The GRACE Project is incorporated in the U.S. as a tax exempt 501c3 organization and also registered as a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Kenya.
The GRACE Project began in 2006 by Joseph Matara. A young Joseph was given the opportunity for success after graduating high school through the Kenyan tradition of harambee. Harambee is the act of a community pulling together, sharing their resources and skills to build communities. In 1987, Joseph Matara came to the United States in pursuit of a university education. His community in Kisii, Kenya contributed what little funds they had to buy him a plane ticket to get him to the United States. The first flight ever was from Nairobi to Newark, with nothing but $20 in his pocket, a dream in his head, and the confidence of those that loved him.
Joseph worked hard and earned his undergraduate and a master’s degree then went on to a successful career in accounting. He and his long-term friend and mentor, Nick Cirignano, travelled to Kisii, Kenya in early 2006. After the trip, Nick pledged that “they had to do something for those children”. Nick became the founding grantor and thus, The GRACE Project was born through the grace of God and the generosity of friends, family, and many others they met along the way.
The GRACE Project is Joseph’s contribution back to his community. His community invested in him and now he gives back so that more children and families can achieve financial independence in their local community through education, healthcare, and agricultural vocational training.
Joseph currently resides in Union, New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He makes frequent trips back to Kisii, Kenya to support the GRACE Project and visit friends and family. He and his wife hope to one day to return to Kisii permanently where they can immerse themselves in a daily mission to help other families achieve financial independence.
To learn more about The GRACE Project’s efforts, go to Our Work.