One of Kansas City's greatest entrepreneurs, Henry W. Bloch co-founded H&R Block Inc. in 1955 and helped build it into the world's largest tax preparation company. He set the bar, too, as a philanthropist.
Now 92, he sits down with his son, Tom Bloch, on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., for a conversation covering Seven Lessons for Entrepreneurs gleaned from the elder Bloch's experiences - drawing from his thorniest challenges, most gut-wrenching defeats, and greatest triumphs.
The presentation is held in conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 17-23, 2014) and the paperback release of Tom Bloch's 2010 book Many Happy Returns: The Story of Henry Bloch, America's Tax Man.
Global Entrepreneurship Week was launched by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2007. The international initiative is designed to inspire entrepreneurial activity, connecting participants with potential collaborators, mentors, and investors.
It's an area in which Henry Bloch towers.
The second of three sons of a prominent Kansas City attorney, he attended Southwest High School, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan, entered the Air Force, and flew 31 World War II combat missions as a navigator on B-17 bombers. Bloch was awarded the Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters.
He and his brother Leon Bloch opened the United Business Company in the late 1940s, offering bookkeeping and other services to small businesses. Leon left, and the third brother, Richard, came aboard. H&R Block grew out of a simple 1955 advertisement for tax preparation services, and by 1978 was preparing more than one of every nine returns filed in the U.S.
Henry Bloch was the face of the company in TV commercials for more than 20 years. He retired as board chairman in 2000.
Beyond his entrepreneurial success, his extraordinary humanitarian and philanthropic efforts have left a lasting imprint on Kansas City.
Tom Bloch worked closely with his father at H&R Block for nearly two decades, serving as president and CEO while Henry was chairman of the board. He left the company in 1995 to teach in inner-city Kansas City, and co-founded University Academy.
Their event is preceded by a 6 p.m. reception. Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.