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More money for UMKC’s Bloch School: Foundation donates $21 million

Henry Bloch’s legacy in Kansas City

Henry Bloch, who died April 23 at age 96, founded H&R Block Inc. with his brother, Richard, in 1955. They guided it from a small family business to a global tax preparation dynasty.
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Henry Bloch, who died April 23 at age 96, founded H&R Block Inc. with his brother, Richard, in 1955. They guided it from a small family business to a global tax preparation dynasty.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is about to see big changes in the look of its business school, thanks to a $21 million gift from the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation.

The gift, announced Wednesday morning, will go to three campus initiatives: $8 million will go for improving infrastructure and expanding the 110-year-old Bloch Heritage Hall building at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. The lion’s share, $11.8 million, is for hiring and developing new faculty, developing new academic programs and enhancing current programs. The remaining $1.2 million will go toward improving student retention, graduation rates and career placements.

Heritage Hall is the oldest portion of the business school, named for Henry Bloch, co-founder of the H&R Block tax preparation empire and a Kansas City philanthropist, who died earlier this year at 96.

“This gift honors the memory of Marion and Henry Bloch by building upon the legacy they created with the Henry W. Bloch School of Management,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal in a statement.

He called the commitment of the Bloch Family to Kansas City and the university, “steadfast, highly impactful and beyond generous.”

This latest gift to the business school is on top of $5 million of a $15 million gift the university announced earlier this month from the Sunderland Foundation.

The Bloch gift also comes less than a year after the announcement of a new $20 million scholarship program funded by $10 million from the Bloch Family Foundation and the H&R Block Foundation and $10 million from UMKC and the University of Missouri System. University officials said that about 800 students will benefit over the next nine years from the scholarship.

“My parents believed in Kansas City, and they believed in UMKC as a key engine for progress in the community they loved,” Tom Bloch, chairman of the Bloch Family Foundation, said in a Wednesday news release.

bloch atrium.JPG
The University of Missouri-Kansas City unveiled its Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall in 2013 at 5108 Cherry St. It is an extension of the Bloch School of Business at the university. The central part of the new building is an amphitheatre and atrium. FRED BLOCHER The Kansas City Star

The Tudor-Revival style Heritage Hall was built in 1909. An addition was completed in 1986. Then in 2011 Bloch gave UMKC $32 million — the largest outright gift in the university’s history — to build the state-of-the-art Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which opened in 2013.

Heritage Hall has not received an upgrade since the addition was completed in 1986. The new and renovated space is being constructed to assure classrooms are designed for the 21st century and to create space that encourages student collaboration.

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Mará has written on all things education for The Star for 20 years, including issues of school safety, teen suicide, universal pre-K programs, college costs, campus protests and university branding.
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