The GraceKennedy Foundation was established in 1982 to mark the 60th anniversary of GraceKennedy & Company Limited. The Foundation began with an initial grant of $500,000 provided by its parent company, and with Sir Herbert Duffus as its Chairman. The first few years were formative in nature. The early months were spent in developing policy guidelines and identifying areas. For the first three years, the Foundation focused on three specific areas of interest. These were: community service, education and Jamaica’s heritage. Initially, the Foundation responded to requests received, rather than attempting to initiate activities.
By January 1983, the Foundation received its first requests and issued grants to the Hyacinth Lightbourne Memorial Association, the Women’s Centre Programme for Adolescent Mothers, and the Physics Department of The University of the West Indies.
In 1984, the Foundation assumed full responsibility for the GraceKennedy Scholarship, which had been established in 1980. In that same year, it initiated a special post-graduate award known as the Luis Fred Kennedy Scholarship.
Towards the late 80s, the Foundation began the gradual shift of its focus from community service grants to education in order to solidify its long-term impact on Jamaica’s development.
In 1988 it launched its Annual Lecture Series. The first lecture was held in 1989 with distinguished economist the Hon. G. Arthur Brown as the inaugural presenter.
In April 1989, Professor Gladstone Mills assumed the position of Chairman of the Foundation, following the retirement of Sir Herbert Duffus.
Following the death of Carlton Alexander in 1989, GraceKennedy established the Carlton Alexander Memorial Fund with a grant of $4.5 million under the administration of the Foundation. The first awards went to institutions with which the late Chairman had strong links during his lifetime. These included a bursary scheme for the children of staff of GraceKennedy Limited; an annual scholarship to graduates of Jamaica College, and the endowment of the Carlton Alexander Chair to the University of the West Indies’ Department of Management Studies.
The endowment enabled the UWI to recruit a professor to strengthen the research and teaching capability of the Department. Professor Gordon Shirley was the first appointee to the Chair. In 1992, the James Moss-Solomon Snr. Chair in Environmental Management was established and entrusted to the Foundation. The following year, Dr. Elizabeth Thomas-Hope was appointed Professor of the James Moss-Solomon Snr. Chair.
In 2002, following the retirement of Professor Mills, Peter Moss-Solomon became Chairman of the Foundation. In that same year the Foundation staged the Inaugural Youth Symposium which was very successfully received. Stalwart GraceKennedy Foundation Director, Bruce Rickards died that year and a scholarship to a student from his alma mater, Kingston College, was established in his name.
In 2003, Prof. Gordon Shirley was asked to serve as Jamaica’s Ambassador to Washington leaving the Chair unfilled for a number of years.
Following the death of Director Adrian Wallace, the Foundation established the Adrian Barrington Wallace Memorial Trophy in 2006, at his alma mater Calabar High School. This was specifically for a student who had excelled in the CXC exams and in sports. The trophy was accompanied with a cash award to assist the student through sixth form.
The Foundation has grown tremendously over the past three decades with the leadership and guidance of a number of outstanding Jamaicans.
In 2008, we saw the ‘changing of the guard’. Having served for over 28 years, Peter Moss-Solomon retired as Chairman of the Board and passed on the responsibility to Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie. In addition, the Executive Director, Pat Robinson retired and passed on the operational management of the Foundation to Caroline Mahfood. 2010 saw Philip Alexander and Ryan Mack added to the Board while Peter Moss-Solomon retired at the end of that year after serving for over 28 years. In addition Prof. Elizabeth Thomas-Hope retired as the James Moss-Solomon Snr. Chair in Environmental Management. Prof. Dale Webber replaced her as the new Chair while the Carlton Alexander Chair in Management was filled by Prof. Ian Boxill.
In 2011, the Luis Fred Kennedy Environmental Foundation was wound up and the assets transferred to the GraceKennedy Foundation. Directors David Myrie and Ryan Mack resigned from the Board and Noel Greenland and Hilary Wehby were appointed as Directors in their stead.
In 2012 the foundation marked its 30th anniversary, which coincided with the 90th anniversary of its parent company. In that year, the parent company announced the establishment of two scholarships named in honour of former chairmen and CEOs Raf Diaz and Douglas Orane.
