Grace's Story

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 that 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 Lake Forest College Groner Recipients.