Grace Groner, the secret millionaire, donates her fortune

Lake Forest Illinois Library

Grace Groner lived in Lake Forest, Illinois, where this is the library. Image from Wikipedia.

She is known as “the secret millionaire who donated her fortune”, but during her life Grace Groner was just the wonderfully kind and older lady next door. Much of her adult life, this secret millionaire lived in a one-bedroom home and lived extremely frugally. When she died, she left her estate to her alma mater. When Lake Forest College found out this instant money total turned out to be about $7 million dollars, they were shocked.

The secret millionaire donates her fortune to a good cause

Grace Groner had made a large donation to Lake Forest College in the past. She had donated $180,000 to establish a scholarship program to help students pursue internships and study-abroad programs. Lake Forest College president Stephen Schutt told the Chicago Tribune that he had known that the secret millionaire was planning on donating her fortune to the school upon her death, but he had no idea how truly large the gift would be.

Grace Groner’s secret to being a millionaire

Unlike most millionaires, Grace Groner did not live large. Instead, like most people that lived through the depression, she was very frugal. Grace walked everywhere rather than purchasing a car. The “secret millionaire’s” clothes came from rummage sales. Grace even lived in the same small single-bedroom house for most of her adult life – a house that had been willed to her by a friend. To put it simply, no matter how much money Grace Groner was worth, she lived simply and carefully. This, combined with a very smart stock purchase, helped her become the secret millionaire.

A single stock purchase created a secret millionaire

Grace Groner worked for one company for 43 years. In 1935, she purchased three $60 shares of that company, Abbott Laboratories. Instead of selling these stocks with the ups and downs of the market, Grace instead held onto the stocks. Every time they split or paid out dividends, she simply reinvested them. Her net worth built over time, and long before she died she had enough money she wouldn’t have been in need of easy payday cash advances.

Lake Forest College’s plans for Grace Groner’s fortune

When Grace Groner donated her fortune to Lake Forest College, she also donated her small home. The college plans to use the $7 million as an endowment that should pay out about $300,000 a year. They will be using Grace Groner’s gift to help students with scholarships, study abroad programs, and more. They will also be turning Grace Groner’s home into living quarters for women who receive foundation scholarships. All in all, Grace Groner donating her fortune to the school has helped ensured that generations of students will continue to receive an education – perhaps about more than just getting ahead in the world.

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