The goodness of Grace

Tuesday, March 9
Posted: 4 p.m. EDT

Here's a story with so many priceless lessons: living within your means, investing early in the stock market, giving to others without expecting anything in return and the simple beauty of humility.

It's the story of philanthropist Grace Groner, who remained low-key until her death at the age of 100, when she bequeathed a fortune of $7 million, plus her one-bedroom cottage, to Lake Forest College.

Many philanthropists choose to remain anonymous. Groner's story is remarkable partly because of how she obtained her fortune.

She bought three shares of Abbott Laboratories stock in 1935 for $60 each that she never sold. That $180 investment grew to $7 million upon her death -- all of which will fund a scholarship foundation at the college that allows students to study abroad.

Lake Forest is a wealthy community north of Chicago. Groner chose to live without a car and to buy her clothes at rummage sales. She worked as a secretary at Abbott Laboratories for 43 years. That's not to say she didn't enjoy life; she had a history of volunteering, donating to charity and traveling.

And she leaves us a rich legacy: that of the power of wealth in its highest purpose.

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