Grace Groner lived as a secret millionaire in a modest, sparsely-furnished one-bedroom house. When she died at the age of 100, she shocked the world by leaving her alma mater, Lake Forest College, $7 million. It's not every day that someone donates her fortune to a worthy cause, after living a life of great financial restraint. The Chicago Tribune reports:
"Like many people who lived through the Great Depression, Grace Groner was exceptionally restrained with her money.A testament indeed. Grace Groner's spirit will live on through her amazing act of generosity, which will touch the lives of many students and positively influence greater society for years to come. Her act of charity is a beacon of inspiration in our trying economic times. Having lived through the Great Depression, she knew that Americans can survive anything, especially if we focus on helping each other. Although Groner was a millionaire she chose to use her money in a way that would benefit all, showing that her spiritual fortune was at least as great as her material wealth" (via The Huffington Post)
She got her clothes from rummage sales. She walked everywhere rather than buy a car. And her one-bedroom house in Lake Forest held little more than a few plain pieces of furniture, some mismatched dishes and a hulking TV set that appeared left over from the Johnson administration.
Her one splurge was a small scholarship program she had created for Lake Forest College, her alma mater. She planned to contribute more upon her death, and when she passed away in January, at the age of 100, her attorney informed the college president what that gift added up to.
"Oh, my God," the president said.
Groner's estate, which stemmed from a $180 stock purchase she made in 1935, was worth $7 million.
The money is going into a foundation that will enable many of Lake Forest's 1,300 students to pursue internships and study-abroad programs they otherwise might have had to forgo. It will be an appropriate memorial to a woman whose life was a testament to the higher possibilities of wealth."
Monday, April 05, 2010
The "Grace" of Giving
From the Black Voices blog on AOL.com: