Henry W. Bloch
Honorary Chairman and Co-Founder
H&R Block, Inc.
Kansas City, Missouri
“It is in the best interest of every business – no matter its size – to support the arts. Beyond their intrinsic value, the arts add to the economic vitality and quality of life of our communities. They also unleash creative ideas in and out of the workplace, foster dialogues and increase understanding among people.”
- Henry W. Bloch
The BCA Leadership Award recognizes a business executive who demonstrates exceptional vision, leadership and commitment in developing and encouraging business alliances with the arts throughout his/her career.
Henry W. Bloch, Honorary Chairman and Co-Founder of H&R Block, Inc. is passionate about giving back to Kansas City, Missouri, the city in which the company began. For decades he has provided vision and leadership, as well as substantial support, both personally and through his company, to dozens of the city’s not-for-profits. In addressing his support for his community, Henry said, “Kansas City saw my company through the lean years, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back.”
As Chairman of the Board of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Henry initiated the museum’s $100 million Endowment Campaign, and was on the Steering Committee for the $200 million Generations Capital Campaign to which he gave a leadership gift. Designed by Stephen Holl Architects, the Bloch Building is the centerpiece of a dramatic transformation of the museum that includes major renovations of the original building, reinstallation of European galleries, a new Ford Learning Center and restoration of the Kansas City Sculpture Park. The inaugural exhibition in the new Bloch Building, Manet to Matisse: Impressionist Masters from the Marion and HenryBloch Collection, featured the Blochs’ personal collection of Impressionist paintings. This was the first time this collection has been exhibited publicly. Henry served as trustee of the museum from 1983 to 2007 and as Chairman of the Board from 2004 to 2007. In 1985, he created the Business Council at the Nelson-Atkins which has become a valuable support organization that continues to help the museum grow and enhance its mission.
In 1974, Henry established The H&R Block Foundation and serves as its Chairman. The foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life by responding to the changing needs of people and communities through thoughtful, innovative and responsible philanthropy.
Under Henry’s guidance, the foundation created the H&R Block Artspace in collaboration with the Kansas City Art Institute, a college of art and design where he served as Director. The Artspace supports the creation and presentation of contemporary art by international, national and regional artists through exhibitions, publications, public art projects, educational programs, partnerships, and innovative professional development opportunities for students and exhibiting artists.
In 2001, the H&R Block Foundation created the Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain at Union Station as a gift to the people of Kansas City. Union Station, a former railroad station built in 1914, was renovated in 1999 and is now the home of Science City – an educational center that preserves and interprets Kansas City’s regional history. Kansas City, known as the City of Fountains, is believed to have more public fountains than any city other than Rome.
Henry is also one of 11 founding trustees of the Kansas City Symphony. The founding trustees, all businessmen and philanthropists, recognized the city’s need for a symphony and established an initial endowment for the symphony in 1983. He also served as the Honorary Chairman of the Symphony Ball, the symphony’s annual fundraiser. And, he is a former member of the Corporate Fund of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
In 2000, Henry Bloch helped to establish the Kansas City Business Committee for the Arts to increase business involvement with the arts at the local level. He remains the Honorary Chairman of this organization. According to Henry, “Being a member of the Kansas City BCA is a win-win-win-win for our metro-area companies. It’s a win for the artists with whom they partner, a win for the Kansas City community, a win for the employees, and a win for the member businesses.” Additionally, he served on the board of the national Business Committee for the Arts from 2002 through 2006.
Throughout his life, Henry has been an avid champion for the arts. He has devoted considerable leadership, vision and resources to enrich the arts for the benefit of those living in and visiting Kansas City and on the national level he has worked tirelessly to engage businesses with the arts to ensure the arts may be enjoyed by all.