Background

Jodi Norton and Adina Gravit founded the Lupus Inspiration Foundation for Excellence in 2001 in an effort to promote awareness of lupus and to provide financial and educational support to college students with this disease. This organization awards The L.I.F.E. Scholarship to individuals who demonstrate their ability to overcome the limitations of lupus -- showing incredible courage, strength, and perseverance.

Since its inception in 2001, L.I.F.E has awarded over 90 scholarships to deserving individuals. We are currently working to increase our promotion efforts and hope to augment the current scholarship amount as awareness of the L.I.F.E foundation increases.

L.I.F.E. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, public charity. Our tax ID number is 86-1035692. The Lupus Foundation of America recommends L.I.F.E as a resource for students with lupus.


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Meet the Team


Jodi Norton, President and Co-Founder

Jodi Norton, co-founder of L.I.F.E., has battled lupus since her early teens.  Since her diagnosis, she has overcome numerous challenges and fought for many successes.  Jodi graduated from Columbia College in New York City with a degree in neuroscience, maintaining a 3.7 GPA while diving on the NCAA Division I diving team. Despite being told by doctors to abandon her academic and athletic ambitions, she went on to place 10th in the prestigious Eastern Collegiate Athletic Diving Championship (ECAC). Since graduating college, Jodi strives to help others understand lupus while giving back to the community. She talks to medical students about her condition and makes hospital visits to children who have undergone chemotherapy. She has also lectured to medical students, volunteered for the Child Life Program, and served as a spokesperson for the NYC chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America.  In the 1995 book by Richard E. Lapchick, 100 Heroes: People in Sports Who Make This a Better World, Jodi received recognition for being one of the top 100 most inspirational sports figures in America. In addition, Jodi has continued to pursue academic ambitions. She has conducted research at the University of Arizona, both in ecological health and for Dr. Andrew Weil ‘s Integrative Medicine Program. Currently, she is working towards an advanced degree in clinical research.  

 


Jenna Larsen, Vice President

Jenna became involved with the L.I.F.E foundation after meeting Jodi at the University of Arizona in 2009 while pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences.  Since graduating, she went on to obtain a Master of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences at Columbia University’s Institute of Medicine in New York City.  During this time, she completed her thesis work in the field of public health, working on NYC food access and health education initiatives.  She remained in the field of public health after graduating in 2011, working as a consultant to implement physical activity and nutrition initiatives in  child care centers in high-need areas in New York City.  Jenna is honored to be a part of L.I.F.E and to help students with lupus achieve their dream of obtaining higher education.

 

 

Bianca Augusto, V.P. of Public Relations

Bianca began volunteering with L.I.F.E. after being selected as a 2009 L.I.F.E. Scholarship Recipient. In 2010 she was selected to be the first recipient to be a part of the Scholarship Selection Committee. According to Bianca, “Winning this scholarship has changed my life. I have been given the opportunity to touch the lives of others living with lupus like me. Corresponding with the winners has given me the strength to realize that I am not alone, and I hope I have been able to provide the same strength in return.” Bianca graduated summa cum laude in May 2012 from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Because of her academic merit, volunteer ambitions and hard work, she was recognized as L.I.F.E's 10th Anniversary featured winner in 2011.

 

Ewo Harrell, L.I.F.E Ambassador

Ewo Harrell began volunteering with the L.I.F.E foundation this year after being selected as one of the sponsored scholarship recipients. According to Ewo, "I feel honored to have been selected by a foundation whose mission aligns with my personal and professional goal of effecting change and encouraging others living with chronic illness." Ewo was diagnosed with lupus in 2008. After graduating from Union College (NY) in 2010, Ewo has since endured kidney failure, dialysis, and a recent kidney transplant. She hopes that in sharing her story she can motivate and inspire others. In fall 2015 she will begin at Brown University's School of Public Health. She plans to pursue a career in international public health and policy. 

 

 

 

John Grogan, IT Specialist

John Grogran’s contribution to L.I.F.E has been invaluable. Since 2005, John has consistently offered his skills and expertise in IT as the founder and web developer of lifescholarship.org. John holds a BA & MS in Computer Science as well as an MBA from Columbia University. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, and serves as IT director at Axiom Law.  

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Press

Our foundation and its founders have been profiled in quite a few articles. To view some of these articles, available as Adobe PDFs, click their associated icon below.

 

 Mesa Resident Works Through Lupus to Help Others, March 2014

 Students' Strength Leads to Scholarship. Central Florida Future, September 2013

Desert Level   

Jodi Norton: Adversity Doesn't Keep Diver from Soaring - Columbia University Record, October 1997

Desert Level   

Visualizing The Dive (938Kb)
The Desert Leaf - Volume 18, Number 10, November 2004

Lupus News Fall 1998   

Exceptional People: Jodi Norton (574 Kb)
Lupus News - Fall 1998

Lupus News Winter 2002   

Lupus Inspiration Foundation for Excellence (L.I.F.E) (182 Kb)
Lupus News - Winter 2002

Lupus News Winter 2002   

Summer L.I.F.E. Scholarships Awarded (1164 Kb)
Lupus Now - Fall 2003

Popular Immunology   

Patient Interview: Jodi Norton (255 Kb)
Popular Immunology - Fall 2003

 

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