After 11 years of service to the Board, Director Sandra Glasgow retired. Former Principal of St. Georges College and historian Fred Kennedy was invited to join the Board in July 2013. The Foundation continued to expand its work in education by providing over $12 million annually in scholarships and bursaries. In 2014 the Board approved a bursary to the Caribbean Maritime Institute for a final year student studying Logistics.
In late 2013 the Foundation came on board as the main sponsor of the UWI Plastic Bottle Recycling Programme and in January 2014, a training programme on the importance of being an environmental steward was introduced to GraceKennedy staff across the Group. The Foundation has coordinated a number of environmental initiatives and intends to expand this work in 2015. In 2015, Prof. Dale Webber resigned from the James Moss-Solomon Senior Chair in Environmental Management after he was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor of Graduate Studies and Research at UWI. In 2016, Chair of Business Management Prof. Ian Boxhill has been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI. Prof. Mona Webber was appointed as Chair of the James Moss-Solomon Snr Chair in Environmental Management.
In 2018, the Foundation, in partnership with Grace Foods, Hi-Lo Food Stores, Office of Student Financing and the Guild of Students, UWI, developed the GK Campus Connect Food Bank located on the UWI Mona campus to address one of the critical issues affecting many tertiary level students who are often hard-pressed to eat healthy nutritious meals as any financial assistance they may receive is usually geared towards covering tuition, books and other educational-related expenses. The Foundation commenced discussions with public and private partners in 2018, to establish a project that produces a long-term solution to the pollution problem in the Kingston Harbour. The project will aim to reduce pollution at source through the development of innovative solutions to trap waste going into the gullies. The Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the newly established Jamaica Stroke Alliance to support their initiatives that would provide education, resources and support for persons who have suffered a stroke.
GraceKennedy Foundation at a Glance
- The Foundation is established to mark the 60th anniversary of GraceKennedy & Company Limited. It is a corporate endowed Foundation. Sir Herbert Duffus is named Chairman of the Board of Directors. The first Board comprised Peter Moss-Solomon, James Moss-Solomon, Christopher Bovell, Mable Tenn, Faustine Sharp, Professor Gladstone Mills, and Rev. C.S. Reid.
- The Foundation assumed responsibility fore the Jamaica/GraceKennedy Scholarship which was established in 1980.
- The CAST (now University of Technology, Jamaica) (UTech) Scholarship is established.
- G. Arthur Brown delivers the first GraceKennedy Foundation lecture “Patterns of Development and Attendant Choices and Consequences for Jamaica and the Caribbean”. The Lecture becomes an annual event.
- Sir Herbert Duffus retires and Professor Gladstone Mills is named Chairman.
- The Foundation is entrusted with the S. Carlton Alexander Memorial Fund. This provides:
- The Carlton Alexander Chair in Management Studies to the University of the West Indies;
- An annual scholarship to graduates of Jamaica College tenable at the UWI and UTech in alternate years; and
- Six bursaries annually to dependents of GraceKennedy Ltd staff. This increases the Foundation’s work in the field of education.
- The first awards of the Carlton Alexander scholarships and bursaries are made.
- Gordon Shirley becomes the first holder of the Carlton Alexander Chair
- Patricia Robinson succeeds Marjorie Humphreys as Executive Director.
- The James Moss-Solomon Snr. Chair in Environmental Management is established and entrusted to the Foundation in celebration of GraceKennedy’s 70th anniversary.
- Elizabeth Thomas-Hope is named Professor of the James Seivright Moss-Solomon Snr Chair.
- Adrian Wallace is appointed to the Board
- Mable Tenn and VC Alister McIntyre resign from the Board and Marlene Campbell appointed.
- Fay Saunders and Faustine Sharp resign from the Board
- Bruce Rickards, former director dies. An annual scholarship is established in his memory for graduates of Kingston College tenable at the UWI and UTech in alternate years
- Professor Gladstone Mills retires as Chairman of the Board.
- Peter Moss-Solomon is appointed Chairman.
- Michele Orane and Sandra Glasgow are appointed to the Board.
- The Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary with a youth symposium– “Investing in Our Future…The Social Rewards”.
