Nonprofit Newswire | Donor’s Frugal Lifestyle Enriches Illinois College

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March 5, 2010; Chicago Tribune  | Judging from her modest—some say frugal—lifestyle, little did anyone expect that when she died last January, Alice Groner’s bequest to Lake Forest College would be worth $7 million. More remarkable is the fact that the gift from Groner, who graduated from the Illinois college in 1931, had grown to seven figures from a mere $180 purchase of three shares of Abbot Laboratories stock in 1935. Groner never touched the stock and religiously reinvested the dividends. To keep her personal expenses to a minimum, she bought her clothes at rummage sales, walked everywhere rather than buy a car, and lived in a sparsely furnished one-bedroom house. Her frugality combined with her generosity will endow a foundation that will award more $300,000 in annual scholarships so that students, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it, can study abroad or pursue internships. Groner, who had worked as a secretary for Abbott Laboratories for four decades, years earlier gave the school $180,000 for a scholarship program. Ironically, during her life, Groner stood out from most everyone else in Lake Forest, which is considered one of America’s richest towns. In death, she stands out even more.—Bruce Trachtenberg