The Surprise Millionaires are at it again! It seems like every year we hear about a sizable donation anonymously left in one of those little red kettles that are synonymous with the holiday season. It appears this year is no different. A Salvation Army kettle in the Rochester Minnesota area was the recipient of a surprise donation that will help make the holidays a little brighter for those in need.
Betty Nixon of Windsor, Ontario who recently passed away at the age of 89 left her secret $800,000 fortune to eight deserving charities. Known as an avid golfer and bridge player, this Surprise Millionaire was also a vibrant woman of faith who spent her free time making the lives of nursing home residents a little brighter as well as donating quilts to charity through her church group. Betty also had a heart for helping those in need beyond her Windsor community. That is why one of the recipients of her charitable donation involves both medical and clean water projects in Ghana. Betty was always one to lend a helping hand and through her donations, that legacy will continue.
Through shrewd investing, a Northern Idaho native was able to transform a small inheritance into a $12 million estate which is now used to benefit the underserved communities in the Silver Valley area of Northern Idaho. Margaret Featherstone Galbraith believed that the Inland Northwest Community Foundation (Innovia Foundation) would be the best place to leave her estate as a means to distribute grant money to deserving charities and causes in the surrounding area. Margaret left this amazing gift back in 2005 which would be the largest ever received by Innovia. Thanks to Margaret, youth programs, conservation efforts and overall improvement programs for the Northern Idaho area have received a boost through Innovia’s grant money. It would also appear that Margaret’s generous gift started a tradition in the area with several other residents following her lead. Take a look at the wonderful work Innovia provides due to the help of Margaret and so many others:
A Surprise Millionaire makes the local news in Cincinnati Ohio. Meet the very wonderful Barbara Ebel!
John Shephard was a shy and quiet man happy to spend his time among the historical exhibits of the museum he so tirelessly curated. Fond of reading and classical music, Mr. Shephard lived a quiet and simple life centered around the arts and the museum that he loved. What few people knew was that Mr. Shephard had another hobby that paid off quite well; namely saving and investing his money. Upon his death in 2003, it was no surprise that Mr. Shephard left his substantial life savings to the museum. Apparently, his estate was so substantial that the museum was able to transfer a portion of the funds to a local foundation to help the community as a whole. Another inspiring story to add to our Surprise Millionaire collection!
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Some of you might remember the little man at the corner store, Leonard Gigowski, the Milwaukee resident with the amazing knack for growing and maintaining wealth. Well, I was amazed when I recently found another story about a Surprise Millionaire who lived an almost identical life! Buffalo’s Waldemar Kaminski was also the sole proprietor of a corner store just like Mr. Gigowski, both men were butchers by trade, unmarried and of polish heritage. But most importantly, both men exhibited the Surprise Millionaire virtues of frugality and consistent, long-term investing. It should also be noted that both men loved their respective communities and wanted to leave a lasting legacy which they both did in amazing ways!
Meet Waldemar Kaminski:
A British transplant to the Isle of Skye leaves a wealth (2 million pounds!) of goodwill to her adopted home. Pauline Pettefar moved to the northern Scottish coastal island of Skye some thirty years ago after a long career as a paralegal in her brother’s law office back in England. It appears the enterprising Miss Pettefar was able to accumulate quite a bit of wealth throughout her lifetime in which to bless the good people of Skye. Organizations as diverse as the Crossroads Care Charity Shop to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution will benefit from Miss Pettefar’s estate. It is heartwarming to know that this very private, but very generous lady thought so much of the community that welcomed her so many years ago.