The Graves

About us

We provide financial, networking, and operational resources to our partners, so children in Hennepin County have access to the resources they need to thrive as students and sustain through adulthood.

Through an inventive, fluid, and collaborative approach, The Graves Foundation partners with emerging leaders in education and foster care to transform the lives of children in our community. Our goal is an equitable and sustainable future for all, created through a web of connected, passionate individuals who uplift our youth, their families, and the communities we serve as a whole. See who we’ve funded previously. See our financials


In the summer of 2014, John & Denise Graves sold Convey Compliance Systems, the company they had spent the last 28 years building. From a small business run primarily out of the family home, Convey had become the industry leader in tax information reporting with the help of a strong management team, visionary technologists, and a customer-centric corporate culture with strong employee buy-in. The positive impact achieved through The Graves Foundation would not be possible without the Convey team’s professional dedication and proven success throughout the company’s many years in business. 

DeSeandra Sheppheard

Director of Grants & Operations

DeSeandra has over a decade of experience in Human Resource Management, Leadership, and Organizational Development. A Minnesota native, DeSeandra grew up in St. Paul’s Frog Town community, graduated from Metropolitan State University with a  B.S. in HR Management, and has worked with various Twin Cities non-profits and corporations. She lives in St. Paul with her husband and son.

Kyrra Rankine

Partnerships and Initiatives Director

Kyrra has 20+ years of experience in the fields of education, social work, coaching, and organizing. After graduating from Minneapolis Public Schools, she went on to earn a B.A. in sociology and fiction at Northwestern University and an M.S.W. at Hunter College in New York City. Kyrra spent six years coaching, developing, and organizing educators and community members on issues related to educational equity and social change. Kyrra loves gardening, running, DIYing things, writing short stories, and hunting for good finds on eBay when she isn’t hanging out with her husband and two kids.

Bill Graves


Bill is the founding president of The John and Denise Graves Family Foundation. Prior to his work with the foundation, Bill worked in the technology and creative consulting sectors as a business analyst, writer, producer, and resource manager. He lives in Northeast Minneapolis with his wife, Mary, and two daughters.