Headlines read: Secret Millionaire Donates Her Fortune, and I’m not sure what comes to mind. If anything, tell me about a secret millionaire and I won’t be thinking of a sweet old lady. Enter Grace Groner.
In a world where excessive amounts of money and lavish lifestyles are synonymously coveted, Grace Groner obviously thought and lived otherwise. No one who ever walked by her small, one-bedroom home could have possibly imagined that the sweet occupant inside was a multi-millionaire. According to the Chicago Tribune, Grace Groner, now known as Amazing Grace, passed away in January at the amazing age of 100. Within her century lifetime, however, Groner apparently learned the value of simplicity and altruism. Upon her passing, her attorney notified her alma mater, Lake Forest College, that she had set aside her lifetime’s savings – $7 million – to be donated to the school.
The story is even more astonishing considering that Grace Groner and her secret millions all stemmed from a $180 stock investment that she made in 1935. Groner, who was employed by Abbot Laboratories as a secretary at the time, decided that she would purchase three company stocks worth $60 apiece. Years of frugality later, Grace Groner was a secret millionaire. The millions that Grace Groner donated to Lake Forrest College will be used through a foundation to help students study abroad, just as she wished.
The Grace Groner story is truly a source of encouragement during these difficult economic times, but more than that, her story provides us with lessons to take from. Groner grew up during the time of the Great Depression, and she decided that being content with the necessities was enough to make it through. This isn’t a lesson on how to become a secret millionaire, not even one that is necessarily about making smart financial investments. Grace Groner and her story, however, is a testament to the fact that living simply and with the interest of others in mind is of far greater value than anything money can buy. I’d imagine that someone with as big of a heart as Amazing Grace was happy with her life unlike so many affluent, yet empty people today. Grace Groner, the secret millionaire, may have never gained fame during her lifetime, but she has left a legacy that supersedes monetary value. Grace Groner will now be praised and remembered for her life and generous gift, both of which are lessons on simplicity and generosity.
Yahoo homepage; ABC news video