- The Foundation establishes a scholarship to the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts to be rotated among the four schools.
- Rev. Sam Reid retires from the Board Director Adrian Wallace dies.
- David Myrie and Radley Reid are appointed to the Board
- The Adrian Wallace Memorial Bursary is established for a Calabar 6th Form student.
- Marlene Campbell resigns from the Board.
- Peter Moss-Solomon retires as Chairman of the Board.
- Professor Elsa Leo-Rhynie is appointed Chairman
- Caroline Mahfood succeeds Patricia Robinson as Executive Director.
- The Faustine Sharp Bursary is established for a St. Andrew High School for Girls 6th Form student.
- Youth Symposium reinstated and held under the theme “Youth Finding Themselves in Modern Jamaica”
- Peter Moss-Solomon retires from the Board
- Philip Alexander and Ryan Mack are appointed to the Board
- Prof. Elizabeth Thomas-Hope retires as the James Moss-Solomon Sr. Chair in Environmental Management. Prof. Dale Webber is appointed as the new Chair
- Prof. Ian Boxill is appointed as the Carlton Alexander Chair in Management Studies
- The Foundation participates in the Government of Jamaica Debt Exchange Programme.
- Luis Fred Kennedy Environmental Foundation is wound up and the GraceKennedy Foundation assumes the
assets. The Luis Fred Kennedy Fund is established.
- David Myrie and Ryan Mack resign from the Board
- Noel Greenland and Hilary Wehby are appointed to the Board
- 30th Anniversary of the Foundation
Areas in Which We Have Made A Difference
- Business Admin, Finance and Banking
- Computer Studies
- Hospitality and Institutional Management
- Liberal Arts
- The Sciences
Notable Scholarship Awardees
- Ingrid Mangatal – Law
- Roderick Gordon – Law
- Jennifer Knight-Madden – Medicine
- Marvin Reid – Medicine
- Maynard McIntosh – Opthalmology
- Sandra Glasgow resigns from the Board
- Fred Kennedy joins the Board
- GraceKennedy Foundation, along with the parent company make a combined donation of J$1million to the development of the UWI P.E.T. Plastic Separation and Recovery Project
- GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright Programme is reinstated. 1st cohorts arrive in July, 2015
- GraceKennedy Foundation implements recycling programme in GK subsidiaries and trains staff
- GraceKennedy Foundation coordinates the first International Coastal Cleanup Day activity for GK Foods and GK Corporate staff
- Bursary programme to final year students at Caribbean Maritime Institute studying Logistics is introduced
- Prof. Dale Webber appointed as the Grace Foods representative on the Recycle Jamaica Initiative
- GraceKennedy Foundation coordinates a plastic bottle collection initiative at ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys & Girls Champs
- Prof. Dale Webber resigns as Chair of James Moss-Solomon Snr Chair in Environmental Management and is appointed as the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Graduate Studies & Research, UWI, Mona.
- First cohort of GraceKennedy Jamaican Birthright interns arrive since 2008.
- The Foundation coordinates a team of GraceKennedy staff to participate in Jamaica’s 1st Climate Walk
- The Foundation coordinates a ‘Harbour Haul’ with a team of GK staff to clean up a section of the Kingston Harbour as part of GraceKennedy’s 94th anniversary celebrations.
- Prof. Mona Webber appointed Chair of the James Moss-Solomon Snr Chair in Environmental Management
- Inaugural Scholars Awards Ceremony in October, 2016
- GraceKennedy Foundation in association with the Dudley Grant Memorial Trust funds an early childhood education STEAM pilot project to improve the quality of early childhood teaching and learning through the development of an innovative science curricula. The project focuses primarily on teacher training and parenting workshops.
- June 2017- Prof. Elsa Leo-Rhynie retires as Chair of the GraceKennedy Foundation and Dr. Fred Kennedy takes over as Chair .
- GraceKennedy is awarded ‘Top Corporate Collector’ at a single clean-up site for the 2017 International Coastal Cleanup Day.
- The STEAM project culminates in April 2018. A brochure and online learning tools are being developed.
- The Jamaica Institute for Excellence in Education (JIEE) scholarship is instituted for a final year UWI or UTECH student studying science, technology, engineering or math.
