GRACE Initiative was founded in 2010 by Mr. Joseph Matara who currently lives in the United States of America. Joseph was born in Kenya and spent his formative years in the country before moving to the United States to further his education. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, an MBA in Computer Information Systems and a CPA license. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, he secured a job as an accountant in the chemical manufacturing industry. After six years, he realized that he wanted to work in area that offered more than a paycheck. He made a conscious decision to work in the not-for-profit industry where his work had a bigger impact in other people’s lives. He spent the next twenty years working in community development; working on issues including affordable housing, early childhood education, job creation, career development, wealth creation, homelessness and care for the elderly.
During this time, Joseph wanted to learn as much as he could about community development with a view of using what he learned to help his community back in Kenya. He believed that the community that community had the expectation that someday he would be able to return to Kenya and help them improve their lives by sharing the experiences learned in the U.S. While he was not able to go back immediately, he did not lose sight of that unspoken promise of sharing the acquired knowledge to bring good to his community. Through his work, he was able to meet people that shared his vision and who pledged to help him achieve his dream of assisting his members of his community in their quest to improve their lives. These caring people included the late Rev. Msgr. William Linder, the late Nick Cirignano, Greg Farrell, Kathy Marshall and his brother, the late Roger Matara.
Joseph made several trips to Kenya, accompanied by Msgr. Linder and Mr. Cirignano to meet with the community and together figure out the best way to help them. It was through these meetings with the community that the decision was made to assist in the areas of education, sustainable farming and basic health. These trips started as early as the year 2000 when Joseph started helping the community informally.
We are thankful for all those that have supported us through the years; especially those in the United States who continue to open their hearts to the children on Kenya and their families; and the volunteer board members both in Kenya and the United States.
“Being able to provide hope to the children that we educate and their families, gives me great joy and purpose. It is my humble prayer that you will join us in this journey.” Joseph Matara