The Funder Behind a $15 Million Gift to USC

James R. Parks credits much of his success as a CPA, financial analyst, and tax consultant to the education he received at the University of Southern California's Leventhal School of Accounting. So he decided to "pay it forward" with a gift of $15 million to the school.

The gift will support key initiatives at the Leventhal School, which is housed within USC's Marshall School of Business. It also will endow the now-renamed Jennifer and James R. Parks Master of Business Taxation degree program. James Parks earned his MBT from USC in 1975 and a bachelor's degree in business from the school in 1972. A portion of the $15 million gift will endow the Jennifer and James R. Parks Chair of Taxation and support a number of activities, including renovation of the Leventhal accounting building.

Parks has a long history of involvement with USC since his graduation from the school. He serves on the Marshall School of Business' board of leaders. He is a CPA and a managing director at the Los Angeles office of CBIZ MHM LLC, specializing in tax consulting, financial analysis, and litigation consulting for the entertainment, real estate, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries for more than 40 years. Parks also serves on the governing boards of Whittier College and the California Council on Economic Education.

The Leventhal School of Accounting has been ranked as one of the nation's best accounting schools, according to U.S. News and World Report. The gift from Parks will enable the school to further cement its reputation as a center for top accounting education. The school reported that the $15 million gift is one of the largest in its history, second only to the naming gift from Elaine and Kenneth Leventhal in 1996. The gift also brings USC a little closer to the $6 billion goal set in its multiyear Campaign for USC effort, which seeks to raise funds from private philanthropy to advance its priorities. Four years after its launch, this campaign has raised $4.5 billion.