Earlier this summer, I had the good fortune to celebrate my 95th birthday. The days following were filled with well wishes, birthday messages and expressions of gratitude. Although appreciated, I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you, Kansas City. Thank you to the people who have meant so much to me. Thank you to the community that has provided me so much support. And thank you to the organizations that make this such a wonderful place to raise a family, start and grow a business and leave a legacy.
When my brother Richard and I started H&R Block in 1955, we admittedly had no idea of the success we would eventually achieve. While it required a lot of hard work, we also benefited from a lot of good luck and an incredible team. If it weren’t for the Kansas Citians who supported our early efforts, H&R Block would never have become what it is today. And through our success, we were able to do even more to support Kansas City.
We did this not because we had to, but because it was the right thing to do. We knew that business could be about more than making money, but also about making a difference — something we need even more of today. Over the years, I learned that true success is not measured in what you get, but in what you give back.
In 2011, we created the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation. This foundation will continue to grow and support important charitable causes and organizations. However, most importantly, the Bloch Family Foundation is how I will continue to pay my debt to Kansas City. In particular, there are three organizations that have meant a great deal to me and my family. I want to highlight some of their recent accomplishments to advance Kansas City.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is one of the finest art museums in the world. I was pleased to be able to donate our personal impressionist painting collection to supplement the already excellent holdings of the museum. The opening of the Bloch Galleries stands as one of my proudest personal accomplishments. The Nelson-Atkins is among Kansas City’s most important treasures and will serve as a source of inspiration, creativity and cultural engagement for generations to come.
The Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC has made tremendous strides over the last few years, with investments in students, faculty and programs. With the energy and leadership of a new dean and a continued commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation, I know we are well on our way to making the Bloch School one of the best business schools in the country.
We are blessed in Kansas City with many great hospitals and health care institutions, particularly Saint Luke’s Hospital. Through our support of the Saint Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute, our goal is to develop a nationally recognized center for neuroscience. While only four years old, the institute was recently ranked among the Top 50 in the country, alongside much older and well-established peers.
My wife Marion and I were both born in Kansas City. Our four children were born here. There were opportunities to move elsewhere, but our happiest times and greatest successes as a family have all happened here. The words “thank you” simply do not fully express my gratitude and appreciation for all you have given us.
Kansas City will forever be in my heart as this community has literally shaped who I am.
Clearly, by working together, we have accomplished much, but there is more work to do.
And Kansas City is just getting started.
Henry W. Bloch is the co-founder of H&R Block.