Meet The Bosschers

When Pat and Jim Bosscher made Naples their winter home in 2014, they planned to relax and enjoy the sandy beaches, pristine waters, serene nature preserves, and championship golf courses. But, it wasn’t until they discovered Grace Place through the Missions Fair at their church that they realized there was much more to this idyllic city by the sea.

“I immediately gravitated to Grace Place because of its mission,” Jim recalls. “What intrigued me most is how Grace Place works with the whole family.”

In their northern home outside of Detroit, Michigan, the Bosschers are active in a variety of charitable ventures. Jim co-founded a nonprofit organization that focuses on youth development, homelessness and healthcare. Pat has been a Stephen Minister in the Methodist church for over 20 years. Civic involvement has always been an important part of their lives, so they wasted no time getting involved in Naples. Jim started volunteering at Grace Place, serving on multiple committees and tutoring students in the Academy of Leaders program. Before long, Pat was volunteering in the food pantry.

Six years later, the couple’s combined roles have included tutor, mentor, food pantry volunteer, donor, committee member, committee co-chair, Board treasurer, and Board chair. And since March, Jim has served as Interim CEO. They have invested invaluable intellectual capital, financial assets and countless hours to Grace Place, its staff and its families. But if you asked Pat and Jim about their contributions, they would tell you, “We’ve received so much more than we’ve given.”

“The return on investment is so obvious. It not only feels good, but we also know the programs are working because we see the assessment results. Students’ situations are improving in front of our eyes,” reports Jim. “I have worked with adults who have received promotions because their language and literacy skills have improved. I have seen mothers become confident, capable teachers to their children. I have mentored students that have overcome more obstacles by the age of 17 than most people face in their entire lives,” Jim explains. “Growing up in my family, things came easier. You had to work to pay for college and that sort of thing, but we didn’t have obstacles like these families face.”

Like Jim, Pat feels that the comprehensive services Grace Place offers are the “secret sauce” of what makes it so unique. “There are not many programs that encompass the whole family, and I believe that’s what makes the difference. The food pantry as a service is also very important. It’s hard to focus on other things when your family is hungry.”

While Grace Place and its families have made an impact on Pat and Jim, their unquantifiable investments provide countless children and families with access to educational opportunities to help them fully realize their potential.

“Becoming part of Grace Place has not only enriched our lives and made it more fulfilling, but it has also made us happier individuals. I don’t think we’d be nearly as fulfilled or happy as people if we didn’t find Grace Place,” Jim remarks. That’s a powerful gift.

This story was featured in our 2020 Impact Report. Read more from the 2020 Impact Report.