Forty years ago, he was just "Ken" - one of the many children growing up in the John Hay housing projects on 11th Street. Too often, young boys and girls are dismissed by society because of the social environment in which they exist, but IQ has never been a derivative of environment. This bright young boy was filled with an entrepreneurial spirit at the age of 9.
"I began with a lemonade stand and a paper route," Kenneth Grimble recalled smiling slightly. From there came the beginnings of his business acumen.
"When I attended Washington Middle School I saw that the kids ate a lot of candy during lunchtime at school, so I bought it ahead of time from the local candy store and resold it at recess. I did pretty well."
He left Springfield 14 years ago in 1994 and moved to Columbus, Ohio, to attend World Harvest Bible College. He earned a bachelor's degree in marketing from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, a master's in divinity and a doctorate in ministry from the Institute of Christian Works and Theological Seminary in Washington state.
"I'm a business consultant, serving as a business formation specialist, a 501(c)3 specialist and an administrative consultant. I help current businesses as well as new businesses stay in compliance with local and state regulations and especially with the IRS."
One of the projects that he has established is called One Accord Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that teaches children how to manage money correctly. It also provides credit repair services to adults. Another program is Inquiring Minds, which helps young adults aged 15-25 prepare for college and the job market.
"Many programs prepare youth for adulthood," he explained, "but my program teaches them how to set goals without giving up."
Grimble is not only concerned about building up the youth and young adults of Springfield's black community; he is making strides to physically upgrade the neighborhoods around South Grand Avenue, Martin Luther King Drive and Brown Street. The Inquiring Minds program will assist in this effort by training young men and women in the skills of rehabbing homes. Creating economic growth that benefits the people who live in these currently depressed areas is a key concept of Grimble's regenerative plan.
"We have to establish black-owned businesses and bring some of them to the east side," he said with a stern tone.
He married Dallice Lucia Grimble, whom he met in Gross, Fla.
Dallice Grimble also earned her doctorate in 2002 in biblical ministerial counseling at Truth Bible College of Jacksonville, Fla.
Dallice Grimble hopes to reach women and children through education and ministry. For the past five years, Dallice Grimble has been the guest speaker for Camden County's annual Domestic Violence Ceremony in Georgia. She also has visited nursing homes and women's shelters. She is often sought out by other teachers to assist students who suffer with personal difficulties.
Her outreach initiatives include opening a place of relaxation for exhausted working women, including those who need spiritual refreshing but who may not belong to an organized church. She is a published writer and editor and wants to organize a new book club for women and children. She also sings.
Aside from all of the businesses Kenneth Grimble has and continues to develop, he says that the foundational purpose for his return to Springfield is a God-given assignment: to establish headquarters for a patristic mentorship for independent pastors who are in need of a spiritual covering. The name of the institution is Keys 2 the Kingdom International Covenant Communion and will be a part of his administration. Showers of Blessings Cathedral of Praise is a newly established nondenominational assembly of believers who are looking for a facility to be donated for Kingdom purposes. He holds the designation of archbishop and serves the body of Christ as an apostle. In this capacity, part of his responsibility is to plant churches. A church planter is someone who has the apostolic qualifications and duty to make an assessment of a community, found a church and set a pastor in place to satisfy the unmet spiritual needs of that community. He has investigated the possibility and has the desire to start a seminary here in Springfield but said that unlike other states, Illinois' laws and regulations can generate a quagmire of red tape for those types of accreditation-based institutions.
Kenneth Grimble also is an avid reader of self-help books and Biblical materials. He is currently working on his first Christian book. He has two brothers who live in the city: Kelvin Grimble, who owns Par-Audio Recording Studios, and Anthony Thompson, a long-standing cameraman for WICS TV-20.
Kenneth and Dallice Grimble have three adult children; Amber of Memphis, Tenn.; Jinada of Jacksonville, Fla.; and Kris of Kingsland, Ga. They also have three grandchildren: Kalia, Jaelin and Ashton.
Story published Friday, November 7, 2008 ( Volume 3, Number 6 )