Grace Groner lived through the Great Depression, so saving money was her expertise. Nobody knew just how much she had saved until she died in January at age 100 and left $7 million to Lake Forest College, her alma mater…. “She could have lived in any house in Lake Forest but she chose not to. … She enjoyed other people, and every friend she had was a friend for who she was. They weren’t friends for what she had.”

Secret millionaire gives fortune to alma mater

In many subtle ways, philanthropy shines a light on a person’s true character.  Grace was a kindhearted person who generously gave to others, in  a planned thoughtful way.  It is amazing that she was so dedicated in her saving, and intentional about what she wanted to do with her savings.  There are lessons in financial responsibility here, as most younger generations are not good savers.  What we choose to do with our money, whether we are wealthy or not, says a lot about what we value as important.

Grace Groner - image courtesy of NBCFrom the nonprofit side, consider how your interactions with donors builds positive qualities in your own character, or tears it down.  Do you treat every donation as a real gift?  Whether it is a $10 or $10,000 do you thank the giver sincerely?

Consistent actions on the part of staff and consistently delivering on your nonprofit’s mission helps build a foundation of trust that people of all financial means will want to give to.

Photo courtesy of NBC

Posted on 08 March 2010

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