Before the DHARMA Initiative
When Gerald was eight, Alvar Hanso stayed with his family while attending the University of Michigan (located in Ann Arbor, MI) as a foreign exchange student. Alvar bonded with the DeGroots, particularly Gerald, and stayed in contact with them over the years. Later, Gerald, and his future wife Karen, attended the University of Michigan as well, and were both doctoral candidates there. (Pearl Orientation video) When Gerald was a graduate student, he contacted Alvar Hanso, asking for funding for his new project, the DHARMA Initiative. (Mysteries of the Universe)
Founding the DHARMA Initiative
The DeGroots from the Pearl Orientation video.
In 1970, Gerald and Karen DeGroot founded the DHARMA Initiative. It was financially backed by Danish industrialist and munitions magnate Alvar Hanso and his Hanso Foundation. The stated purpose of the Initiative was to create "a large-scale communal research compound where scientists and free-thinkers from around the globe could pursue research in meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, and electromagnetism."
After the DHARMA Initiative
According to Thomas Mittlewerk, the DHARMA Initiative "failed". The whereabouts of this couple are unknown today, but many theories have surfaced.
- Mysteries of the Universe, a fictional 1982 television series that aired on the ABC network, dedicated its fourth program to Alvar Hanso and his connection to the DeGroots.
- Gerald is seen briefly in the Room 23 video, wearing goggles. ("Not in Portland")
- DeGroot, or De Groot, is a very common Dutch family name, meaning "the big" or "the great".
- There was a Dutch novelist, philosopher and jurist named Hugo de Groot (lat. Grotius 1583–1645). 
- There was a Dutch chess master and psychologist by the name of Adriaan de Groot. He conducted many psychological chess experiments. He broke the thought process of choosing a move into four stages, the first of which being the "orientation" phase. 
- There was a famous Dutch Sinologist by the name of Jan Jakob Maria de Groot (Pen name J.J.M. de Groot) He was essentially a historian of religion. 
- There is an accomplished British author by the name of Gerard DeGroot. He published a number of articles on the First World War. He also wrote The 60s Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade.
- There are numerous references to (fictional) persons named De Groot in the mock newspaper accompanying the original vinyl release of rock group Jethro Tull's 1972 album Thick as a Brick.  Furthermore, there is a song entitled "Dharma for One" on their debut album This Was.