SMITHVILLE — Before his death in August 2019, Stanley M. Herzog is said to have given a simple directive for the establishment of his legacy: Support Christian education.

The late Missouri business titan left hundreds of millions of dollars for the nationwide benefit of religious schooling with an emphasis on northwest Missouri, the new foundation formed in his honor has announced. In the main, the money will benefit institutions of K-12 education that adopt all denominations of training and guiding young disciples, as the Rev. Darrell Jones of Grace Evangelical Church explained it.

“What are the missing pieces that would allow for the whole tide to rise?” Jones said.

Jones has been named the first president of the foundation. It is a role primarily concerned with public representation and communication that, at this time, focuses on a nationwide “listening tour” designed to determine where infusions of capital will make the most difference. The end product, Jones said, will likely involve a combination of scholarships and awards forged in partnership with beneficiaries.

Todd Graves will be working hand-in-glove with Jones in Graves’ position as foundation chairman. Graves is helping oversee construction of a campus spanning 18,000 square feet in Smithville, which is planned for completion in October 2021.

According to Graves, the site, positioned by Good Shepard Catholic Church off U.S. Highway 169, is based mostly on practicality. Open land for future expansion is in abundance. Kansas City International Airport is only 20 minutes away. And, it anchors a nationwide mission from the region where Herzog invested his life and career, where his legacy is properly rooted in devotion to God. Graves made that commitment to his friend.

“Stanley Herzog was from northwest Missouri,” Graves said. “He loved northwest Missouri and (the foundation) certainly will have a focus there.”

In addition to Graves and Jones, John Elliot has been named foundation vice president and Kristen Ansley secretary as well as treasurer. Recruitment is underway for a day-to-day manager of the foundation’s assets, with the title of executive director.

As quoted in a news release, Laurel Herzog-Woods and Jacob Herzog said they were honored to know their father’s legacy will be carried forward with “the life-changing and community-impacting work of this foundation.”

“Our father believed in the foundational importance of a Christian education in young people’s lives,” the Herzogs said. “An education that instills important values like commitment to God, family and community.”

Marcus Clem can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowClem

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