Who was J.R. Albert?

John Raymond “J.R.” Albert was a businessman and investor who spent much of his life in Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Albert was born the seventh of ten children to Austrian immigrants in Suffield, Connecticut in 1916. His father was a coal miner and factory worker.

Trained as a machine shop engineer, he went to work in the 1930s for the Colt Firearm company making guns for use in airplanes, and later in a new Pratt Whitney aircraft plant in Kansas City. He later went into business for himself, purchasing the Ace Tool and Machine Company, and in the 1960s expanding to open another business, A-1 Tool and Machine, in Pittsburg, Kansas. He later sold his businesses and invested in the stock market.


Later in his life, Mr. Albert moved to Alvin, Texas, where he lived with his companion, Joanne Sante. After recovering from cancer, he became committed to nutrition, a balanced diet, and exercise as a means to maintain health and prevent disease. He saw many people who did not have access to either nutrition information or healthy foods, and wanted his estate to fund programs that would provide help and education for all segments of society.

“If we can just help a few of those people, I’ll be satisfied,” J.R. said.

“If we can just help a few of those people, I’ll be satisfied.”

History of the J.R. Albert Foundation

After J.R. Albert passed away in 2007, the trustees of his estate established the J.R. Albert Foundation to continue his legacy. In the first few years, the Foundation provided grants to organizations all across the United States addressing a wide variety of approaches to healthy living.

In 2012, the J.R. Albert Foundation narrowed its focus to supporting regional food banks, as well as nonprofits focused on increasing food accessibility, providing nutrition education, and encouraging sustainable agriculture.

The Foundation that year also established its NextGen Board, consisting of the second generation of the Foundation’s leadership.

Also in 2012, overwhelmed by hundreds of grant applications, the J.R. Albert Foundation instead began making multi-year commitments to existing grantees in five states: Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The Foundation now accepts new applications by invitation only.

Since its inception in 2007, the Foundation has granted over $14 million to our non-profit partners. The trustees thus continue to honor J.R. Albert’s intentions by promoting healthy living through food, nutrition, and agriculture initiatives.