks with sandals

If you could speak any foreign language, what would it be? Vietnamese

What scares you? Heights

If you could have any animal as a pet, regardless of restrictions, what would you have? An elephant

What was your favorite toy as a child? LEGOs

What’s one movie you could watch over and over again? Old School

What bugs you? People who drive less than the speed limit in the left lane

trustees for Pivot, Inc., which offers various services to disadvantaged youth. “Tese services facilitate a necessary and successful transition for these youth to become integrated and productive members of society,” Gripka explained. “Pivot advocates, educates, intervenes and counsels youth and their families to make a positive difference in their lives, especially at a time where situations and circumstances may dictate otherwise.” Gripka, a director with BKD CPAs

& Advisors in Oklahoma City, met with the organization’s CEO and CFO multiple times and researched the organization on his own before

20 CPAFOCUS March/April 2019

agreeing to volunteer. Te University of Central Oklahoma graduate has also volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House and United Way of Central Oklahoma, among others. “I have worked with a variety of charitable organizations and really enjoy learning about each individual mission and value story for those organizations,” Gripka explained. “I stay engaged in my work with those organizations and ultimately impact their cause by sharing ideas, enabling compliance and instilling confidence in their financial condition so they may continue to carry out the important charitable work they do day in and day out.”

Chad Moore, CPA, a partner with

BKD CPAs & Advisors, said of his colleague, “James has engendered trust with his colleagues by encouraging and empowering them toward personal and professional growth. Te teams and groups James is a part of have evolved into collaborative, supportive and thriving groups known for providing unmatched client service, due in no small part to his role.” Moore continued, “James is

still young in his career, with an unbelievable amount of potential and momentum, all pointing to a very bright future for him and those around him.” For Gripka, one of the brightest

parts of that future would be increased assistance for Pivot, Inc. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to give back in this way,” he said. “I hope to bring more awareness to this organization and look forward to the opportunity to further promote and help these youths.”

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