Americans for the Arts mourns the loss of Henry W. Bloch, co-founder of H&R block and avid champion for the arts, who tirelessly engaged businesses with the arts to ensure the arts may be enjoyed by all. He died on April 23 at age 96.

Bloch served on the board of the national Business Committee for the Arts from 2002 through 2006 and was honored with the 2007 BCA Leadership Award, which recognizes a business executive who demonstrates exceptional vision, leadership, and commitment in developing and encouraging business alliances with the arts throughout his/her career. He said of the collaboration between arts and business: “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.” 

Bloch, Honorary Chairman and Co-Founder of H&R Block, Inc., was passionate about giving back to Kansas City, Missouri, the city in which the company began. For decades he provided vision and leadership, as well as substantial support, both personally and through his company, to dozens of the city’s not-for-profits. He served on the Board of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from 1983 to 2007, the last four years of which he served as Chairman of the Board. Bloch was also one of 11 founding trustees of the Kansas City Symphony and was a former member of the Corporate Fund of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

In 2000, Bloch helped establish the Kansas City Business Committee for the Arts to increase business involvement with the arts at the local level. According to Bloch, “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.”

In 2011, Bloch and his wife established the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation to support organizations that serve Greater Kansas, with a special emphasis on the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Bloch’s extraordinary vision and generosity had a transformative impact in and outside of Kansas City—a legacy that will endure for a long time. His steadfast support will be greatly missed.

Americans for the Arts CEO Robert Lynch presenting the Leadership Award to Henry Bloch in Kansas City.

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