Opportunities Supported by the Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation

The GEGF provides a variety of service-learning opportunities for qualified undergraduate students at Lake Forest College as well as Bridge Programs for select graduating Groner Recipients. All service-learning opportunities take place at nonprofit organizations which focus on promoting human, social, cultural and environmental sustainability within communities.


CROYA provides local teens a safe place to gather with friends both after school and on weekend evenings. While at CROYA, youth are surrounded by a supportive staff that encourages each student to be their best.

CROYA Intern
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GirlForward provides adolescent refugee girls with individual mentorship, educational programs and leadership opportunities, creating a community of support that serves as a resource and empowers girls to be strong, confident, and independent.

GirlForward Mentor
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The Gorton Community Center provides community members with a variety of events, classes, and activities. Components of the Gorton include the the Children's Drop-in Center, the John and Nancy Hughes Theater and local nonprofit offices. Through a shared location at the Gorton, these community assests provide programs and opportunities that continually enrich the lives of those in Lake Forest and surrounding area.

Gorton Community Center, Administrative Internship
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Gorton Community Center, Children's Drop-in Center
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Gorton Community Center, Performing Arts Student Theater Academy
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Lake Forest Place, where Grace Groner spent the last years of her life, is a residence for senior citizens in Lake Forest that offers independent, assisted and nursing home living.

Students who volunteer at Lake Forest Place for their service form strong relationships with residents. The GEGF is also coordinating opportunities for groups of Groner Recipients to help with events and entertainment at Lake Forest Place.

Lake Forest Place
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Misericordia is a non-profit organization in the heart of Chicago that provides education, job opportunities, housing, care, therapy, and a community to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1921 by the Sisters of Mercy under the Catholic Church, Misericordia now depends solely on private donations and dedicated volunteers to serve more than 600 children and adults. The mission of Misericordia is to "provide the full continuum of care designed to meet each person's changing needs and maximize his or her independence, self-determination, interpersonal relationships, and engagement in the community."

Behavioral Health Program at Misericordia: Heart of Mercy
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In 1966, the Montessori School of Lake Forest was founded as a not-for-profit organization by a group of parents dedicated to the educational theories of Dr. Maria Montessori.

The Montessori School of Lake Forest serves more than 200 students from 25 communities. The school continues to thrive and offers excellence in Montessori education.

Montessori School of Lake Forest
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RFUMS allows Lake Forest College students to conduct medical research with RFUMS graduate students under the supervision of RFUMS professors. Select students have the opportunity to design, implement, and test their own experiments with many students returning to continue their research for several consecutive years.

Since Grace accrued her wealth by working at and investing in a pharmacuetical company, Grace additionally desired that her Foundation provide support for students pursuing a pharmacology degree.

Rosalind Franklin University
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Youth Conservation Corps YouthBuild is a comprehensive youth and community development program designed for 16- through 24-year-old low-income youth who have dropped out of school. The program helps young people overcome barriers to success by re-enrolling them in an alternative education program to obtain their GED while teaching construction and carpentry skills. To gain real work experience and give back to their communities, members build affordable housing for low-income families.

YCC Youth Tutor
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Colonial Williamsburg recreates what was at one point the largest British outpost in the Americas. Set on over 300 scenic acres in Virginia, Colonial Williamsburg has been restored to its 18th-century state, complete with trained and costumed interpreters who convey to the public the struggles of the diverse groups that once peopled the colony. The Foundation's mission is to educate and inspire so "that the future may learn from the past."

Groner Recipients have served at Colonial Williamsburg departments in education, strategic communications, rare breeds and archaeology and historic architecture.

Colonial Williamsburg, Architectural Research
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Colonial Williamsburg, Education
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Colonial Williamsburg, Public Relations
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Colonial Williamsburg, Rare Breeds Program
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The mission of James Madison's Montpelier is to "inspire continuing public engagement...by bringing to life the home and contributions of James and Dolley Madison." Montpelier provides teachers, students, and visitors a look into the life and values of the fourth president of the United States, continuing his vision of promoting the constitution in addition to liberty and equality for all.

Groner Recipients have completed programs at Montpelier in the Archaeology Department and at the Center for the Constitution.

Archaeology Field Schools
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Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, Martha Jefferson Hospital was founded in 1903 and named after Thomas Jefferson's daughter. Today, the hospital continues to set the standard for clinical quality and personalized healthcare services with staff committed to a distinctive combination of cutting-edge technology and the care of human touch.

