Gratia International was established as a non-profit organization in June 2007, building on the extraordinary 12 year track record of our predecessor organization in Nigeria, the Voice of the Poor Foundation.
Gratia’s mission, open to all regardless of race, religion, or ability, is to help transform the lives of the poor through the restoration of hope and dignity with particular focus on supporting social entrepreneurs and their initiatives in education, leadership, and enterprise.
An anonymous benefactor covers all of Gratia International's overhead, which means that 100% of all donations go straight to the beneficiaries on the ground.
Our history as an organization brought us to Africa—specifically to Nigeria—where we will continue to focus for at least the near term. The Nigeria programme is headed by our main partner, Voice of the Poor Foundation, Nigeria, founded by the Very Rev. Msgr. John Bosco Akam in 1995 to care for orphans and physically handicapped persons, provide shelter and basic amenities for the poor, provide education to young people, and create employment and microfinance opportunities.
VPF currently educates over 3700 nursery, primary, and secondary school students in Uga and Enugu and 2500 students at the end of the third year of the Tansian University in Onitsha, operates a water company which provides fresh water and jobs to locals, and runs a micro credit operation with 109 beneficiaries.
Gratia International's Team
Our initial team combines four important areas of expertise:
- International Development
- Fund Raising
Mr Dan Hill, Chairman of the Board
Dan Hill, over the past thirty years, has led a wide range of entrepreneurial businesses in both the US and UK with significant valuations. He has been involved in building and operating companies as well as consulting and problem solving, capital raising, and strategic planning. Mr. Hill is a graduate of Harvard University’s OPM programme as well as of the senior executive finance programme at Oxford University's Templeton College. He is a qualified lawyer and holds various corporate directorships.
Mrs Anne Hill, Board Member
Anne Hill trained as a dental hygienist but for the last thirty years has been wife of Dan and mother to James, Conor, Joseph and Patrick, and guardian to Cash Kern for twelve years. In her spare time she has spent many years assisting the Missionaries of Charity, running a marriage preparation course and assisting women in the parish through Mothers Prayers. Most recently, Anne has been spiritual mother to the students of St Patrick's School of Evangelization. She has been involved with Voice of the Poor Foundation in several capacities since 1997.
Mr Andrew Bowie, Director
Andrew Bowie has almost a decade of experience in international real estate development and services and has also been active in fund raising and strategic planning for various entrepreneurial and non-profit activities. Previously Andrew spent significant time guiding team building and problem solving exercises and leadership training in the context of wilderness and outdoor adventures and completed graduate studies at Duke University and the Pontifical Gregorian University with a focus on philosophical and theological ethics.
Mr James Hill, President & Director
James is the President of Gratia’s 501(c)3 in the United States, Gratia International US, Inc. Currently CEO at Aging Aircraft Consulting (based in Warner Robins, GA), a company that is focused on providing quality solutions to the military maintenance community and helping to sustain their aging fleet of aircraft. Previously, at Marine Desalination Systems (MDS), as Vice President, James was responsible for the overall financial management of the company, budgeting, managing back office details, and U.S. Government contract negotiation & compliance (interface with DCAA and DCMA).
Mr Branigan Sherman, Vice President
Branigan is Vice President of Gratia International US, Inc. He has been involved with starting, growing and saving non-profit organizations for over 20 years. He brings to Gratia his mission-oriented focus and experience in executive leadership, strategic planning and development. Branigan received degrees in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy.
Mr Gavin Cunningham
Gavin joined Gratia International having worked as a corporate, commercial and regulatory lawyer in the city of London with Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP. Gavin has substantial experience of working with education-focused development projects in South America.