Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation
The Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation’s mission is to preserve Grace Groner’s legacy by encouraging Lake Forest College students to prepare for their careers and to serve their communities.
What is the Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation?
The Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation (GEGF) was created by Miss Grace Groner, a 1931 graduate of Lake Forest College, who died in January 2010 at the age of 100. The Foundation represents Grace’s belief in young people, her desire to enrich their education and future, and her interest in the students of Lake Forest College. As per Grace’s wishes, the Foundation offers unique service-learning opportunities to qualified Lake Forest College students that are unavailable and unmatched at other colleges.
The GEGF’s unique mission and small size allows it to consider each student as an individual. Besides connecting students with local, national and international service-learning opportunities, the Foundation provides support and training to help students meet their education and career goals. Rather than a scholarship fund that merely provides monetary resources, the GEGF additionally develops a long-term relationship with each student that lasts throughout their undergraduate and post-graduate years.
Who was Grace Elizabeth Groner?
In 2010, the headline “Grace Groner, Secret Millionaire,” spread across the country. Although many were acquainted with Grace from her work and church, few knew of the gift that she would leave in the form of the Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation. Grace may have become an overnight sensation, but even today, there are not many who know her true story and why she chose to endow the Foundation to support service-oriented students at Lake Forest College.
From beginning to end, Grace lived a humble life. In 1909, she and her twin sister, Gladys, were born on a farm in rural Lake County, Illinois. After the untimely death of their parents left them orphaned at age 12, Grace and Gladys Groner lived with the Anderson Family, residents of Lake Forest and friends of Grace’s parents. The Andersons loved Grace and Gladys and sent the girls to attend boarding school and Lake Forest College.
After Grace graduated from Lake Forest College in 1931, she began working as a secretary at Abbott Laboratories, where she remained for more than four decades. It was during her early years at Abbott that Grace purchased three shares of Abbott stock. This purchase would later fund the Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation.
Grace always remembered the gift of education generously given to her by the Anderson Family. She often made anonymous donations and volunteered as a secretary at Barat College and the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest. Today, Grace Groner’s legacy of giving lives on through the service of Lake Forest College Groner Recipients.