Groner Recipients interested in pursuing pharmacology and occupational therapy have previously interned at Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Martha Jefferson Hospital
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The Virginia Institute of Autism is dedicated to helping people overcome the challenges of autism through innovative, evidence-based programs in education, outreach and adult services.The founders educated themselves on best outcomes for children with autism, interviewed the leading experts in the field, and subsequently created the VIA School based upon the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

VIA Opportunities
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The Azafady Conservation Programme is a long-term community-based conservation initiative designed to integrate conservation research on critically endangered flora and fauna. This environmental education assists in building the community's understanding of the complex habitats of lemurs.

Volunteers learn a holistic approach to conservation while conducting behavioral studies of lemurs and geckos. In addition to this scientific field work, volunteers may assist in teaching an English class and two conservation classes per week for the students in the local village.

Volunteer Research Position
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At the end of a spring semester on campus, students travel to the U.S.-Mexico border for the final three weeks of the Border Studies program, where they spend time in both Arizona and Mexico observing and considering issues of immigration, trade, and labor rights.

In the spirit of service, the students will make lunches at Casa Maria, fill water tanks for Humane Borders organization, and serve dinner at migrant shelters.

Border Studies Student
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The Field School of Tangible Heritage, based in Falmouth, Jamaica, provides an opportunity for students interested in the built environment and cultural preservation to gain insight into how historic architecture, archaeology, and oral history are woven into the fabric of sustainable development.

By the end of the four-week school, students will learn a variety of skills ranging from conservation of historic masonry, recording buildings through architectural measured drawings, learning how to interpret the historic fabric of a building, artifact identification, archaeological practice, and cultural sustainability. The Field School also provides leadership opportunities for select Groner Recipients to return to the School as a teaching assistant and/or coordinator.

Field School of Tangible Heritage 
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Founded in 1986, the Monteverde Institute is dedicated to teaching environmental stewardship and sustainability through a holistic approach. The Institute's lush campus rests among 65,000 acres of endangered rainforest known as the Monteverde Reserve Complex in Costa Rica. Through study, research, and outreach the Institute emphasizes the interdisciplinary quality of environmental awareness, focusing on everything from ecotourism to Spanish language to social justice.

Monteverde Institute, Costa Rica
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Through fieldwork, advocacy, education and training, World Monuments Fund is dedicated to saving the world's architectural masterpieces and important cultural heritage sites from damage and destruction. WMF provides training for craftspeople and emerging professionals in lost arts and modern methods to ensure that heritage preservation remains a vibrant field and develops the necessary infrastructure to cultivate sustainable communities that will help ensure the protection of local heritage for the generations to come.

World Monuments Fund
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GEGF Bridge Program

A Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation Bridge Program may be offered by invitation only to a few select graduating GEGF Recipients who have demonstrated their dedication to service and received outstanding performance reviews from all previous site supervisors.

The Bridge Program provides GEGF Recipients with continuity from serious academic focus to a concentration of work experience. Throughout the program, which typcially lasts from nine to 12 months, participants become part of a professional team and receive the same responsibilities as other staff members. Through these working opportunities, students will gain the necessary hands-on experiences needed to pursue a graduate degree or start a career in their chosen field.

Bridge Program Recipients reflect on their opportunities and their future plans below:

"The work that I have done through the Foundation has allowed me to acquire an advanced set of skills that I was not able to get just from classwork," James Dunnigan '12. James recently received a Masters in Anthropology from Western Michigan University.

"Because the GEGF has believed in me and my passion for helping a more vulnerable section of the population, I have been able to find a way to help others and achieve my dreams, " Allyson Bain '12. Ally graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 2016.

"I wouldn't be in Monterey, CA, furthering my education with an MBA and Environmental Policy degree at MIIS if not for the service-learning opportunities at the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica." Ashley Gora '14. Ashley is finishing her MA and MBA at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Events and Workshops

Sunday@One Workshops 

The GEGF hosts workshops to help recipients enhance their personal and professional development. Past topics include resume improvement, time management skills, grammar and writing, personal branding and social media development. The theme for the 2016-2017 Sundays@One is wellness with the first semester focused on academic and professional wellness and the spring semester aimed at personal wellness, including cultural awareness, safe practices and stress management.

Conservation Seminar 

The GEGF believes that students in every area of study should have one thing in common: they should consider how their future work can contribute to sustainable practices on the local and/or global scale.

In accordance with this belief, the Groner Foundation hosts a series of sustainability meetings for students each semester. Originally based on the book Harmony by HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, these student-run meetings are inspired by the need for an all-hands-on-deck approach to the issues facing our world today.

Regardless of a student's background, everyone is able to become involved in these discussions through sharing questions as well the experiences and knowledge they have gained both from their personal and academic backgrounds.