Born Bonnie Benjamin, Bonnie Graham grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, in the 1940s and 50s. She studied U.S. history at the University of California at Berkeley then went on to receive her master of arts in teaching at Yale University in 1965. After graduating, she returned to Chicago, Illinois, where she taught history at Niles East High School.
While raising her family in Deerfield, Illinois, Bonnie’s passion for helping others led her to several volunteer and paid positions at Great Lakes Naval Air Station, A Safe Place (a shelter for victims of domestic violence), and Evanston Township High School’s Department of Special Education, among others. Bonnie also worked for years as a tutor in multiple subjects, providing individualized learning assistance for countless junior high and high school students, including many with learning challenges and other special needs.
In 1997, Bonnie was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her initial treatment, she remained cancer free for a number of years, enjoying almost a decade of wonderful experiences with her family and friends. She saw all her children graduate college and some receive advanced degrees. She met two of her grandchildren. She helped countless people along their own journeys.
She created Bonnie’s Book Foundation in 1998 and discovered additional joy in helping even more children and schools throughout the Chicagoland area. While running BBF, she hosted book drives, purchased and personally delivered books to schools, and provided grants to a number of schools in need.
Bonnie passed away in 2006 at age 64. Today, her family is proud to continue her legacy through Bonnie’s Book Foundation.