Grace moved to Urbana-Champaign in 1978 from Baltimore, Maryland, where she was raised in the McCollum Homes housing projects with her grandmother. Grace was employed for the Urbana School District for 34 years, where she worked as a school social worker at Urbana High School, Department chairperson for the special education department at the high school and director of alternative education at the high school. She also served as union president for 2 years and was on the Illinois Education Association Board of Directors. After being retired for 2 years, Grace began working as the Director of the Family Advocacy Center in Champaign County. She has been with FACC for 7 years and continues to help many families and youth in Champaign County.