Our Mission

The W.M. Grace Foundation strives to continue to:

  • Provide individual scholarships directly to students (for all levels of school, including private grade schools, high schools, colleges, universities) with scholarships given for merit or need
  • Award Grants for existing scholarship funds
  • Award Grants directly to schools for facilities, scholarships or general support
  • Award Grants/scholarships primarily in Arizona and Northwest Missouri

Our Founders

William M. Grace

W.M. (Bill) Grace was born September 10, 1934, one of five children, (four boys and a girl) to a Northwest Missouri farmer and his wife and was raised in Burlington Junction, Missouri. His rural work ethics were obvious throughout his life. He traveled and worked economic development projects throughout the world but his heart never left the farm. He always remembered where his roots were. He continued to work hard throughout his life as well as continually seeking knowledge in all facets of life.

He was always reading, be it a book, magazine, or newspaper. He was a student of world politics and economics. He possessed visionary wisdom and foresight to become the leading edge of his business field in Economic Development.

After serving in the military, he attended the University of Arizona in Tucson and received his BS and later his MBA degree in 1959. Although accepted to attend Harvard Law School and as his wife Kathy put it, she needed a washing machine so he felt obligated to get a job. He taught Economics at Arizona State University while also working as a field service engineer for Reynolds Aluminum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bill Grace returned to Northwest Missouri in 1966 and founded W.M. Grace Construction, Inc. in St. Joseph, Missouri. Shortly thereafter, he also founded W.M. Grace Development Company. In 2006 W.M. Grace celebrated its 40th anniversary of these companies that developed, designed, built, managed and leased shopping centers, office buildings, financial institutions, industrial complexes, housing units, hotels, vacation resorts and casinos.

His company™s quality of service, professionalism and experienced people distinguished itself as one of the largest privately owned companies. Operating over a multitude of states, the company moved a branch office back to Phoenix in 1970 and now maintains the Phoenix office as the corporate headquarters for this portion of the Grace’s businesses.

Bill was active as the Director of the Arizona Association of Economic Development (AAED) receiving the Developer of the Year Award in 1987. He also served as the AAED president in 1992 and was honored again as the Small Business Member of the Year in 1994.

His development company completed many major commercial development projects throughout the United States. The majority of the projects are convention hotels, industrial parks, shopping centers and office buildings.

Since that time, Bill became involved in the ownership, management and construction of the St. Jo Frontier Casino in St Joseph, Missouri; Casino White Cloud, White Cloud, Kansas; Lakeside Casino and Resort, Osceola, Iowa; Mark Twain Casino, La Grange, Missouri as well as the Woodlands Race Track , Kansas City, Kansas.

Multi-faceted, Bill Grace operated a farm located near Albany, Missouri where he raised Simmental and Red Angus cattle, as well as corn and soybeans.

Bill and his wife Kathy were married in 1955. They were blessed with two sons and one daughter, and six active grandchildren.

Bill Grace quietly pursued philanthropy practices for many years. Before his death in 2004, he served as the Board of Directors as the Vice President for the International Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia (CLL) Research Institute incorporated with M.D. Anderson of the University of Texas, in Houston. Additionally, Bill Grace actively served on the Board of Directors for the Bishop Leblond High School (St. Joseph, Missouri) and was head of theBuilding/Construction Committee for the school’s expansion including a new gymnasium. He was an integral part of the Capital Campaign for the endeavor as well as a generous contributor to the building fund.

Ann K. Grace

Ann Kathryn (Kathy)Grace was born on August 8, 1934, the oldest of four children (two girls and two boys) to Howard James and Charlotte Rose Thomas in Buchanan County, in Northwest Missouri. She was a stunning lady, very eloquent, poised, and well educated attending schools at Ursuline Academy in Paola, Kansas, Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri, and Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas. Kathy was a student of the world. She loved to read, loved art, was well traveled and very astute in business and world affairs. Kathy Grace was a quiet, forceful presence known for her strong personality, senseof humor and wit.

Kathy Grace was also instrumental, along with Bill in founding the W.M. Grace Companies in 1966. Today, these companies continue to be successfully involved in commercial real estate, acquisitions, hotels and casinos.

She married her husband William M. (Bill) Grace in 1955 and provided the structure for the Grace family. They were blessed with two sons and one 

daughter, and six active grandchildren. They were married 49 years prior to Bill’s death in April 25, 2004. She followed her husband in death on October 26, 2005.

Philanthropy was a way of life for Kathy Grace. She was a very gracious lady with an enormous sense of care and giving. Her kindness was overflowing. Kathy was a very generous contributor to many charitable causes. Through Grace Companies and often quietly with personal funds, she and her husband Bill provided significantly to many charitable events; a favorite being the Tobin Golf Tournament with the proceeds going directly to the Maryville, Missouri St Francis Hospital.

Before her death, she established the William M. and Ann K Grace Foundation. She, as well as Bill, believed all people had the capacity to change and improve their lives and sense of well being. Through education people can better influence their organizations, communities and country.

This philanthropy legacy is now being carried forward by the Grace family; Bill and Kathy’s children and grandchildren and it will be measured by the lives the William M. and Ann K. Grace Foundation.

We strive to help students excel.

For more information reach our to the Foundation Directors by clicking the button below.
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Privacy Policy

W.M. Grace Foundation respects and protects the privacy of visitors. Visitor-specific information of a personal nature is normally not collected. However, the Web site provides a Foundation Point of Contacts button and company e-mail address to permit visitor communication. When a visitor communicates with the W.M. Grace Foundation Web site via e-mail, a record of the visitor’s e-mail address and name (if provided) will be maintained. Information provided by visitors when completing any the forms will also be maintained.

All visitor-specific information of a personal nature that is collected will be maintained in the records of W.M. Grace Foundation in either hard copy or electronic form. W.M. Grace Foundation will not, under normal circumstances, provide any visitor-specific information of a personal nature to any third party. Visitors may request a modification or deletion of their personal information by regular mail or e-mail request, and W.M. Grace Foundation will use reasonable efforts to comply with such requests.

Not with standing the foregoing, W.M. Grace Foundation will treat any information supplied by visitors to the Web site as non proprietary or non confidential. W.M. Grace Foundation also assumes that all information is provided with the permission of the actual owner of the information.This Web site may provide links to third party Web sites not controlled by W.M. Grace Foundation. It is recommended that visitors check the specific privacy statements of any linked sites before providing any information of a personal nature to such sites.