Ann and Paul Krouse both grew up in the United States, Ann in Miami Beach and Paul in Chicago. Set up on a blind date, they have been married for 44 years, raising four children and sharing a commitment to the same values, a business, and now retirement—with adequate time set aside for their charitable endeavors.
For 35 years, their company published educational directories, including Who's Who Among American High School Students, Who's Who Among America's Teachers, The National Dean's List, and Who's Who Among Black Americans. Through their business, they funded more than $3 million in college scholarships for qualified students in need of financial aid and provided substantial support for many of the nation's major youth organizations.
Though neither Ann nor Paul lost members of their immediate families in the Holocaust, they believe Holocaust victims are "a part of everyone's family." The couple first became involved with the Museum after hearing Liv Ullmann, who made her stage début in a Norwegian production of "The Diary of Anne Frank," speak at a fundraising event in Chicago for the building of the Museum. Deeply moved by Ullmann's commitment to the Museum, Ann and Paul offered to host a Chicago fundraising event in their home and subsequently became actively involved with the Museum. Ann joined a planning committee and eventually she and Paul chaired the Risa K. Lambert Annual Luncheon in Chicago, which now draws more than 3,000 people each year and provides critical funding for the Museum's programs.
To ensure that their family learns the history of the Holocaust, Ann and Paul brought their eldest grandchild, Justin Rosenthal, to the Museum when he turned 11. In 2006, they co-chaired a mission to the Museum for grandparents and their grandchildren and brought two more of their grandchildren. With five more grandchildren waiting to make the trip, Justin has assured his grandparents he will bring them someday himself if Ann and Paul "become too old."
Asked why they support the Museum, Ann replied, "We have to." She feels fortunate to live in the United States, a country that has erected a Museum to recognize and memorialize the Holocaust—which, she said, sends an important message to deniers. "The Museum is a very important part of our history as a Jewish people," Paul added, "and it is important for the entire world to be aware of what happened before and during the Holocaust." This is why Ann and Paul help fund the Museum's educational programs both in Washington, D.C., and around the country.
In addition to the annual support they provide, Ann and Paul decided to make a $1 million commitment through their estate plans by naming the Museum as a beneficiary of their retirement plan assets. With this extraordinary legacy gift, they became inaugural members of the Museum's Legacy of Light Founders Society and have ensured that their lifetime involvement with the Museum will continue in perpetuity.