Our Foundation Story


Today, The DeBruce Foundation focuses on expanding pathways to economic growth and opportunity. To prepare individuals and close workforce gaps, we partner in designing and deploying innovative resources for all ages, unlocking their potential to find new career pathways.

Following is a timeline of mission milestones.

  • The DeBruce Foundation was established by Paul DeBruce in 1988, just ten years after Mr. DeBruce opened DeBruce Grain.

  • Since 2010, The Foundation has been supported by DeBruce Companies, a private investment firm managing a diverse portfolio of private equity and other asset-class investments across a broad range of industries, including biotechnology, energy, manufacturing, technology, and real estate.

  • Mr. DeBruce assembled a board of directors and a team of experts to identify transformative opportunities.  To make an even greater impact in the decades to come, he challenged the team to reimagine philanthropy, solve social issues, and innovate using practical tools and systemic change.

  • DeBruce Center at the University of Kansas opened and was named in recognition of a lead gift from Paul DeBruce and The DeBruce Foundation.  Rather than displaying the original basketball rules in the Booth Hall of Athletics in Allen Fieldhouse, the decision was made to create a facility—one that would serve not only as a shrine to the rules, but as a gathering place for the extended KU community.

  • The Gates of Paradise, purchased in February 2017 by Paul and Linda DeBruce, is a promised gift for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.  Now proudly displayed in the Bloch lobby, the 17-foot gilded doors are casts of the original doors created in the 15th-century workshop of sculptor and artist Lorenzo Ghiberti.  This art is considered a defining moment in Italian Renaissance.

    • Established The Foundation’s mission as “Expanding pathways to economic growth & opportunity.”
    • Developed The Foundation’s first proprietary career literacy asset, the Agile Work Profiler©.

    • Launched publicly the Agile Work Profiler© (AWP).
    • Deployed the Career Explorer Tools© (CET) for use in educational and workforce development settings.
    • Released first market research findings regarding relevance and need for the AWP and CET.

    • Opened The Paul and Linda DeBruce Hall at the Kansas City Art Institute.
    • Donated to Kansas City COVID Response & Relief Fund.
    • Initiated community effort as lead funder for Kansas City Police Department body cameras.
    • Launched interactive career programs: Grad Gift, Draw Your Future with Agilities, and vShips.
    • Achieved 20K Agile Work Profiler© completions.

    • Donated to the Children’s Mercy Research Institute (CMRI): Genomic Answers for Kids Project.
    • Commissioned and released report on “Adult Higher Education’s Lessons Learned.”
    • Commissioned and released research that found gaps exist between youth career expectations and their career readiness.
    • Launched the new Agilities.org for career seekers, educators, and organizational leaders.

    • Released first-of-its-kind Employment Empowerment report.
    • Embarked upon first statewide adoption of the Agile Work Profiler with Indiana.
    • Achieved 94K+ Agile Work Profiler© completions.

Download the Released 2023 Mission Report