SungEun Grace Lee
Award: HONORING WOMEN IN NEW YORK
SungEun Grace Lee was born on June 16, 1984, and right away she was a dream come true for her parents. Ms. Lee excelled at academics and in her freshman year at Seventy First High School, where she became the president of the class with the support of her classmates. Ms. Lee was then nominated and accepted to the School of Math & Science at Durham, and upon graduating high school she attended UNC-Chapel Hill as a business major and graduated in 2006. Upon graduating from college, she was hired at the Bank of America as a corporate financial manager.
A devoted student, Ms. Lee was also a woman of faith and had a deep concern for the children around the world. Ms. Lee was actively involved with mission work in South America and China, and made monthly contributions to her missionary friends in Africa and Ethiopia. She also served as a youth group teacher, worship leader and Sunday School teacher at her parents’church.
In 2011, Ms. Lee fell ill and was diagnosed with brain stem glioma. She fought valiantly, but lost her battle in February 2013. It was not until after her death that her family learned she was donating 90% of her income to multiple charity groups. In addition, as the youth group teacher at her church, she became a big sister to many young people and provided monetary assistance to youth with absentee parents. She bought them meals, held birthday parties and brought them to see musicals.
Following Ms. Lee’s untimely death, and with her life insurance benefits, her parents established the Grace Mission Foundation. Through this foundation, 10 needy students were each awarded $10,000 in scholarships on May 5, 2013. In addition, her parents founded the Elim Senior Day, Inc. on May 14, 2013, and have since been providing breakfast and lunch to more than 100 senior citizens every day.