As the holiday season approaches, our thoughts turn to gratitude and giving thanks. It’s a time when families come together to reflect on their blessings and honor the traditions that have been passed down through the generations. In this spirit, I want to share a heartwarming story of philanthropy that not only honors the memory of a dedicated farmer but also demonstrates the power of family values in shaping the future.
The Grossnickle Family Scholarship Fund, founded by Andrew Grossnickle, is a testament to the enduring values that Andrew’s father, Larry J. Grossnickle, instilled in his three children. Larry was a man deeply passionate about farming and education, two pillars that defined his life. A Middletown High School graduate, Larry attended Bridgewater College and completed his academic journey with a degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland.
But Larry’s passion extended beyond his own education; he was a firm believer in the importance of knowledge. He understood the pivotal role education played in personal growth and community development.
Honoring a Father’s Legacy
Andrew Grossnickle recalls his father’s dedication to both farming and education. “Dad loved farming and also felt that education was very important,” Andrew says. “He encouraged my sisters and me to be involved in lots of different activities to become well-rounded people, and he valued education immensely.”
Andrew’s father had an incredible work ethic, a characteristic shared by most farmers. He possessed a great sense of humor and was always eager to connect with people, not just in the course of conducting farm business but also in building meaningful relationships. Larry Grossnickle’s life was a testament to the values of hard work, education, and community.
It was these values, instilled in Andrew and his siblings, that led to the creation of The Grossnickle Family Scholarship Fund. Andrew wanted to honor his father’s passion for farming and his deep respect for education. The scholarship is designed to benefit students studying agriculture and/or those who were raised on a farm and are pursuing post-secondary education.
A Tradition of Giving Back
The Grossnickle family is committed to philanthropy and giving back to the community. This spirit of giving is not only something they hold dear but something Andrew says he and his wife openly discuss with their children.
We saw this commitment play out several years ago when Andrew brought his young son to a Community Foundation event. Andrew recalls, “One of the coolest moments so far for me as a parent was when I was explaining to my son what the scholarship was and how it worked, he was about six years old at the time. He asked if he could donate to the fund, and so that year he brought $10 of his own money to the scholarship reception to donate.”
Over the past ten years, The Grossnickle Family Scholarship Fund has received numerous scholarship applications, reflecting the growing need and interest in agriculture and related fields. Andrew says it has been an honor for him and his family to provide scholarships to deserving students who are passionate about the agricultural sector. Scholarship season is not just a time to honor Larry’s legacy and his passion for agriculture but also an opportunity for Andrew to reflect on his father’s life.
Andrew says that his father would be thrilled to know that the fund in his name is supporting the education of future farmers, veterinarians, and others in the agricultural field.
Thanksgiving and Philanthropy
Thanksgiving is a time when families come together to celebrate their blessings. The Grossnickle family’s story serves as a reminder that the values we hold and the acts of kindness we pass down through the generations can have a lasting impact. Andrew Grossnickle, inspired by his father’s love for farming and dedication to education, has not only created a scholarship but also instilled in his own children the importance of giving back to the community.
As we prepare to give thanks around the holidays, remember that philanthropy is not just about monetary donations; it’s about sharing the spirit of Thanksgiving by giving back to the community, honoring the past, and building a brighter future for all.
*Published in The Frederick News-Post on 11/6/2023.