Winning the lottery is a dream that many of us have had at some point in our lives, but the question on everyone’s mind is what they would do with the money if they won.
While some might opt for luxury goods like sports cars and mansions, one UK woman had a different idea in mind.
Frances Connolly, a former social worker and teacher from Northern Ireland, won a staggering £115 million fortune (approximately $145 million) in the EuroMillions in 2019. Rather than spending it all on herself, she decided to give back to her community.
Connolly started by sharing her blessings with friends and family, but her biggest beneficiary was not a family member. Instead, she set up two charitable foundations, one of which was named after her late mother, Kathleen Graham. The other foundation, the PFC Trust, supports local carers, the elderly, and refugees in her hometown.
Connolly estimates that she has given away more than half of her total winnings to date, and she kept it a secret from her husband. Giving back to the community is not new to Connolly; she has volunteered with St. John Ambulance and worked with an AIDS hotline while studying in Belfast.
Connolly believes that money liberates you to be the person you want to be, and she’s certainly living up to that. She continues to be involved in her community, helping the unemployed, refugees, caregivers, and the elderly. She even provided tablets for seniors to keep in touch with their families.
Helping others has become addictive for Connolly, and she sees no reason not to continue. She also believes that she would have been a millionaire anyway if she had taken back all the money she gave away over the years.
The couple’s biggest purchase to date was a six-bedroom house in County Durham with seven acres of land, and Mr. Connolly drives a second-hand Aston Martin. However, living luxuriously is not a priority for them.
Connolly saw on a TV show that someone spent £25,000 on a bottle of champagne and felt that kind of money could be better spent helping people. She and her husband continue to live normally, with Mr. Connolly running their plastics business, and she working with the foundations she established.
Connolly has no regrets about giving away so much money, saying, “If you can do good things for deserving people, why wouldn’t you just do it? It makes no sense to me to have that kind of money and not use it to do good in the world.”