History of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation
Grace A. Dow established The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in 1936 in memory of her husband, Herbert H. Dow, who founded The Dow Chemical Company and died in 1930. She was a trustee of the Foundation until her death in 1953.
Grace A. Ball and Herbert H. Dow were married in Midland, Michigan, in 1892. Herbert was born in 1866 to Sarah (Bunnell) and Joseph Henry Dow. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated from Case School of Applied Science (now Case Western Reserve University). Grace was born in 1869 to Amelia (Eaton) and George Willard Ball. Grace's father was the founder of Midland's first bank; Grace was a schoolteacher at the Post Street School before she married Herbert.
Young Herbert Dow was fortunate in having a father who was a creative inventor, and his formal education was complemented by the hands-on mechanical and inventive education he received from his father.
During his studies at Case, Herbert Dow became interested in the composition of brine, a topic on which he wrote several papers. His first commercial chemical venture in Ohio was unsuccessful, but by the time he moved to Midland in 1890, he'd proven that his new chemical process for removing bromine from brine by electrolysis was feasible. The rich source of brine beneath the ground in Midland and the availability of power were major factors in his choosing Midland as the site of his Midland Chemical Company. During the years 1894–97 Herbert Dow further expanded his electrolytic process to separate chlorine from brine. In 1897 he established The Dow Chemical Company to produce chlorine bleach based upon this new technology. In 1900 he merged the Midland Chemical Company into The Dow Chemical Company.
Herbert Dow was honored with doctorate degrees from Case Western Reserve University and the University of Michigan. He is credited with 107 inventions and in 1930 received the prestigious Perkin Medal for Chemical Achievement from the Society of Chemical Industry.
Grace and Herbert Dow were the parents of seven children and spent their married life in Midland. They were both devoted to the family, the community, and to the enhancement of the quality of life for everyone in the Midland area and in Michigan. Their compassionate and visionary philosophy continues to be the guiding inspiration for the trustees of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation is the sixth largest foundation in Michigan, and since its establishment, has granted over $477 million to worthy programs and projects in Michigan.
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