Crews and Associates, Children, Philanthropy
Rush and five others along with Adron Crews started a regional brokerage firm in 1979. They would call it Crews and Associates and today has an impressive role in bond underwriting. He helped grow the firm from its modest beginnings of $320,000 in initial equity in 1979 to almost $80 million today. He served the firm as executive vice president from 1979 to 1996. He was named president in 1996 and chief executive officer in 2000. In 2019, Harding stepped down as CEO and left the firm in 2021.
Both Rush and Linda, UCA graduates, have devoted much of their charitable resources to their alma mater. Both have a strong belief that education is the key to everything from breaking out of poverty to finding vocational success. Whether it’s the scholarships devoted to single mothers or African Americans or students from Monroe County where Rush was raised, the Hardings consider their giving to benefit those in need. The Hardings have given millions to UCA and, at the time, gave the largest single gift to the school when they donated the funds, $1.2 million, to build Harding Centennial Plaza on campus. They are currently chairing the school’s 2021 capital campaign where the Hardings have pledged $3 million. The school issued this statement: “The University of Central Arkansas is proud to announce that we are naming the photography studio in our new Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Art in recognition of Rush and Linda’s generosity to UCA. It will be the Linda Harding Photography Studio. In April 2021 at our UCA NOW capital campaign kickoff event, the Hardings announced an estate gift of $3 million to support UCA students.”
Other schools benefiting from their enormous generosity include Pulaski Academy, where the Harding children attended. Rush has been on the school board at PA, and he and Linda were responsible for the gymnasium at the school. Both Rush and Linda have received honorary doctorates from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, a Historically Black College and University, and Rush served on the board of trustees there as well.
Because of their generosity, both Rush and Linda were named Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year by the Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2007. In 2014, Rush was named Arkansan of the Year by Easterseals Arkansas. Rush was honored by the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame for his service and contributions to the group.