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Service-Learning Opportunities

All programs completed through the Grace Elizabeth Groner Foundation are considered service-learning opportunities. These opportunities are with GEGF-approved, nonprofit organizations and are divided into two categories: unfunded service and funded service.

Unfunded Service

Unfunded service-learning opportunities are typically completed with a nonprofit organization in the Lake County community. The Foundation has connections with organizations throughout the local area to help match students with opportunities.  Students spend three to six hours a week volunteering at their site under a designated site supervisor.

Prior to beginning an opportunity, the student and Director will discuss the student’s interests and career goals and identify potential placements. The GEGF also believes that “soft skills” learned through committed service can be transferred into any professional position. After a potential placement is identified, the student and Director/Coordinator will meet with the site supervisor. If both the supervisor and the student agree the opportunity will be beneficial to both parties, the student will begin their service.

Funded Service

Funded service refers to any service-learning opportunity during which a student receives funding in any form, including work stipends, food stipends, airfare, housing, program fee, etc.

Many GEGF funded programs are offered by recommendation and/or invitation; however, students are always welcome into the office to discuss potential opportunities.

All Groner Recipients are expected to complete two semesters of approved, unfunded community service through the GEGF before beginning a funded program; however, the arrangement of opportunities is made at the discretion of the Director and Trustees.

Funding Limitations: The GEGF does not fund Lake Forest College tuition, for-credit programs or for-profit opportunities.

Gap/Bridge Programs

The GEGF Gap/Bridge Program may be offered to a very few GEGF Recipients who have successfully completed all service learning programs during their time at Lake Forest College. Furthermore, to be considered for a Gap/Bridge Program, the GEGF Recipient must have received an outstanding performance review from all previous supervisors of their service learning opportunities.


Gap Programs may be offered to GEGF Recipients between semesters. Bridge Programs may be offered to  GEGF Recipients during their senior year, at which time the application process is completed. The Bridge Program begins after graduation.

The goal of the Bridge Program is to provide a bridge between college graduation and the next step: graduate school or a career. During the Bridge Program, which usually extends for nine to twelve months, participants become part of a professional team and receive the same responsibilities as other staff members. It is expected that through these working-life experiences, students will gain the necessary hands-on experiences needed to pursue a graduate degree or start a career in their chosen fields.

Students who have finished a Bridge Program reflect on the opportunity 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. James attends 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. Ally attends Northwestern University Law School.

"Through the GEGF, I was able to do a bridge program at Rosalind Franklin University (RFU) after graduation. After my scheduled bridge program ended, I was hired by the medical school at RFU. I'm grateful to the GEGF for all the opportunities that led up to my bridge program, and I'm glad that I get to keep doing the type of work I love!" — Candice Kosanke. Candice works at Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University.

Personal & Professional Development Workshops

To further the Foundation’s goal of supporting GEGF Recipients’ personal, academic and professional development, the GEGF hosts several workshops each semester. These workshops often take place as Sundays@One, an event series targeted at a range of relevant issues facing college students.

Sustainability Discussions

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 GEGF Recipients each semester. These student-run meetings are inspired by the need for an all-hands-on-deck, interdisciplinary approach to sustainability issues.

Regardless of a student’s majors or interests, 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.

Selected Service-Learning Partners


Bernie's Book Bank

City of Lake Forest (Administrative)

Elawa Farm Foundation

Feed My Starving Children


Gorton Community Center (Administrative)

Gorton Community Center (Children's Drop-in Center)


Montessori School of Lake Forest

Presbyterian Homes' Lake Forest Place

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (Administrative)

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (College of Pharmacy)

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (Research Labs)

Youth Conservation Corps


Colonial Williamsburg (Architecture Program)

Colonial Williamsburg (Communication Department)

Colonial Williamsburg (Rare Breeds Program)

James Madison's Montpelier (Archaeology Field School)

Martha Jefferson Hospital

Virginia Institute of Autism


Falmouth Field School of Tangible Heritage — Falmouth, Jamaica

Monteverde Institute — Monteverde, Costa Rica

The Prince's Foundation — United Kingdom, various locations

INTBAU — London, England

World Monuments Fund

Eligibility Requirements*

  1. Must be a second-semester freshman or above.

  2.  Must have a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA for standard programs and a 3.5 cumulative GPA for Gap/Bridge Programs.

  3. Must be in good judicial standing and have no history of disciplinary action.

  4. Must be 18 years or older.


*Special circumstances related to students’ eligibility can be evaluated at the discretion of the GEGF Trustees.

Continued Eligibility

If for any reason a student fails to begin or successfully complete a service-learning opportunity, the student will be ineligible for further participation in GEGF sponsored programs.


To be eligible to apply for additional opportunities, Groner Recipients must follow GEGF guidelines, including those related to reflections and attendance, and receive exemplary recommendations from all previous site supervisors.


If for any reason a GEGF-sponsored opportunity fails to occur, an alternative opportunity may be considered at the discretion of the GEGF Director. 

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