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Amazing “Grace” Turns $180 into Funding a $7 Million Dream

Grace Groner was like many who lived through the Great Depression. She knew the value of money; waste not, want not. She would get many of her clothes at garage sales. She’d walk everywhere instead of buy a car. If it was old and it still worked, it was fine with her.

Her one splurge was a $180,000 donation for a scholarship program she started for her alma mater, Lake Forest College. Two years before her death, she set up a foundation to receive her estate. No one knew the amount. When Grace died at 100, the college president was notified by her attorney that Grace’s estate, which stemmed from a $180 stock purchase she made in 1935 for three shares of Abbott Laboratories. The value of those three shares after stock splits and appreciation was over $7 million.

Right out of college, she had taken a job as secretary for Abbott Laboratories and had worked for them for 43 years. She was frugal throughout her life, but always made room for travel and anonymous gifts to people in need. She volunteered for years at her First Presbyterian Church. She not only left money, she left her small house to the college which has since been turned into a living quarters for women who receive foundation scholarships. That small house is called, “Grace’s Cottage.”

Grace Groner made her days count. She lived what Nobel Prize winning medical missionary to Africa Albert Schweitzer knew when he said, “If you truly desire happiness, seek and learn how to serve.” When you serve, you are served. You can’t sincerely help another without helping yourself. Whether you’re offering a smile with an encouraging word, taking the time to complete a random act of kindness, or serving a customer on the job, you transform your own optimistic attitude and feelings when you make a difference for others. Where and how can you serve others today? What kind of lasting legacy are you leaving?

To learn more about the power of purpose and service in transforming your attitude, read my newest book, The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results. You can order now or buy it at your favorite bookstore after March 22nd!

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