From Our Annual Report: Bev Drake, Ruth Lumpkins and Betty Burton Groce

Whether for economic, educational or healthcare justice, these three friends have strong feelings about removing barriers, providing access and creating opportunities for people in our community. Coming from diverse career backgrounds—job training, education and business—Bev Drake, Ruth Lumpkins and Betty Burton Groce know that there’s much work to be done before all people in the community have the same opportunities. “Economic and social justice will never be accomplished in my lifetime. But still, I believe in and work toward it,” Bev said.

“My giving reflects the biblical principle that God commands us to give to others. We are required to be good stewards of the resources we are given and to help others. As an educator, opening doors to education for those who have less will always be where I put my support. Challenge Scholars fits well with my views on helping children, because the program starts with them when they’re young and stays with them. It opens opportunities for students who think they might not be able to afford college,” Ruth said.

Betty agreed, “There are many people with great potential that don’t have the resources to reach it. We have to remove the barriers that prevent access and opportunity. I’m impressed by the wide range of giving that happens through Grand Rapids Community Foundation—and not just for education. I appreciate that the Community Foundation is aware that not everyone is college bound and supports the importance of the trades in the Challenge Scholars program.”

“My life’s work reflects helping those who were not ordinarily able to access opportunities, be that education, training or jobs. I like to think that I was able to open doors for people and to help others because I had been helped. I’ve come to know the Community Foundation over the years. I know that they believe in social and economic justice and access for all, and, because of that, I support them,” Bev said.