- The GK Campus Connect Programme is established in partnership with Hi-Lo Food Stores, First Global Bank, Grace Foods, GK Insurance, GraceKennedy Money Services), – to strategically align GK scholars to serve as GraceKennedy ambassadors.
- Prof Ian Boxill resigns as the S. Carlton Alexander Chair in Management.
- The Foundation begins discussions with public and private partners to establish a project that produces a long-term solution to the pollution problem in the Kingston Harbour.
- The Foundation signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the newly established Jamaica Stroke Alliance to support their initiatives.
- GraceKennedy awarded ‘Top Corporate Collector’ at a single clean-up site for the 2018 International Coastal Cleanup Day.
- Prof. Elizabeth Thomas-Hope & Fay McIntosh retire, and Noel Greenland resigns as Directors – Dr. Carol Gentles, Mr Chaluk Richards, Ms. Allision Rangolan, Ms. Deidre Cousins are appointed to the Board.
- The GK Campus Connect Food Bank opens in April 2019, providing grocery packages for UWI and UTECH students with the greatest needs
- The Foundation partners with the UTECH Financial Aid office to open a food bank on UTECH campus
- Radley Reid retires from the Board
- GraceKennedy establishes a one-off 3-year scholarship to UWI to a past student of Immaculate Conception High School in honour of their former principal, Sister Angella Harris
- GraceKennedy awarded ‘Top Corporate Collector’ at a single clean-up site for the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup Day
- The Foundation spearheads discussions with public and private entities to establish a project aimed at a long-term solution to the pollution entering the Kingston Harbour
- The report and curriculum of the GKF funded Early Childhood STEAM project, implemented by the Dudley Grant Memorial Trust, is presented at the Early Childhood Commission Conference, November 2019
- Julie Meeks-Gardner and Terry-Ann Graver appointed to the GKF Board
- The Foundation is part of a consortium that is awarded a grant by the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund valued at US $990,000 to undertake a 3-year pilot project, aimed at contributing to a long-term solution to the pollution entering the Kingston Harbour.
- GK Birthright Programme is cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
- GKF donates $2.3 Million Dollars, in support of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) COVID-19 Jamaica Response Fund.
- GKF hosts its first fully virtual Annual Lecture due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- The Foundation assists with the establishment of the Jamaica Stroke Alliance, which is launched on World Stroke Day, October 29, 2020
- The Ace With Grace tutoring programme is launched, using GK scholars, to provide tutoring and homework support to students who attend the Grace and Staff Community Development Foundation Homework Centres and to children of GraceKennedy staff
- GK Birthright Programme is cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
- In April, the Foundation partners with several companies across the GK Group to raise J$14 Million to support the relief efforts in St Vincent, following several massive eruptions of the island’s La Soufrière volcano
- The Foundation partners with the ICD Group, The Multicare Youth Foundation and Kingston Creative to create a mural with an environmental theme in downtown Kingston
- GK Campus Connect Food Bank receives a new location at the UTECH campus
- Caroline Mahfood, CEO of GK Foundation, is awarded Honorary Life Member of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus Guild of Students for her longstanding contribution to education in Jamaica
- GKF assists The Ocean Cleanup, an international non-profit developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, with their baseline study on the amount of plastic and garbage entering the harbour at Hunt’s Bay, Kingston. This leads to them receiving a US$1.4 Million grant to combat the pollution entering the harbour. GKF is appointed project facilitators
- Director James Moss-Solomon passes away and the Executive-in-Residence position at MSBM comes to an end
- The GraceKennedy Foundation partners with International NGO, The Ocean Cleanup, on Kingston Harbour Cleanup Pilot Project, to prevent waste from entering the Kingston Harbour
- GK Birthright Programme returns after a 2-year hiatus
- GK Earth 365 logo developed to accompany all environmental sustainability activities for the GraceKennedy Group
- GraceKennedy Foundation celebrates 40 years
- Sister Angella Harris/ICHS scholarship comes to an end
- Senate of Jamaica commends as an exemplar in the arena of environmental protection, for its collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup and Clean Harbours Jamaica, on the Kingston Harbour Cleanup Project