The popular Dr. Seuss tale takes on new meaning as the Grinch Family Foundation establishes an endowed scholarship at Life Pacific.
“He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”
The late Jerry Keselburg loved the Dr. Seuss classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
Known by all who loved him as “the Grinch,” Jerry was never a “mean one” like his namesake. His physical appearance reminded people of the fabled recluse although everyone agrees Jerry always had a big heart.
Jerry spent his life sharing with others, especially young people who needed a bit of a nudge to get them started on the right path.
Now, through a generous initial donation of $25,000 from Jerry’s family, an endowed scholarship at Life Pacific College will continue to bless the lives of students for years to come. Best of all, as additional funds are added, the scholarship will “grow, and grow, and grow some more” much like the Grinch’s heart did in the Seuss tale.
“My dad helped and encouraged many people in advancing their careers and getting their lives on track,” says Jerry’s daughter Christi Schuricht Kulonis, LPC alumna (’92). “We agreed that this would fit with our purpose and thought it would be a great opportunity to sponsor students who want to participate in hearts being changed with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
When Jerry passed away last spring, Pam Pearson Keselburg, Christi’s mother, decided to demonstrate to the world just how big Jerry’s heart had been by establishing the Grinch Family Foundation to benefit low income young people who need a little help to get through college.
Pam and her cousin Joy had been doing bake sales for five years raising money to help feed low-income children and families. Their local WalMart in Olympia, Washington got into the act by donating to the cause and encouraging Pam to apply for a grant from the WalMart Foundation.
Soon, the Grinch Family Foundation was feeding more than 7,000 people and providing a warm place to spend Christmas night for families who might otherwise have been on the street.
“Jerry always wanted to give back, to help those who really need the help,” Pam says of her late husband. Orphans are particularly important to Pam because she and her sister Kay Pearson Rozmyn were orphaned wards of the court when they were children. They understand firsthand the plight of kids without families.
Kay and Pam attended Life Pacific College in the 1960s at the urging of the family who cared for them as teenagers, members of the Olympia, Washington Foursquare Church, who taught them how to give to others. They remember what it was like to need help to purchase textbooks and to pay their tuition.
“Now, I’m trying to give back,” Pam says. “What greater reward could there be than watching someone’s ministry come to fruition because we offered a little help along the way.”
Pam was recently honored by a local elementary school in Olympia for donations of blankets, sleeping bags, and food to keep school kids fed and warm. Local schools call when they identify a need among the children and Pam and her team respond to meet the need.
Most of all, Pam’s family hopes to convey the importance of changed hearts and established futures. “I can still hear Jerry saying, ‘Get your degree!’” Pam says.
Several members of Pam’s family – The “Grinch” Family – benefited from an education at Life Pacific College, and now they are giving back. “That’s the legacy we want to continue,” Christi says. “Just as in the story of the Grinch, a changed heart is the message we want to promote in helping people.”