George and Betty Kruck
December 12, 2023
|By La Crosse Community Foundation
From humble beginnings to hopeful futures
Signs of George and Betty Kruck’s generosity and deep belief in the life-changing power of education run throughout the Greater La Crosse community. Both of them attribute the opportunities they’ve had in life to public education.
Betty, the daughter of Fred and Lillian Mitchell, grew up on a small southeastern Missouri farm. Her parents struggled without electricity before rural electrification reached the area. George grew up without his parents, spending seven years at the Taylor Home Orphanage Asylum.
“I observed early on that successful people were educated people, people who read widely, and people who were open to new ideas and learning,” said George. So when the GI Bill offered him the opportunity to go to college, he took it. Betty, too, was able to attend college because of support from her parents and the priority they placed on education.
Everyone deserves opportunity
The Krucks feel everyone deserves the opportunity to receive a public education and a hand up — so much so that they created the Mitchell-Kruck Scholarship at the La Crosse Community Foundation. The scholarship is directed toward public high school students in Vernon or La Crosse County who are highly motivated to persevere, succeed, and work hard in their academic careers.
“We recognize that education opens doors to opportunity,” said Betty, and it’s something she and George want to do for others.
Apart from the scholarship, the Krucks also support local causes such as the La Crosse Tribune Extra Effort scholarship and scholarships for students from De Soto High School. Their contributions extend beyond education, too, reaching causes that support people, the environment, and animals.
“We feel the idea that all people can just ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ is a myth,” added Betty. “If we look deep enough into our own life experiences and abilities, we realize the privileges and help we have had.”
More than financial aid
For the Krucks, who were honored as the 2023 Philanthropists of the Year by the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, contributing to the community is about more than just financial aid; it’s about building a stronger, healthier community.
A community is as good as the people living in it, said George. “The more people who make up a community are healthy, secure, and thriving, the better and more vibrant the community. We personally benefit not only in having the satisfaction of helping others but also from living in a strong and healthy community.”