Our History & Founder

The Grigg Lewis Foundation was established in 1968 through a gift by Henrietta Grigg Lewis. The Foundation has maintained an extremely low-profile while having an impact of extraordinary magnitude throughout Eastern Niagara County and beyond. This reserved approach to philanthropic efforts is due, in great part, to the modesty and whole-hearted charity of the Foundation’s founder and primary benefactor, Henrietta Grigg Lewis.

Our Founder

Henrietta Grigg Lewis

Henrietta G. Lewis

"It is time now to think more seriously of the soul. Look up and not down to what you were made for." - Henrietta G. Lewis

Mrs. Lewis firmly believed that gifts of charity should not be made in order to receive recognition. Her intentions were simply to help those in need. A long-time volunteer and philanthropist, Mrs. Lewis was deeply involved with many local non-profits during her lifetime and made countless anonymous donations throughout the region.

Many thought Mrs. Lewis to be a “true lady.” She was well known for her modesty and her generous spirit. She was very active in the community. She served on various boards and founded the Lockport Junior Service League. She served as a trustee of Wyndham Lawn Home for Children, created a scholarship program through the First Presbyterian Church, and was instrumental in restoring the interior of the Kenan House. Mrs. Lewis received a number of awards in her lifetime, including the Paul Harris Fellowship, given by the Lockport Rotary Club.

Since her passing on May 16, 2003, the Foundation has worked to complement Mrs. Lewis’ generous personal efforts, and to carry on her tremendous legacy through our far-reaching support of charitable entities of all shapes, sizes and functions. We are proud to have affected thousands of people’s lives throughout our region for more than 35 years. We will keep working to make our regional community a better place to live, work and play as we continue to follow the example set forth by Mrs. Lewis.

In Memoriam

William B. May
(1928 – 2016)

William B. May – “Ben”, first became acquainted with Henrietta Grigg-Lewis when he joined her husband’s law firm in 1958.  Shortly thereafter, Mr. May began handling Mrs. Lewis’ legal matters and the management of her gifting.  He worked on the development of the Grigg Lewis Foundation, and served as its Executive Director, Secretary, and Finance Committee Chairman.

As Executive Director of the Grigg Lewis Foundation, Mr. May stayed true to Mrs. Lewis’ wishes throughout the years, continuing to focus on the charities that were near and dear to her heart.  He considered the Foundation to be a living memorial to Mrs. Lewis and always took great pride in assisting in the administration.  He helped the Foundation to become a major factor in the Lockport and Eastern Niagara County charitable community, and it will continue to affect programming of charities for years to come.

Mr. May was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Lockport.  He served on the board of Wyndham Lawn Home for Children, Presbyterian Senior Care of WNY, Lockport Savings Bank, and the Niagara County Historical Society and was a Past President of the Rotary Club of Lockport, Eastern Niagara Chamber of Commerce, and the Kenan Center.

Mr. May was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather and a great friend to so many. We all knew him as Ben, the quiet, compassionate thinker who knew how to truly listen. He loved Lockport to his core. His wisdom, humor and friendship will be forever missed.

Mr. Sinclair was a founding director of the Grigg Lewis Foundation Inc. in 1968. Known to family and friends as Norm, he began his career in 1942 with the Lockport Savings Bank, then known as Mechanics Savings Bank, while still in High School. In 1974, he was elected President and Chief Executive and served in that role until 1989 when he was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Norm retired in 1994 after contributing 52 years.  He helped form the Niagara County Community College Foundation in 1987. There he volunteered for many different roles and served as Chairman for over 16-years.

He was very involved in the Lockport community. He served as Chairman of the Board Presbyterian Homes of WNY, Trustee with the Lockport Public Library, The YWCA, First Presbyterian Church, Kenan Center, Directorship with the Buffalo Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY and the Institutional Investors Mutual Funds MSB Fund, Cornell Cooperative – 4H., Lockport Town & Country Club Board, and the Lockport Rotary Club.

Mr. Sinclair will always be remembered for his philanthropy, volunteerism and his leadership. His contributions to the community and the Grigg Lewis Foundation are immeasurable. The wisdom he shared will be treasured by us all and his sense of humor is greatly missed.

Norman W. Sinclair
(1924 – 2011)

Raymond Clair


Raymond “Ray” Clair began as Mrs. Lewis’ personal accountant. After being elected to the Grigg Lewis Foundation’s Board of Directors, his intellect, financial aptitude and trusted guidance proved to be invaluable. His impeccable record keeping skills, understanding of accounting practices, and overall integrity made him a great asset to the Foundation. Mr. Clair was instrumental in resolving Mrs. Lewis’ estate matters. It was his opinion that the Grigg Lewis Trust should transition to a Private Foundation in order to carry out our founder’s legacy in perpetuity, and it is because of this opinion that we continue to serve the community today.